I just returned from 2 weeks in Amsterdam, Vienna and Budapest, posting each report separately. I first visited Vienna for a week in 2014 and then travelled by train to Budapest, and this trip I found myself doing the same thing all over again. My first trip focused a lot on everything to do with my favorite movie, The Third Man, and I loved the city so much and had missed a couple of things so decided the time was right for a return. I did many things the first trip--I'm a huge Klimt/Schiele/Secession era art fan; Belvedere, Schonbrunn, Secession, Albertina, MAK, Leopold, Hofburg museums, Wien Stadt museum, so this time was just to spend time there and do whatever came up that pleased me.
2 hour flight via KLM and I arrived at 1:30 pm on a Tuesday; last trip I used the CAT to Wien Mitte and decided this time to save a few euros and made a point to find the S-bahn, if you follow the signs for trains and go below it's there. Bought a ticket for 3.90 from the machine and within 10 minutes was on my way. At Wien Mitte I bought my transit pass and continued to my hotel via the U-Bahn. I chose the Hotel Am Stephansplatz and as I exited the station it was right there, and my stay was one of the nicest so far in my travels. Huge room and bath, every amenity, quiet and comfy bed, and an excellent breakfast was included. Tuesday was a beautiful, warm day and I just reveled in it--had been so tired of feeling like a blue polar bear all bundled up in layers, scarf and gloves so it felt wonderful to go about in a tee shirt.
My first stop was the Prater to ride the Riesenrad again, and I explored the little park, taking pictures of the charming little rides--some have been there a very long time, others more modern. I ate dinner outdoors at the Englischen Reiter and had the grossmutterschnitzel--2 layers of thin pork cutlet with bacon, cheese and pepper inside, along with some wonderful roasted potatoes and a great big beer. Later I reacquainted myself with the Innerestadt by tram and stopped at a Spar store to see if they still had the crunchy little sesame cookies I loved last trip--they did! Same place, even--I bought 7 bags of them, and had a heck of a time getting them home but they survived and will be rationed sparingly.
Wednesday I headed to the lower Belvedere to see the special Lawrence Alma-Tadema exhibit, some of my favorite work all in one place. Then out to the Mariahilfer Strasse area for the Hofburgmobiliendepot--huge museum devoted to the furniture and other household items of the royal family, quite interesting and not crowded. The Albertina next as they had a special exhibit on Egon Schiele, plus when I visited last time the Monet, Picasso etc wing was closed so I was looking forward to seeing that, too. Dinner was at a cozy old café near the hotel on Himmelpfortgasse called Frauenhuber--filled with Austrians, very old-world. I had tafelspitz, and it came with a marvelous sort of haystack of potatoes--these people know a thing or two about potatoes.
Thursday I first hit the Art Academy on Schillerplatz to see the Bosch Last Judgment triptych, then walked to the Kunsthistorisches--what a fabulously ornate building, very impressed. Not exactly my favorite art, again, but plenty to please and some of the artifacts were fascinating, like Cellini's salt cellar. I confused myself looking for the Burg Theatre, wrong tram, but arrived in time to take a tour as I wanted to see the Klimt murals in the staircases. Well, that day the tour was only in German, so I endured 1.5 hours of that--but it was quite worth it. After that I felt I needed to see the Harry Lime door on Schreyvogelgasse again, just 2 blocks away. I get there and to my utter dismay the building is being renovated, door covered in plastic, who knows what's going on?! Perhaps the people are tired of tourists standing in their doorway, smirking like Harry, taking pictures, endless zither music...