Posted by: Debra Kolkka | February 5, 2022


Vienna was not part of our plans. We took an overnight train from Munich to Florence when we left our Bavarian friends. We woke up in the morning commenting on how quiet the train was. We open the blinds and found out why. We were stationary in deep snow, nowhere near Florence.

We had no idea where we were and there was no train staff in sight. A little while later some snow melted and we could read the name of the town we were in, Villach, on the Austrian border.

Sometime later an announcement told us to leave the train, go to the station and try to get a train to Vienna. We were told there was little chance of getting into Italy that day so we bought a ticket to Vienna. On the way we decided we might as well stay a couple of nights.

Our first walk in the city took us to St Stephen’s Cathedral, the seat of the Archbishop of Vienna and one of the most important Gothic structures in Vienna. The church was begun in 1137 and finished in 1160. It was almost destroyed in 1258. The reconstruction was finished and the building consecrated in 1263.

The interior is lavishly decorated.

Vienna is full of grand and stylish buildings.

One of my favourites was the Secession Building with its golden leaf dome. The cupola is constructed from 2,500 gilded iron laurel leaves. The building houses contemporary art and Klimt masterpieces. It is possible to buy honey made by the bees that live under the cupola.


The Kunsthistoriches Museum was built in 1891 near the Imperial Palace to house the extensive collection of the Imperial family. It has the largest Bruegel collection and is considered one of the most eminent museums in the world.

It is also very beautiful.

Someone, it seems, has a sense of humour.

We could not possibly have seen all the exhibitions in one visit, but we enjoyed what we saw.

The Egyptian collection is excellent.

A little further on the sculpture exhibition was interesting.

It was necessary to have coffee in one of the most beautiful cafes I have ever been in.


The Natural History museum is opposite the Art Gallery…next time.

We had several great meals in Vienna. Of course we went to the Sacher Cafe to sample their famous cake, but my favourite spot was Cafe Hawelka, almost unchanged since it opened in 1939. It was bustling when we arrived.

The Sachertorte was all gone, as was their apple cake. We had an absolutely delicious peach cake and didn’t feel deprived at all. This would be my local if I lived in Vienna.

On our wanderings we came to the Hofburg Palace and spotted the sign for the Sisi Museum, one of the places I had planned to visit. I read the story of Empress Elizabeth’s life many years ago. She was a contemporary of Marie Antoinette with an interesting and sad life.


The museum is housed in the former principal Imperial Palace of the Hapsburg dynasty, built in the 13th century and expanded several times since. Since 1946 it is the official residence and workplace of the president of Austria.

One section of the museum is devoted to the silver, gold and ceramic table ware used in the palace.

Silver and gold plates were used for all courses except for soup and dessert. Special ceramic plates were designed for these.

This table setting is impressive. I can imagine these gold pieces filled with food and flowers. It must have been quite a sight.


The napkins were folded a special way to include 2 small bread rolls.

Upstairs are the rooms were Sisi lived. Unfortunately no photos are allowed there otherwise I could have shown you replicas of her clothes along with copies of some of her spectacular jewellery. There were lots of personal objects once owned by Elizabeth, or Sisi, as she was known, along with her most famous portraits. Her life is shown from her carefree young life in Bavaria, to her engagement and marriage with the Austrian Emperor, to her 1898 assignation in Geneva.

On our last day in Vienna the centre of the city was taken over by large protest marches against the covid restrictions in Austria. We got on a hop on hop off tour bus to avoid being caught up in the confusion.

There is much more to be seen in Vienna than we could do in a couple of days. It would be great to come back in spring when the trees would be green and there would be flowers everywhere. I have been to Vienna before and remember the streets full of flowers and music.

We stayed at the Hotel Beethoven in Papagenogasse 6. It was well located and the staff were extremely helpful. One lovely young lady helped us fill out our forms for our train refund…which we still don’t have. Travel doesn’t always go to plan.


  1. Stunning images Deb! Vienna would have to be in my top three places to visit. Thank you for sharing ❤️

    • It is a beautiful city. There is much to do so I can see another visit coming up.

  2. Vienna is a very interesting place with so much history and fantastic architecture. And the cafes are magnificent. Debra your photos are stunning as usual. Enjoy your time there. In 2011 I spent a week in Vienna and loved every minute.
    Robyn in Brisbane

    • I loved Vienna the first time I went and the second visit only makes me want more.

  3. A stunning diversion! Fantastic photos. One city I have never visited. What an exciting life you lead. Thanks for sharing your travels.

    • My life is not always exciting. Right now I am busy digging holes in my garden and pulling weeds from around my about to come to life peonies…but I like that too.

  4. Great decision to say for a few nights….Vienna looks fabulous.

    • Vienna is fabulous. It was cold, but sunny and wind free, great for a winter visit. My next visit will be in spring.

  5. Vienna is such a wonderful city. It was lucky to get “stuck “ in Austria.

    • Vienna was a great place to be stuck. We made the most of the situation.

  6. Ah, Vienna! I loved that city when I visited….why did I never go back?

    • Vienna is a city that needs more than one visit. There is so much to enjoy.

      • Exactly

  7. Deb thanks for the fabulous tour, photos & memories for us. We enjoyed a white Christmas there & the snow that year was so thick. Brilliant.

    • There was no snow for our visit. It was cold, but the sky was blue. Snow would be fun too.

  8. Beautiful shots of a beautiful city; your serendipitous adventure. Unexpected AND exciting – Lucky us to share it with you. BTW – unrelated….the mezzaluna, you ordered back some time ago; hand forged in that place that was so interestingly posted; can you/would you show it in an upcoming posting, when time and will permits? The idea appealed to me too; love to see your results. thank you!! Lucky you; already working in the garden; take care of that foot of yours!!

    • I will show you my mezzaluna soon. I took some photos a while ago, but they weren’t any good. I will try again.

      • Thank YOU – I’ll look forward to later; the garden must be a priority at the mo’ anyway. Warm regards,C.R.

  9. That’s wonderful that you really made the most of your unexpected stop! That’s what I love about travel (but yes it can be unpredictable). It has been many years since I visited Vienna but we did go to the Sacher hotel for the sachertorte but preferred a different cake.

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