The morning after a night of pub ruins and mayhem certainly paid itself in kind via hangover and headaches. After a final filling breakfast in the café of our "grand Budapest hotel", we basically had time to gather our things together and make way to the train station. Little did we know while planning our big adventures that a train ride between cities is the perfect antidote for catching up on well-needed sleep. The only downfall was that the rain seemed to be following us from Hungary to Austria, and we arrived at our new city a bit more soaked through than intended...
BOOK TWO: Vienna, Vineyards, and Weiner Schnitzel.
As with all second installments of trilogies, we had the vague impression upon arrival that this city was going to be a connecting piece between two great stories. We knew there wasn't the same diverse wealth of things to do in Vienna, and as Cousin isn't the biggest fan of museums (and frankly my opinion on them greatly varies via content and attention span), we specifically chose a unique day trip for the largest part of our time in town. (Details to follow.) I was, however, definitely wowed by the pristine beauty of the city. Our hotel was right smack dab in the middle of a posh central hub and more importantly, it was an old palace that made me so incredibly gleeful I doubt I'd care which city I was in. Our room was surprisingly massive, bedecked in shades of pink, and with a whole sitting area that made me want to hold court in a cascading gown immediately. (Not that I wouldn't or haven't done that in my little Parisian studio anyway ; ) Our windows opened onto a balcony overlooking a massive courtyard. It was not a new or polished establishment but it had all the essentials and I felt like a princess. Done and done.
Though the rain kept on falling, we forced ourselves to take a quick tour of some of the sights before finally tuckering into a hardy Viennese dinner. The main thing we attempted was a place called Naschmarkt, a local market, but by the time we got there many of the shops had closed up, whether because of the late hour or the showering skies. Happily, our moment of glory was soon to appear. Cousin loves the travel advice of a certain Rick Steves (I'm sure you've heard of him) so we had some good council for our evening meal. The restaurant is called Reinthaler Beisl and we were on a tunnel vision mission for wiener schnitzel, hopefully to be followed by strudel of some sort. Not only did we get both with our three piece menu, but we began the whole affair with one of the most comforting and satisfying soups I've ever had. Yes, it consisted of one enormous dumpling, and yes, that dumpling had bacon bits in it. Nourishment nirvana was successfully achieved. The restaurant also happened to be a stone's throw from our resident palais so we left feeling blissfully content, warmed to our toes, and cured of lingering hangover so we could get a good night's sleep before our bike riding extravaganza the next day. The clouds of rain were certainly dampening our spirits for the outcome, it has to be said, but that silver lining appeared so early in the consequent proceedings, I almost can't wait to gush out such a tale of joy... A demain!