After breakfast, Nicola and I decided to visit the Naschmarkt, one of Vienna’s oldest markets dating back to 1786. There’s a market here each day but on Saturdays it incorporates a flea market too. It took us a leisurely half hour’s walk south to reach it. It’s an enormous market the stretches for almost a mile between Linke and Rechte Wienzeile streets. We came across the flea market first and this turned into a food market as we got further East towards the Old Town. Apart from stalls selling fresh vegetables and other foods, there were pop-up restaurants, not just Austrian but a lot of Asian and Turkish too. Inevitably there were many stalls selling sausages – hot dogs – which are so popular here.
An hour or so later, we decided it was coffee time – well coffee for me and tea for Nicola. We consulted the map to see where we were and found we were close to Cafe Sperl, said to be one of the finest coffee houses.
I’ve discovered the white coffee of choice here is Melange – similar to a cappuccino – so I ordered that and some apricot cake.
Both were excellent and despite being on the tourist map it was a very friendly cafe. Our lovely waitress gave us a little booklet explaining the different coffees served and a bookmark with the cafe’s photo on it. After the busy and crowded market, it was nice to sit in such calm for a while. Afterwards we decided to head into the Old Town. We crossed the inner ring road into some gardens where we found a statue of Mozart and Franz Joseph, emperor during the Golden Age of the Habsburgs.
We walked through the gardens and found ourselves at the Albertina museum, home to an acclaimed collection of Impressionist and early 20th century paintings. We’d been planning to go there so we decided to go in.
It was a wonderful collection and an impressive building. Once Imperial apartments for guests during the Habsburg era it breathed grandeur and power.
We decided to go further into the historic centre to find somewhere for lunch but then, realising we were very close to the Sacher Hotel, thought that would be an excellent choice to eat.
There were various entrances but we found our way into the traditional cafe.
Nicola chose fresh tagliatelle with pesto and tomato. I took a more Austrisn route and chose ham flavoured with truffle, quails’ eggs and pickled cucumber. I also chose a local white wine to go with it.
The food was wonderful. My ham had a glorious amount of truffle in it and Nicola’s pasta was delicious (she gave me a taste!). Again, just as the previous cafe, the service was so good and friendly. There can’t be anywhere more touristy than the Sacher Hotel in Vienna and sometimes such places can feel unfriendly and like you’re in a conveyor belt. But here the waiters were nicely attentive and seemed to want us to enjoy being there. Now we had of course already eaten cake. But then we are in Vienna and Vienna = cake + coffee. And how could we NOT have Sachertorte in the Sacher Hotel! So we did – but we shared a slice.
Happily it didn’t disappoint and was as gorgeous as we’d expected it to be. Round the corner in their shop as we left, we saw them in different sizes and it was tempting to take one home – but we did manage to resist that!
We walked on right into the heart of the Old Town to Stephansdom – St Stephan’s Cathedral.
Known as a Gothic masterpiece, a church has been on the site since the 12th century. It was completely remodelled in the 13th century and some of that building remains until this day.
By now it was mid afternoon. We’d done a lot in our half day – a really lovely half day. But we decided it was time to head back to the studio for a quiet time before going out in the evening.