After two weeks in London, Tonbridge, and Tunbridge Wells, we were off to Vienna to see Ben’s dad and his partner Olympia. They live 20 minutes outside Vienna in Achau. His dad has been there for almost 20 years and Ben actually went to school in Vienna as a kid.
His dad was nice enough to show us around Vienna (where I’ve been before, but not really experienced) and around his home’s surrounding villages: Schloss Laxenburg, Mödling, Gumpoldskirchen, and Baden. It’s hard to believe there were so many cute places to see just within 20 minutes of such a big European city and all of these would make easy day trips from Vienna.
The first place we went to was Schloss Laxenburg with means Laxenburg Castle. These palaces were the summer homes of the Habsburg dynasty. Now it’s a park & event complex where people have weddings. The park was gorgeous and Ben’s dad explained a lot of what we saw, like holes in the ground that were for ice storage for the royalty back in the day.
He also showed us how they replicated random architecture. The ponds and “moats” were all made back in 1800 but are literally perfectly done. They knew what they were doing!
You can connect with them here: Schloss Laxenburg Betriebsgesellschaft m.b.H., Schlossplatz 1, A-2361 Laxenburg & on their website. There is an entrance fee.
Mödling, Gumpoldskirchen, and Baden
We saw all of these in the same day and I really enjoyed exploring the villages more than Vienna itself and totally recommend taking the train out. You can take the train to Achau for sure, but I imagine these bigger towns have train stations too (although didn’t check). Gumpoldskirchen was mostly a wine town which beautiful vineyards all over the hills.
There were tiny cafes all over the place, pubs, and stunning old churches. We had a “Schinken–Käse-Toast” which is a toasted ham and cheese and is apparently very famous there, like the schnitzel!
His dad also made us a killer Irish stew at the end of the night – YUM!
Loved this little old hat shop. All the shops were adorable. I didn’t have time to shop but it didn’t matter because although cute, most of the things weren’t practical for me since it was cold weather clothes and we live in South India!
This is a shot from the vineyards, but no I didn’t try the wine. I did however try a LOT of beer! One of the common beers there is called Stiegl. It’s brewed “strictly in accordance with the Bavarian purity law of 1516” and it must have been since I didn’t have a hangover after.
We did go into Vienna two days. The first time into town we had lunch at the famous Sperl (Restaurant Sperl Karolinengasse 13, 1040 Vienna). We had a mixture of schnitzel and cordon blue. It was sooo good! Of course because I’m a fatty, I got the tomato soup too which was slurpable for sure.
Later, we boozed it up at Flanagan’s Irish Pub and had a bunch of imported ciders. We also stopped at a couple of cafes: Cafe Pruckl & Cafe Mozart (really famous & expensive)
The photo above is a holocaust memorial of books facing backwards, symbolized their inaccessibility. 65,000 Austrian Jews were killed. It is smack dab in the middle of the square, with cafes and shops all around it so that people see it every day and never forget!
Ben’s dad gave us a mini history lesson. Was great to actually learn about Vienna since last time I was there, almost 7 years ago, I just wandered aimlessly. I wish we had more time to explore, but we only had 4 days in Austria. We’ll be back though!