An Obligatory Overnight in Vienna with Pork, Beer, & Art

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I needed a break. I needed a night to clear my head and experience something new, so I decided to take the bus from Ljubljana to Vienna for a bit of a clarity and to see a city I had only been to briefly. Plus Vienna offers the promise of pork and beer.

The bus ride is quick and painless. Arriving at the station in about five hours, I figure out the subway fairly easily and ride it to my hostel. Wombats has two locations in Vienna, and I go for the one in the city center. It is young, almost too young, and hip. Staying within walking distance of much of the city makes a short stay here in Austria’s capital a lot easier, and it’s so damn pretty here walking around is enriching.

Dropping my bag in my room, I go for a classic. Salm Brau is just what you want from Austrian food and beer–traditional dishes and refreshing lagers, reds, and browns. I go for the schnitzel, with boiled potatoes & parsley, and that delicious cranberry sauce they serve it all with. I know a lot of people in the States that would eat a hunk of fried pork with ketchup, and honestly the cranberry sauce is a lot like it, only better.

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I truly, deeply wish that I would have thrown caution to the wind and ordered that boiled pork knuckle they have on the menu. Jesus Almighty, that thing looked awesome. You probably won’t finish the schnitzel anyways, it’s huge. Still the fried pork and flight of beer make all your pain and sorrows fade away, at least for a little while.

If you know me and my blog, you know by now that it’s time for coffee. I head to Fenster, which is a window show in the Fleischmarkt, a trendy and touristy area in the middle of the city. I take my coffee and walk for what feels like hours. I see all the pretty architecture but am not that interested in paying to see a palace or a play about Mozart. I’m turned off by the touristy shit, but I am intrigued by the Kafka Cafe. It’s hip and sophisticated. I am fascinated with the history, knowing that Kafka, Freud, Stalin, Hitler, and others lived here during the same time provides something to ponder over beers.

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But, alas I am also turned off by the traditional beer tourism. Vienna is known for its beer, and I think that they must have a good modern tap room. Stocking beers from around Europe and beyond, I decide on Ammutson near my hostel. It’s ambient and cozy. There is a small tap room and a patio where locals and travelers alike get hammered on strong brews. After a long day walking across almost the entire city, I am content to sit at the bar and chat up a Californian I meet as well as the sweet bartender. I drink many beers and stumble into the night to walk to my hostel.

The next day I go to the MUMOK modern art museum. It is a beautiful building with five stories hosting all kinds of great exhibits. I particularly like the political Soviet art and the exhibition on queer identity, but my favorite is their main exhibit, a trippy, mind-bending, and unsettling level called Vertigo. It is made up of optical illusions and trickery. Before my bus I get some coffee and eat some currywurst. It is the perfect way to end my short trip in this awesome, accessible city.

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