New Year’s Day 2014 – Prague to Vienna

We boarded an early train to Vienna.  My advice would be to order tickets online as the staff manning the ticket windows at the Prague train station do not speak English.  We ended up with reserved seats in the first class car while paying for seats in second class.  In the end, I was glad to ride first class as we had plenty of room and had the added bonus to annoying some Americans.  First class was 95% Americans.  Can I just tell you how obnoxious we Americans are?  Do we ever hear ourselves while traveling in other countries?  Why would Americans travel abroad if what they really want is everything American?

The travel time from Prague to Vienna, via train, is five hours.  About mid journey, we decided to have lunch.  Lovely cheese and cured meats on crusty bread and a couple of salads.  Washed down with beer.  The three 30-somethings from New York City, in the adjacent seats, were none too happy with the lovely aroma wafting up from our delicious lunch.  Apparently they felt it smelled like Europeans.  Mr. MM and I laughed our stinky-mouthed heads off.

We arrived in Vienna late afternoon / early evening.  A quick subway ride to the St. Stephen’s Cathedral stop brought us practically to the front door of our hotel, Hotel Royal.  I can not say enough nice things about this hotel.  AMAZING location as it is really right around the corner from St. Stephen’s Cathedral.  Our room was spartan but very clean and big for European standards.  The daily breakfast turned out to be very good too.

After checking in, we didn’t even waste time settling in.  We wanted to be out amongst the Viennese.  It was New Year’s Day evening and the pedestrian shopping streets that radiate off of the plaza of St. Stephen’s Cathedral were swarming with people enjoying the mild winter weather.

We headed straight for Cafe Museum.  Visiting this Adolf Loos designed cafe was at the top of my to-do list.  The Cafe opened in 1899.  Loos chose to go against the pompous and ornate style of the times, creating a simple ‘modern’ design.  In the 1930’s the Cafe interior was completely redesigned, losing all of it’s Loos character.  Just recently, the Cafe was fully renovated back to the original Loos style.

The interior lived up to my expectations.  The experience of dining at Cafe Museum exceed my expectations.  Barely a few hours in Vienna and I was declaring that the city was utterly magical.  MAGICAL.  We were seated at the bench banquette in the center of the back wall so we had command of the entire room.

L:  Mr. MM / R: Me at Cafe Museum.  For dessert, Mr. MM moved to the banquette next to me!

L: Mr. MM / R: Me at Cafe Museum. For dessert, Mr. MM moved to the banquette next to me!

My pre-dinner drink was a Lillet Spritz.  Mr. MM chose the Die Weisse (as shown), a wheat beer from Salzburg.  We then had one of the best Wiener Schnitzels I’ve ever had.  Per Cafe Meseum’s menu:  ‘golden brown breaded veal cutlet with parsley potatoes and cranberry sauce’ for 19,50 Euros.

L:  Wiener Schnitzel / R: Dessert.

L: Wiener Schnitzel / R: Dessert.

For dessert we ordered a trio of tortes and coffees.  I love that my ‘Single Brauner’ was served with a glass of water.  It’s nice to have a drink of water after one’s coffee.  The trio consisted of (L to R):  Sachertorte, Mozart Torte, and berry torte.  The Mozart Torte is one of the most amazing things to happen to dessert.  One of my all time favorite candies is Mozartkugel.  Mozartkugel:  a ball of pistachio marzipan covered in a layer of nougat that is then covered in dark chocolate.  This Cafe Museum torte conveyed that expertly in their torte.  AMAZING!

We took the long way back to the hotel via  a number of pedestrian shopping streets still decorated for the holidays.  The streets were so alive with cheerful people milling about.  A pause at St. Stephen’s Cathedral before heading ‘home’ to the hotel.

L: All the pedestrian streets radiating from St. Stephen's were decorated for the holidays.  R:  St. Stephen's at night.

L: All the pedestrian streets radiating from St. Stephen’s were decorated for the holidays. R: St. Stephen’s at night.