Posted by: travelrat | May 15, 2018



Vienna: 28th March 2018

‘Each stranger arriving at Vienna will be asked by a police officer, as soon as the train reaches the terminus, for his travelling pass, for which a certificate will be handed him, which binds him to enquire after the pass at the Police Office (Spenglergasse No. 264) within the twenty-four hours’  (George Bradshaw 1853)

On our way to Vienna, we passed through Slovakia. I don’t think we can count it among ‘countries visited’ because we didn’t go ashore … or even stop.  Times have changed since Bradshaw’s day; nobody demanded travelling passes, or issued any certificates.

Our City Tour of Vienna, where we arrived about midday was a little rushed; too much information in too short a time, I thought. The salient point was the Naschmarkt … it means ‘tasting market’, and that’s just what you do; we tasted pancakes with apricot jam. We also tasted cheese, which was excellent and had some wine, which fell into the category ‘Not bad, but I wouldn’t cross town especially to look for it’. Then followed a rather confusing medley of ornate and stately buildings, most of them designed, inhabited or at least associated with the great and the good of Austria.

The Hofburg

At the Hofburg Palace, we got a little peep into the stables of the Spanish Riding School. You’d need to book well in advance, (and, presumably, pay a pretty fair wedge) to get into the School itself, and see the horses in action. But, we did see one of the horses, peering over the stable door.

We finished the tour at St Stephen’s Cathedral … a bit disappointing inside, but Gothic and imposing on the outside …  although it was partially covered in scaffolding.

Maybe it’s unfair to make a judgement on so short a visit, but my reading in the past (mainly novels!!) gave me the impression that it was a sort of ‘if you have to ask the price, you can’t afford it’ sort of place … and I didn’t really see anything to contradict that impression.

Carriage, Vienna

That evening, at dinner, one of the choices for dessert was the famed Sachertorte. Really, it’s just chocolate sponge cake, coated with chocolate and with an apricot jam filling; very nice, but I just don’t see what all the hype was about.


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