Due to travel delays, Richie and I could only spend one full day in the city instead of two. It didn’t help that we both woke up wicked late, thanks to jet lag. My new husband was kind enough to go downstairs and get us breakfast while I washed my hair free of travel. After eating way more chocolate for breakfast than we should have, we had to scoot quickly to the Belvedere, where we had time-sensitive entrance tickets. When researching Vienna, not a lot caught my eye; however, Klimt is a favorite of mine, so we had to see The Kiss: A perfect start for a newly married couple.
I love European museums since so many are converted palaces; the palace is also art. When we showed up, it was only starting to get busy, which gave us a chance to see the Klimt pieces. A funny demonstration of human psychology was also on display. There was a line. It was a long line. Everyone expected the line to take them to The Kiss. It did not. In fact, there was no line to see Klimt. Instead, the line led them to a small viewing room big enough for 4 people to observe the palace chapel. Unlike a lot of other people, Richie and I were delighted to see that there was a mass happening. We hung around for a few minutes before trying to get coffee in the museum café. There were no seats, so we walked around to the front of the Belvedere, where we had our first interaction with a Christmas Market.
Christmas Markets are these magical festivals with art, knick-knacks, food, and mulled wine. There’s more of an eco-conscious culture, which means that vendors utilize glass cups and plates. To encourage return, all vendors require a deposit, anywhere from 3 to 5 euros—and they only accept cash. As this was our first market and my social anxiety gets heightened when I don’t know how to do something, we did not participate in this Christmas Market. It was the only time that happened.
Instead, we found a different café for some cake and coffee. You know, for a country known for its coffee culture, we were both underwhelmed by the quality. I will say, for the record, Richie has made me a coffee snob, and I remained caffeine-deprived for most of the trip. Snootiness in our back pockets, we wandered to the apartment Mozart lived in while he and his family were in Vienna. Such a neat experience. A bummer that more furniture didn’t survive, but it was nice to see a place where he lived and worked. Richie and I thought it was funny that even a famous artist like Mozart, a literal wunderkind known throughout Europe, had to teach to make his income.
We spent a lot of time in the apartment, so it was dark by the time we emerged. We started heading toward a cathedral that I’d pinned a few weeks ago before we left. I’m glad I did because it gave us another chance to go to a Christmas Market just outside this Gothic cathedral lit up with colored lights. Hustle. Bustle. Food. Trinkets. My magpie heart sang.
After watching a few people go first, we finally figured out the mulled wine situation. It was a much-needed shock of warmth before we went into the cathedral. Let me tell you, they sure don’t make churches like that anymore. This place was gorgeous and humbling. As someone who used to go to church but doesn’t now, it’s always weird going into one.
On the one hand, patriarchy. On the other, so many wounded souls looking for light. Reflecting on that, while we sat in the pews, I cried a bit. There’s been a lot going on lately, and the emotional release was what I needed before we went to the opera.
I’m beginning to believe that I don’t actually like opera. Hear me out: I love opera houses, the sets, the orchestra, the vibe. However, the atmosphere is arranged almost like they WANT you to fall asleep. It didn’t help that we ate these divine hotdogs at a stand (the sausage was filled with cheese, y’all). After the first act, though, we’d had our fill and left in search of another Christmas Market, the real MVP of the whole trip. We went to bed, me a little drunker than not, and drifted off to sleep, eager for Munich.
Score Card: Vienna (1 to 5)