#LibkaGirlsTakeEurope | Part 4
We arrived in Vienna mid-morning Wednesday via train from Budapest. The Friedensbrücke metro station landed us just a few blocks from our hotel.
After a light breakfast of bread and fruit on the train, we were ready for lunch. The hotel recommended Gasthaus Orlik, a small German-Austrian restaurant just down the block. The food was delicious and the proprietor friendly. So much so that we returned again for dinner on Thursday! Our favorite dish here was a skillet of blood sausage, bacon, potatoes and eggs topped with thinly sliced onion rings. Kristen and Natalie had never heard of blood sausage. I remember my Great-Aunt Clara cooking it for my (Polish) Great-Uncle Walt. Delicious! Kristen also ordered the frankfurters and bun with horseradish and mustard, I enjoyed wiener schnitzel and potato salad. All three of us indulged our sweet tooth with the pancakes (crepes) with chocolate sauce and whipped cream for dessert.
After lunch we took the metro to St. Stephen’s Cathedral and were about to enter when I realized I had lost my passport. Our return to the restaurant and hotel didn’t turn up anything so Kristen made an appointment for me first thing the next morning at the consulate to get a new one.
Back we went to St. Stephen’s, where Joseph Haydn sang as a choir boy and Mozart was married in 1782. Construction began on the Gothic structure early in the 14th century. In addition to touring the nave, guests may climb the 343 stairs to the top of the south tower, ride an elevator to the top of the north tower, and view the catacombs below the church.
That evening we viewed the Wiener Rathaus (city hall) and skaters in front of the Burgtheatre Wien.
We ate dinner at a nearby cafe where I enjoyed my own personal cheese tasting.
The Schoenbrunn Palace Orchestra and Palace Ensemble perform throughout the year at the Schoenbrunn Orangery. After dinner we attended an ensemble concert where the music of Mozart and Strauss was featured. To our delight, two opera singers, a soprano and a baritone, and two ballet dancers performed to select pieces with the ensemble.
Hofburg Palace is home to the Spanish Riding School and the Lipizzaner stallions. In existence for over 450 years and well known for their practice of classical (dressage) horsemanship, particularly the specialized “haute école” or “airs above the ground,” the horses and riders are a real treat to watch. Performances are a bit pricey and none were scheduled during the two days we were in Vienna so we opted to attend the morning exercise in the Winter Riding School, a beautiful baroque hall. You won’t see all the airs (movements) during a morning exercise, but it’s an excellent opportunity to see the horses and riders work and to learn more about them. You can also join an afternoon guided tour of the riding school and stables for a very reasonable fee. Since our time in Vienna was limited, we decided not to take the tour.
We chose Cafe Central for lunch and weren’t disappointed. I started my meal with cream of artichoke soup. garnished with a fresh, giant potato chip! That chef certainly knew the way to my heart!
Speaking of delicious cream soups, I was delighted to find this recipe for cream of cauliflower soup from “Bronner’s Flavorful Favorites” staff cookbook. It’s rich flavor is perfect for reminding me of my time in Vienna’s Cafe Central. Feel free to fry up your own fresh, giant potato chip to garnish this flavor-layered soup!
CREAM OF CAULIFLOWER SOUP*
– 2 med. onions, chopped
– 2 med carrots, grated coarse
– 2 celery ribs, diced
– 2 cloves garlic, minced
– 1/4 c. plus 6 T. butter or margarine, divided
– 1 med. head cauliflower, chopped
– 5 c. chicken broth
– 1/4 c. minced parsley, fresh or dried
– 1 tsp. salt
– 1 tsp. coarsely ground pepper
– 1/2 tsp. dried basil
– 1/2 tsp. dried tarragon
– 6 T. all-purpose flour
– 2 c. milk or 1 c. milk & 1 c. cream
– fresh tarragon, optional
1. In a soup kettle or Dutch oven, saute the onions, carrots, celery and garlic in 1/4 cup butter or margarine until tender.
2. Add the cauliflower, broth, parsley, salt, pepper, basil and tarragon. Cover and simmer 30 minutes or until vegetables are tender.
3. Meanwhile, in saucepan, melt remaining butter or margarine. Stir in flour until smooth. Gradually stir in milk or cream. Bring to a slow boil; cook and stir for 2 minutes until thickened.
4. Add to cauliflower mixture. Cook 10 minutes or until thickened, stirring frequently.
5. Garnish with fresh tarragon.
*submitted by Lu Ehrlinger
(If you prefer a smoother cream soup, you can puree part or all of the vegetables and broth mixture, return it to the pan and add the roux.)
After lunch I returned to the consulate to pick up my replacement passport while the girls headed to the Austrian National Library. They love books and reading and a stop here really made their day!
We arrived at Karlskirche, considered by many to be the most impressive baroque church in Vienna, just before the sun started setting. The approach to the church where I am standing is a beautiful water pool in the summer. The Panoramalift at Karlskirche transports you to the base of the church’s dome where you can view the Michael Rottmeyr frescoes up close. Climb an additional series of stairs and you can draw even closer to the frescoes as well as view Vienna from the pinnacle of the dome. I am not a fan of heights, but I wasn’t going to let this opportunity pass me by. I was delighted to see that Karlskirche still had up their lighted Christmas trees and nativity scenes during our visit!
We spent the evening at Kunsthistorisches Museum (art). Kristen thought fellow Harry Potter fans would enjoy seeing a real bezoar (stomach stone from a goat or llama) so she took a photo of this one that was on display. It was the size of a large grapefruit!
Friday morning we relaxed with mokachinos at Coffee Pirates before heading for the train station. Coffee Pirates sources, roasts and grinds the coffee it serves and sells. Friendly baristas spoke excellent English. What a find!
We grabbed sandwiches at the train station for lunch and soon found ourselves traveling cross country to Prague, Czech Republic. Hope you’ll join us there in our next #LibkaGirlsTakeEurope post!
*All travel photos in this post were used with permission from Lori Libka & Kristen Dang.
Missed a post in our fun travel series? Catch up with our 1st post featuring Lori’s travel tips. Or the Libka girl’s 1st stop, London, England, followed by a 3 day whirlwind of adventure in Budapest, Hungary!