Sunday, September 16, 2012
How good is the Wienerschnitzel in Vienna?
Who was the travel agent who booked a 9 AM flight the morning after a 3+ plus hour rock and roll show? Oh yeah it was me. An early 6:30 AM alarm clock so we could grab a quick breakfast before the tram to the Zurich airport. We ended up with way too much time but you never know in a strange airport and better safe than sorry. We were booked on Air Berlin from Zurich to Vienna – an airline I had never heard of. Even more concerning was when we got to the gate and saw a plane that said Nikki on the side but this was like one of the regional carriers that are under some big airline name. But not like that on board – a big plane, really pleasant flight attendants and real food you could actually eat. No concerns over Nikki Airlines and we’d definitely recommend them! When we arrived in Vienna we had a car service take us to the hotel since it was cheaper than the airport train and great quick service right to our door – the Hilton Danube. Yes that Danube but as Jo would be glad to tell you the Danube in Vienna isn’t even close to blue but rather brown just like the Fox River in St. Charles. Service was spectacular at the hotel for our entire stay and the Executive Club in Vienna probably saved each of us $100 or more in three days. We learned that Executive Clubs in Europe are a real perk – full breakfast each day, afternoon snacks including pastries and cakes, heavy hors d’oeuvres every night and ice cold Coke available all day long. All those nights staying in Hiltons pays off.
Once we got checked into our rooms it was exploring Vienna time. Subway passes in hand we headed out to Schoenbrunn Palace on the west side of Vienna. It is a spectacular 1,441 room palace that has been there for hundreds of years. We are always amazed at the size of the buildings that were built far before cranes and big equipment was invented. The grounds were spectacular too as we hiked up the hill to a café at the top with a beautiful view of downtown Vienna and the palace. The heat came back in Vienna as it was nearly 90 degrees and was disappointing to us. After a couple of hours exploring the Palace and grounds we headed back to the hotel for a break before dinner.
A young girl on the subway had recommended a restaurant in the City Center that had been around since the 1400’s in the basement of an old building. We found it and when we went downstairs it was very crowded and hot since there wasn’t a lot of AC put in in the 1400’s. After we looked around we decided to find something different which was probably the best decision of the trip. Down one of the alleyways near the City Center we stumbled across a long line of people waiting outside a restaurant. Long lines translate to good food is a good rule of thumb and it certainly worked in Vienna too. Figler Muller was the name of the restaurant and they are known for their wienerschnitzel. I’m not sure we saw anything else served while we ate there and for good reason. Thin, perfectly prepared and just wonderful are the ways we would describe it. Oh and really big as well. Our waiter told us they served over 500 a day. Jo asked how they prepared it as each piece of pork was almost exactly the same size and thickness. The waited flexed his muscles and said “Schwarzenegger”. Easily the best meal of the trip and the most authentic – it just felt like we were in a foreign country eating “their” food!
After dinner we walked around the city center and the spectacular Stephendom – or church. Another extremely old church and totally overwhelming to think of building this hundreds of years ago and all it had survived. By now it was getting late so we headed back to the hotel and called it a day with our stomachs full of thinly breaded pork. We knew we would be spending more time in the city center with all the old buildings, restaurants and shopping so that was the plan for Wednesday.
And it was also great to see during in the local papers that the upcoming Bruce show was front page news in Vienna!