Vienna – Land of European Beauty and Grumpy Cafe Waiters

Gorgeous Vienna, where the waltz originates, is home to classical composers like Schubert, Mozart, Beethoven and Strauss to name a few.

Numerous famous scientists, writers, and artists also hail from here. My personal favorite is, of course, Freud – founder of psychoanalysis.

Viennese culture is strongly rooted in long leisurely meals surrounded by magnificent architecture on cobblestone streets. Many restaurants still allow smoking indoors so there’s no turning your nose up at second-hand smoke around here.

Sights in Vienna

Vienna Central Cemetery – Wiener Zentralfriedhof

Johannes Brahm’s Grave


Johann Strauss


Mozart’s Honorary Grave
Jewish Portion in the Back

Narrenturm – Collection of Anatomical Pathology

This rounded building housed the mentally ill and criminally insane until the mid-1800’s and is the first psychiatric hospital built in Vienna. Inside, you’ll find preserved body parts and organs or wax recreations showing different diseases and their progression.

Sigmund Freud Museum

Freud’s Waiting Room
Letter with Freud’s signature

Other Sites of Interest

Ruins in the Middle of a Plaza


St. Stephen’s Cathedral


Government Building


Random Alley
Ferris Wheel at Prater Wien
Flea Market Side of Naschmarkt

The Food

Don’t even THINK about leaving Vienna without trying a sausage from a wurstelstand. They are on numerous street corners and are absolutely amazing. Trust me – I’m two countries away from Austria right now and still thinking about them.

I wish I could pack a wurstelstand into my bag and take it home with me because there’s no good reason why we don’t have them.

Another staple of Viennese cuisine is the wiener schnitzel – a piece of thin, breaded, and pan-fried veal – and features on literally every menu. It’s traditionally accompanied by a side of fries and the portion is exceptionally large.

Viennese dishes are meat-heavy and lack vegetables to balance it all out (looks like we’re not the only ones that need Michelle Obama’s healthy eating influence…).

But the best parts are the types of interesting buildings you can dine in. Here’s one from Esterhazykeller – a restaurant housed in an ancient wine cellar.

Blurry Picture of Pork Loin and Sauerkraut (bottom) and Goulash with Spaetzle (top)
Esterhazykeller – Wine Cellar Restaurant
Meat Platter and Cabbage Salad – XXL Restaurant
XXL Restaurant

We also came across a novelty restaurant with a roller coaster theme that takes your order and delivers you food – all by a robot. It’s located at Prater Vienna where you can also enjoy the outdoor amusement park.

Robotic Arm Determines Direction to Send Food
Food is Delivered to Your Seat via Robotic Roller Coaster

Things to Note About Vienna

Viennese culture is a smoking culture – in cafes, restaurants, and even in large crowds or cramped markets.

Waitstaff in Vienna are often terse but it’s nothing personal to the patron. Part of it is the tipping culture that suggests you leave 5 to 10% of your bill for good service. Keep in mind, European dining is often prolonged and can last hours at a time.

If your drink has 2 sips left in it, that could mean you’ll be there for 1 more hour. Waiters won’t ask if you want another drink or the bill unless you explicitly ask them.

There seemed to be fewer service expectations and professional etiquette expected of them. We saw some waiters pour themselves a mug of beer or smoking cigarettes while leaning casually against their workstation even in nicer restaurants or cafes. No big thing.

Vienna is also exceptionally clean. For example, the subway is more akin to a mall than a mass transit station. Their system is extremely efficient and goes down multiple stories to allow for more transit lines.

In the subway cars, they even have complimentary magazines dangling around in case you get bored.

Tickets are pretty pricey though at 8 Euro for a 24-hour pass. But unlike other subways that have you scan your ticket or go through a verification process, we never showed our tickets to anyone in the 4 days we used their transit system.

Surprisingly, not all places accepted credit cards here, which was odd considering how advanced Vienna is in other regards. Keep that in mind if you visit – it’s always good to bring cash as a backup.

All in all, Vienna is a beautiful European city to visit with architectural marvels and rich culture. Here, you can walk in the footsteps of many famous people and understand why this city was central to their inspiration and motivations.

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