Along the Kärntnering towards the Schubertring, From The Vienna State Opera to the Vienna City Park.
Vienna is always full of surprises. You never know what the city may have in store for you, so we have found it best to make plans but remain flexible enough to change them at the drop of a hat and just go with the flow.
This week we were invited for the opening of a Café in the the Stadtpark. Being that the weather was glorious we decided to go early and meet a friend for a leisurly chat accompanied by Coffee and cake at Café Oper, one of our favorite Cafe’s in the city. They have Excellent coffee, delicious pastries and also offer a very nice lunch menu at a reasonable price. But its most coveted attribute is its location.
You sit beneath the arcades of the Vienna State Opera, the Kärntnerstrasse to your left, Karlsplatz to you right and the Hotel Bristol in front of you. You are practically in the heart of Vienna. Everything and everyone convenes at this hub, locals and tourists, business and art, cars and bikes. The city pulses around you. Still, sitting beneath the arcades, you sense tranquility. You lean back into your chair. Take a sip of you Wiener Melange and a bite of your Orange Malakoff cake. Watch the world go about its business and feel ever so slightly removed. It’s a bit like sitting in a loggia at the Vienna State Opera and watching the performance on stage.
Afterwards, we strolled along the Ringstrasse towards the Stadtpark. In the mid 19th Century, Emperor Franz Josef ordered the protective city walls to be razed and the moat to be laid dry. He had them replaced wits an elegant and impressive circular boulevard, opening up and connecting the city with the so called Vorstädte. On May 1st in 1865, the Ringstrasse was Officially opened. It marked a new Golden Era of industrial wealth, a representetuve art movement deemed Historusmus, and a period of gaiety and leisure without comparison to this day. The Ring as it is affectionately called, was originally liend with one Café after another. They were the gathering places for those who dealt in Art, power, money and pure unabashed enjoyment. Only three of the original Cafés remain, Prückel, Schwarzenberg and Landtmann.
Today, the Ring showcases some of Vienna’s most prestigiouse hotels. On the way we passed one of it’s newest additions, The Grand Ferdinand, which boasts an impressive resteraunt and a smaller bar/bistro dubbed Gulasch & Champagne. Both serve very traditional Austrian fare at it’s very best.
The glass windows slide away so you are out on the ring wether you are seated in or out of doors. This is not vegetarian fare. The resteraunt offers typical Viennese Specialties such as Wiener Schnitzel, Tafelspitz, and thelsser known Girarci Ristbraten. It also offers a very good selection of Offals such as sautéed liver and roasted Sweetbreads. You will also find seasonal dishes such as fresh Austrian asparagus from the nearby Marchfeld.
The smaller bistro Gulasch & Chamoagne specializes in Exactly that Gulasch and Champagne. Somehow that always reminds of the the lyrics from Nat King Cole song “…Chili con Carne and Soarkling Champagne…”