From Budapest we made our way by train to Vienna. In Vienna we did lots of walking around “the ring” taking in all the grand palaces and museums, and the many parks and coffeehouses.  We love the Viennese cafe culture, and rose to the challenge of trying as many cafes as we could in three days (admittedly, we even made it to Starbucks on more than one occasion). Our favorite was the dark and smoky Cafe Hawelka, where we ordered brauners (strong coffees) and watched how one waiter flew about effortlessley to serve everyone.

We got a lot of culture here in Vienna, with visits to the Hofburg Palace Imperial Apartments, the Hofburg Treasury, the Opera House, St. Stephen’s Cathedral, Naschmarkt and a city walking tour. What we will probably never forget about all the sights was how at the Treasury, we managed to see: 1.) a piece of the crucifix that JC died on 2.) a piece of the manger that JC was born in, and 3.) the nail that was pounded into JC’s right hand when he was hung on the crucifix. Sounds pretty unbelievable right??? We thought so too.

One of our favorite things we did in Vienna was to go outside the city to visit the Heurigen (Viennese wine gardens).  The wine gardens go back 300 years to when the Viennese vinters were allowed to sell their newest vintage tax-free. Families set up wine gardens outside of town and they’ve been attracting the village people ever since. Nowadays, its where locals go to drink inexpensive wine, have a traditional meal, listen to music and pass an afternoon with friends. We went to Nussdorf, about 30 minutes by tram from the city center.  It was neat to be among the locals (most of them older and some with walking canes so not sure – maybe we found the senior center Heurigen). From Dussdorf we did a half-hour walk to another wine garden in the hills surrounding Vienna. There we sat amongst the vines as the afternoon turned into evening, drinking wine and admiring the views. It was the perfect ending to our visit to Austria.

For more pictures, check out our Vienna photo album dated 29th April 2011