Three Things to Do in Vienna that Don’t Make You Look like a Tourist

July 13, 2022

Where are Bella and Wayne off to this month? And where are Francine and Marv? Probably still in Alaska. If you said “Ja” to Austria, you would be right! Vienna is probably the best known of Austria’s cities which include Salzburg, Linz, Graz, and, of course, Innsbruck. Austria is also a very senior-friendly country! It has a high quality of life, low crime rate, and an excellent social security system if you were thinking of retiring there. 

Life in Austria can be pretty sweet. Just like its pancakes!

Enjoy a Late Breakfast and Learn Some History

“Dankeschön!” Wayne winks at his wife as the waiter places a large portion of Kaiserschmarrn in front of them. “See? You’re not the only one who can speak a foreign language.”

Bella places her hand on Wayne’s and leans over to kiss him. “You’re my hero. My Siegfried.” She picks up a fork, stabs a piece of the doughy concoction, and places it in her mouth. “Mmmm, delicious.”

Wayne nods, chewing thoughtfully. “Funny to take a stack of pancakes and cut them up into little bits.” He spears another piece, covered in powdered sugar and dotted with raisins. “Though, it saves me cutting them.”

“Kaiserschmarrn. Emperor’s nonsense. Legend has it, that a waiter dropped the emperor’s pancakes, and instead of making him wait, concocted this “delicacy” for the old man. It was a big hit.” Bella chews and smiles. “Obviously.”

“I heard a different variation. It was first prepared for the Empress, and to make it dainty, they cut it into tiny pieces.” Bella and Wayne nod, enjoying their first Austrian breakfast at Vienna’s famous Cafe Central, located in the heart of the old city on Herrengasse.

Originally built in 1876, the cafe was home to literary greats and great thinkers alike. It was also originally referred to as a chess school because people would practice their game on the cafe’s tiled floor. The cafe’s size makes it easy to lose yourself in the mix of locals -- especially if you speak some German.

“Literati like Hugo von Hofmannsthal, Karl Kraus or Stefan Zweig loved to spend their afternoons in the Café. Don’t be surprised by the line of people waiting outside the Central’s door, sometimes it can take a while to be seated.” Secret Vienna

Eat 110-Year-Old Schnitzel like the Locals

Bella and Wayne spend the afternoon enjoying a relaxing river cruise along the Danube River. The four-hour cruise gives them a different perspective on Vienna, allowing them to take in the sights without too much walking.

After admiring St. Stephan's Cathedral, Bella and Wayne decide to stop for an early dinner at Figmüller, just a 15-minute walk away from where they had breakfast.

“When I was working as a chef, we had to make dozens of these each night. Had to pound the meat paper-thin. In fact, the head chef would fry off one and hold it up against a newspaper. He always said you can read the paper through a properly made schnitzel.”

Bella laughs. “You never told me that before.”

“We never ate schnitzel this good before.” Wayne chews appreciatively, passing Bella some of the potato salad. “And try this. No mayonnaise, just oil and jus. Delicious.”

“I never knew you were such an Austrian, Wayne.”

Wayne winks. “So much you don’t know about me yet.”

“Well don’t wait too long, Darling. We’re not getting any younger.” Bella laughs.

Wayne drinks from his beer, a pleasant Viennese Ottakringer. “The beer is good here, but not as good as what we had in Prague.”

Bella nods. “I prefer my wine.”

Schnitzel’s golden, fried color harks back to when it was originally "breaded" with real gold. Precursors of breaded schnitzel can be traced back to the ninth century AD. At the table of the Eastern Roman Emperor Basileus in Byzantium, particularly valuable pieces of meat were coated with gold leaf. 

It was only after 1900 that the term "Wiener Schnitzel" first appeared in culinary culture. The method of pounding the schnitzel nice and thin originated in the Slovak military. Because meat was scarce, it was pounded as thin and wide as possible so that every soldier would get at least a piece.

“The classic Golden Schnitzel, also known as Vienna cutlet or Viennese schnitzel, is a must-try dish when you’re visiting the Austrian capital. What most parts of the world refer to as schnitzel is nothing compared to the mouthwatering, crispy delight you’ll find in Vienna. The Figmuller’s 110-years-old Viennese schnitzel recipe is to die for.” 33 Travel Tips

After Dinner Chill with Some Cool Jazz 

“Remember that jazz we heard in Berlin?” Wayne and Bella are walking hand in hand back through the narrow streets towards their hotel.

“I do. It was really nice! Why don’t we find a jazz club? It’s still early.” Bella stops and smiles at her husband.

Wayne looks at his watch. “Perhaps too early.”

“Maybe we can watch someone tuning up. Katrin said there was a club near the cathedral.”

Wayne nods. “Sure, doll. Let’s cut ourselves some rug!” Wayne shuffles on the spot and Bella laughs.

“My cool Hepcat.” 

Porgy and Bess (a stone’s throw away from Figmüller) is tucked away in the 1st district, is a place where you can immerse yourself in hazy, alternative jazz and blues or join a buzzing crowd to party the night away.” The Culture Trip

“Porgy and Bess was originally named ‘Porgy’ throughout its creation. The ‘and Bess’ portion was added to avoid confusion with the novel and play it was based on. The thought was also that the ‘and Bess’ made it sound more operatic.” Parker Symphony

Have You Been to Vienna?

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