06 December 2009

Vienna Adventures with Amy

Cousin Amy came to Vienna a couple days ago and we've been having a lot of fun. We gave her a sample itinerary before she arrived and she picked all the places to go. The first stop? The Schatzkammer - Royal Treasury to see the crown jewels.

Amy trying to bust through the vault door!

The crown jewels! Those look like they would be really uncomfortable to wear.

Amy the princess, checking out the gift shop. Who doesn't need their very own crown?

The Hofburg (where the Habsburgs lived when the monarchy still ruled).

Then it was off to the Christmas markets. First, the really huge one at the Rathaus. It might be the most touristy, but the Rathaus is so beautiful, and there is a lot to see.

Amy just had to try the punsch - that is why people go to the markets, it's like one big happy hour! She had the Turbo Punsch. She also got to sample some flat bread with cheese - yum!

Off to the Naschmarkt. We only had two days to show Amy Vienna before we were going to Zermatt, so we took brief stops all around the city. She got to try our favorite Hungarian pastry, kurtoskalacs!

So many yummy foods to look at while wandering through the food stalls.

And off to another Christmas market at Maria Theresian Platz. Time for some roasted nuts - cinnamon and sugar coated cashews and almonds. Yum. We never even got around to eating lunch, we just kept stuffing Amy full of snacks.

Erdbeer and Nougat Knodel - little balls of dough filled with strawberry or chocolate. We got some of each.

Time for more museums! Here we are at the musikammer - Historical musical instruments. This table is a table that is carved from stone, with pictures and drinking songs carved around it.

That is some really interesting armor (Note the groin section...)

This market is a locals only hidden market - Spittalburg. It is in some random alleyways in Vienna, and we heard it has the best punsch - so we tried some alcohol free punsch, and it was totally awesome. Way better than any other market. And there is good food too. And really, it is all about the food.

Here is Karen with a Kartoffelpouffer. They are like hashbrowns, and can be bought at little stands throughout Vienna, usually where roasted chestnuts are sold. However, unlike most stands, these ones were freshmade, not frozen! And you get to brush on as much garlic as you want. Chris put so much on it burned our tongues when we took the first bite.

And Amy needed her chance to snuggle up with Santa so she could convince him she has been a good girl this year!

Chris getting happy sprinkling salt on the Kartoffelpouffer.

Poor Amy hadn't slept in over 24 hours, and we just kept dragging her to more and more Christmas markets! This one is at the Belvedere palace. There wasn't much new to see, but the palace looks beautiful at night.

Nurse Amy brought out the hand sanitizer while we rode the public transit. No need to take unnecessary risks with our health! We don't want to catch the swine flu before we go skiing.

The next morning, we went to the Spanish riding school. It was neat to see the horses dancing and prancing, especially since the arena is so beautiful. Here is a quick picture from the top level. Elora absolutely loved all the horses.

Since it is "the thing to do", I took Amy to Hotel Sacher to get an original Sacher Torte.

The inside of the cafe is very posh... and the prices very expensive! But we got some hot chocolate and some Sacher torte. Neither of us really liked it that much, but it was fun to sit in such a fancy place sipping our cocoa.

This little statue is outside of a store that sells clocks and toys made of wood. So cute.

Amy's got connections, and managed to call in a favor from an old patient of hers to get us some free opera tickets. When we went to pick them up, we found ourselves in this crazy fancy building where we had to be buzzed in, and then walk the red carpet up to a fancy office. We were afraid to touch anything... a totally surreal experience that brought out the lame tourist in us as we took pictures the whole way up the stairs.

Here we are in front of the Schonbrunn palace, my favorite spot in Vienna. the grounds are beautiful, and the Christmas market is one of my favorites as well. Amy found some really nice Christmas ornaments and other goodies.

Amy trying an extra large Krapfen with chocolate pudding inside.

We took the palace tour, and I snuck a picture of Amy in the Grand Hall. Such a beautiful palace, with very ornate rooms.

Amy posing with her schnapps!

Can you figure this one out?

On our way to the opera, Amy's feet started to hurt from her fancy shoes... so Chris gave her a little ride to the Strassenbahn stop.

And for a fancy night out at the opera, we decided to get Amy only the best for dinner. Her very first Kebab!

Followed by pastries outside the Opera toilet!

Fancy ladies outside the opera.

Chris and his women. He thinks he is so hot... Note his new sophisticated glasses he is sporting. So posh and European.

Here we are inside the opera. On the back of the seats in front of us were little translators that played the words of the music in English so we could actually understand what was going on. We saw Un Ballo in Maschera by Verdi.

At intermission we enjoyed some Apfel Strudel.

We were in the third row! We could watch all the people in the orchestra, and it was absolutely perfect! Thank you Amy!!!! It was a really good time, and we all loved the opera. Very sad of course...

On the bus on the way home. Time to finish packing the car for our trip to Zermatt! We leave at 4:30 am...

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