A weekend in Vienna

I took my ma away for the weekend. I thought I’d handled it all wrong giving her CHOICE! Arghh Vienna? Too perfekt I thought. Too touristy. Too anything but where I wanted to go. I presented Porto as an interesting spot, or wheeled and dealed with Palmero out of season. Nope. Vienna. It had to be Vienna. But WoW, I am so glad I went – it’s great. I drop fed a few pics home – the boyf exclaimed ‘All my fave kinda places!’.

Given that every bar and cafe has a banquette or a booth I think there’s a special Austrian Interiors Police who sign designs off before they go on site. They know what they’re doing with wood and lighting – and heating. Every street corner has a winter market dishing out the mulled wine/gluhwein like there’s no tomorrow. Immensely atmospheric.

Traditionally I’ve said don’t give me any of your small manageable cities – give me a megalopolis any day. But actually there is an appeal in a small city, especially when it’s as packed dense as this. A small city at the centre of a ruling empire helps to raise the stakes. Here are a few highlights and recommendations.

Starting with the scary Dalek air traffic control tower!

Hotel Bristol Bar. Like a film set.

Adolf Loos’ American Bar. I gasped for breath when I walked in – I don’t know what hit me first – they still smoke indoors – AND this was the finest drinking establishment that I had ever set foot in. The scale, the booths, the lighting, the amber rich materials and finishes. Faultless. Can’t believe Loos died a pauper. He should’ve received a fine pension for leaving this legacy to the world!

Cafe Central. Rammed with tourists. Still worth it. 

First cake. (Last cake!)

And….another winter market! Just a little number we stumbled across opposite Cafe Central. 

It’s not all choc box. A lot of socialist housing blocks of merit out there too. Below not included…

Very simple gothic cathedral. Unusual hearing a Catholic mass in German. Good people watching, lots of good looking older ladies dripping in fur and jewels.

Osterreichische Nationalbibliothek – the one and only simply stunning National Library. Have never seen anything quite like it in my life.

Caffe Palffy – one of the 2500 cafes that fly under the guidebook radar. 

Pfarrwirt Restaurant – a little gem slightly out of the centre in a chi chi neighbourhood. Has some convoluted history to do with invading Turks going back to the 12th Century no less. You’ll have to work hard to find the traces but it’s a warm spot anyway which is a refreshing change to the big fancy cafes in the centre. Lovely garden for the summer. 

Karlskirche was built in the wake of the devastating 18th Century plague which took vast numbers of Viennese. 

Cafe Museum – another Loos joint, restrained and recently renovated to the exact original.

The Secession Museum – outraged Viennese when it was built.

A couple of cracking Nouveau facades on Linke Wienzeile alongside Naschmarkt. 

The Savoy Cafe on Linke Wienzeile – now a gay bar FYI. Actually really quite pub-esque.

Cafe Sperl, another of the top 3 – great loos cancelled out the mildly sulky service. But the proprietor pouring over his ledger books at the entrance was a timeless image. Papers abound, billiards and some of the best booths. 

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