Austria day 5 – Krems and Vienna

Today we say goodbye to lovely Hotel Schloss Durnstein. After enjoying breakfast and some final views from the restaurant terrace we jumped back into the car to visit Krems before heading into Vienna.

While the driving in this area has been very easy, some of the parking and general signage into the city centers have been a little lacking. However after a few u-turns we found a parking space just a few blocks from the central zone and headed out to wander.

Being Saturday, the town was hopping and we stumbled upon a cute little street market selling flowers and produce.

We continued to explore the town, admiring the old architecture and historic gothic churches before deciding to head into Vienna. The approach to Vienna is extremely well signed and luckily several easy gas stations off the autobahn exist to full up the rental car before reaching the chaos of the city. I love the concept of these rest stations. They are like our rest stops, but have fuel and little convenience markets with super easy zip on and off.

All too soon we were in heavier traffic and the urban mass that is Vienna. City driving definitely freaks me out more than the sleepy country villages! Definitely a bit more stressful. No more really than other big cities but signs, lights and habits are different. The GPS didn’t let us down and soon we were pulling up in front of the Vienna Marriott.

Jarring American dialect was all around! Europeans of course are still present but you know you’re in an American hotel! A pleasant treat though is the fluent English of the hotel staff. Communication has been a bit difficult in some of the off the beaten path areas we’ve been.

After dropping off the rental car a few blocks from the hotel we were ready to explore. Saturday in Vienna is busy!

The city is beautiful, crowded and definitely full of fashion brand conscious pretty people. Even the dogs wear Louis Vuitton.

The group with this dog was decked out in LV scarves, shoes, bags and some Dolce & Gabanna¬†thrown in for kicks. We admired them in all their labeled glory as we enjoyed some sturm sold from a festival booth in the middle of the tourist zone. Sturm is the fresh young wine that’s partially fermented and only available this time of year. It looks and tastes like a sparkles wine crossed with lemon soda. Very nice and refreshing!

Revived we continued our meander essentially going backwards on the Rick Steves’ city walk. The Demel confectioneries drew us in with their delicious displays and the sugary butter aromas filling the air. Their kitchen offers a wonderful display window, but being so late in the day there was little activity.

Steps away the street opened to the immense complex of the Hofburg Palace.

Tomorrow we plan on exploring the exhibits at the palace so we continued our amble passing the Spanish Riding School and Lipizzaner stables.

By this time we were winding down so sought out dinner. We split into two stops. The first was a small comfortable little cafe were we enjoyed a glass of wine and a spinach strudel. The second was the highly recommended Gigerl Stadtheuriger (a cross between a traditional restaurant and a Heuriger). The Heurigers are a bit of a mix of wine garden, tavern and cafeteria all rolled into one. You order food from a counter (point and guess), then go to a table were servers take your drink order. For this trip Gigerl was the closest Heuriger experience we were going to have. They also served the best weinerschnitzel we’ve had!

After a full day we wound down enjoying our lovely Marriott beds and reading up on tomorrow’s plan of attack. There’s a lot to see in Vienna and we are definitely not here long enough! Museums, palaces and St Stephen’s Cathedral are tomorrow’s target. Okay, so maybe the Louis Vuitton store as well!

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