Dashed hopes of a Boxing Day Sale

Woke up extremely early this morning, obviously still on Eastern Standard Time, way too early for breakfast. Should get up and write but won’t!!! There is a slight breeze blowing the curtains allowing very crisp air to  filter through the open window.  Perhaps it snowed during the night, with that thought I leave the warmth of the bed to peek into the lane to hopefully see a layer of white, no such luck. Instead the scene that greets me is a wet slate roof with mist swirling around the chimney stacks and a silent lane below, an old world wintry scene, but snow would have been better! Oh well, we’re still in beautiful Vienna and perhaps at the Boxing Day sales we’ll snare  a bargain.

After breakfast we wander the streets of Vienna and decide to “do” the touristy things, including riding the Ring tram, a yellow tram specifically for tourists, until the shops open.. Confident the stores would open today I keep checking my watch for the time, don’t want to miss those sales!!! Every city has a Boxing Day sale, don’t they?

Back to the tram if someone is interested in pricing!! The tram cost 7 euros for 30 minutes or 9 euros for 24 hours, naturally we opted for the 24 hour ticket. It works in a similar way to the Hop On Hop Off buses except it’s fully enclosed and only skirts the city area.

Whilst waiting for the tram a young man wandered past looking a little lost. He came back and asked, in a heavy french accent, “do we know where the imperial Hotel is?” Now, I remembered seeing the sign for that hotel on our walk to the tram stop, but my mind was ticking over, where was it? “I think it’s down that way” I replied pointing in the direction he had just come from. Off he strode and as I stood there looking at our surroundings I noticed the imperial Hotel across the road. Oops, better not give any further directions. Although I knew I’d seen the hotel!!!! A short time later the young man walked by again, this time on the phone and heading for the hotel!!!! He didn’t look up as he hurried past us, thank goodness. How embarrassing!!!! Ty was highly amused as my sense of direction is not one of my strong points.  I’m the person who turns the map upside to read it  or has to check the hand my watch is on when I’m told to turn left!!!  Ty wouldn’t let me forget this little mistake…..

It was now after 10.30 am and shops hadn’t opened, except for souvenir shops, so this would be day 3 without shopping! Wasn’t sure I could get through another day without retail therapy. On my first trip to Vienna I’d purchased souvenirs and didn’t feel the need to buy more so I followed Ty and Maryanne into the touristy shops but didn’t make buy, tried on hats, watched others try on hats.

Vienna is a very beautiful city, even in the morning fog and dampness with church spires partly covered by the mist it has lots of charm. Fabulous cake shops and chocolate restaurants are everywhere and the minus temperatures were perfect for imbibing the odd hot chocolate or yummy cake. Fabulous for the waistline a well……..Although one observation made on our wanderings was the Viennese seem to have a fascination with pigs, stuffed toy pigs, meringue pigs, marshmallow pigs, all shapes and sizes of pigs staring out from cake shop windows and street stalls.

cake shop pigs

cake shop pigs

One well-known cake shop/restaurant is Restaurant Sacher and given it was way past lunchtime we decided to combine lunch and afternoon tea. As we turned the corner to the Sacher Hotel we were met by a line of people. The line snaked from inside the hotel  onto the footpath and beyond. Ty suggested we find somewhere else to eat but the line didn’t deter me. Maryanne was also happy to wait in line. We could end up with lunch, afternoon tea and dinner!!! A friend had told us about the Sacher so it was on my list of places to go and I wasn’t going to risk walking away and not making it back.

The line moved quickly and it was soon my turn to step inside the foyer of the restaurant. It was good to be in the warmth, able to defrost at last! Ty and Maryanne still had to wait outside till the line moved forward. Eventually we made it to the front of the queue and before being ushered to our table we had to visit the cloak room to drop off coats, coats, backpacks and other bulky items weren’t allowed in the café. It was 1 euro for each person to retrieve their personal items and everyone had a coat, scarf and earmuffs to deposit!! Once this formality was completed we were shown to our little table in the verandah area. The surroundings were very quaint and quite pleasant even though it was crowded with tables, chairs and people.

As you would expect the hotel is very old world with decor and furnishings to match it’s era, lots of gold etchings on ceilings and walls and Louis 14th style chairs and lounges. Very ornate indeed.

The menu was quite extensive and reasonably priced. The most famous item on their menu is the Sacher Original Torte. Yes, I’d be having a slice of that but first we need to choose a lunch item. Maryanne and I settled on a prawn and smoked salmon dish, Ty chose a prawn salad. A wine waiter came along with the wine list and we duly ordered a glass of Champagne to compliment our dish. When the meal arrived we were pleasantly surprised, it was well presented and not too large, just the right portion size for the women at this table who intended to have dessert. Ty’s dish on the other hand was a little larger with a good amount of prawns. The main meal was delicious, an excellent choice all round.

Whilst sipping wine and eating our delicious meal the line to enter the restaurant had grown considerably longer and the outside temperature was dropping rapidly as the night sky rolled in…..it was only 3 in the afternoon. Still no snow falling.

Hmm, looking too long at the extensive dessert menu could make the choice of what to have extremely difficult, just as well I’d decided on the famous Sacher Torte before I left home….and I’m sticking to my choice. A person has to try it, that’s what they’re famous for.

The Torte arrived positioned in the middle of a large plate dusted with icing sugar and chocolate fancy work. It wasn’t a tiny piece of cake either. Taking up the spoon I slowly scooped a small piece of cake and placed it in my mouth, mmmmm, absolutely divine  melts in your mouth. More cake on the fork this time with a small amount of cream, “oh yes, this is good’ I said to my companions. Maryanne agreed. Ty couldn’t because he had chosen Apple Strudel. Silly person, imagine an amazing array of fabulous cakes on offer and choosing Strudel.

Even the coffee was good, nothing negative to say about the food or customer service and would thoroughly recommend it as a ‘must do’ when visiting Vienna. Certainly don’t be put off by the queues.

When we left the Sacher it was almost dark and only 4 pm, it feels so much later.

We spent the rest of the evening wandering the streets, watching the people milling around the plaza. Being harassed by the touts trying to sell us classical evenings or castle tours. Not interested sorry, we’ve already satisfied our urge (if that’s what we had) for the classics, old world churches and palaces.

We were a little hungry, must be due to the extremely cold weather making our bodies work harder to keep us warm. Hmmm, wonder how long it will take to chomp away at my excess fat, perhaps if I wore less clothes it would work faster and harder. Unfortunately with my luck my body would gain extra padding to keep me warm and not use the fat I have!!!!! Best keep all my extra clothes on.

Even though Wiener Schnitzel was on the menu the first night in Vienna it was time to have it again. Can’t have enough Wiener ……or can you?! We were close to our hotel so rather than head for Figlmuller Restaurant we tried a local place called Wiener World – the name alone should have told us to move on…..we didn’t. Too cold and tired to walk any more blocks we checked the menu outside, looked ok so we stepped in. First impression – it looked tired and old but never judge a book by its cover we allowed the waitress to seat us. Ty chose Schwien schnitzel whilst Maryanne and I went the Wiener. Not a lover of pork really.

A glass of Chardonnay was Maryanne’s choice tipple whilst mine was Sauvignon Blanc. Both can only be described as rough!!!! Ty made a sensible choice opting for Coke zero.

A family of rather large proportions were seated next to us so we became a little worried about the possible portion sizes. Our fears were realised when three large plates were set down in front of us overflowing with large pieces of crumbed veal and chips with a small amount of salad. I was gobsmacked, here sat 2 females, not looking remotely like lumberjacks (or did we in all our winter gear) with a meal in front of us that would have been more suited to Mr Lumberjack just back from a day in the forest. “Hello, hasn’t anyone here heard of portion control?” I wanted to shout out. It was a huge meal!!!! The family beside us also received the same portions which the man of the family demolished before I had time to cut my second bite size piece. My appetite disappeared very quickly after that even though the meat was delicious. I have to say the porker, sorry, the man at our table, my husband, demolished his schwien schnitzel although he ate at a steadier pace than the man next to us!!!! Feeling very guilty about the waste on my plate I had to forgo dessert!!!! A good thing given we only had a hop, step and no jump to our hotel.

So be warned if you visit Vienna – Wiener World is for lumberjacks and people with very large appetites with extremely large appetites, not for gentile folk. It feels a bit like a fast food restaurant inside however, It was a very popular place.

Still a little jet lagged so bed early again tonight. Perhaps the shops will be open tomorrow ‘cos this little duck is starting to suffer withdrawal symptoms………

misty street scene

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