From Siena to Vienna

Last weekend, I met my dad in Austria. I landed at dusk into Vienna rushed and cheery, greeting my cab driver with a “ciao.” Whoops. The man did not “sprechen sie” Italian (or English, for that matter), but chatted about “wienerschnitzel” “kaffe” and “sachertorte.” Bring on the holy trinity. When we arrived at the lovely, completely-Austrian hotel, I was grandly welcomed and led into the plush, red-velvet wallpapered lobby. That’s where my dad was sitting, crossword-ing, and waiting for me. Yay!

The Stairway to Heaven!

We strolled down the wide and bright, store-lit street, gushing over the city’s lovely baroque beauties, and stopping into Loos’ glamorous and nouveau bar- a very cozy and ritzy (albeit smoky) gem of Austrian architecture.

The next morning after a four-plate breakfast spread of bread, eggs, hams and cheeses (breakfast is no afterthought here), we reveled in Klimts and Schieles both in the Succession and Leopold Museums. We visited St. Stephan’s Cathedral, where there is a simple and unobtrusive scaffold, permitting us to climb the 13-story dome—a stairway to heaven if-you-will. At the top, we stood in the clouds, inches away from the fresco. After this cathartic and rather straining journey (both physically and emotionally for me, considering the scaffold shook and I’m afraid of heights), we deemed cake a necessity, splurging on a heavy and rich Esterhazy torte. Unlike a far simpler Siena, Vienna is plush—grand marble edifices, throaty German accents, glitzy Klimts, and indulgent tortes and backhendls.

On Saturday, after the majestic and impressive Belvedere tour, a delicious and astonishing 3-lb smoked salmon brunch, another cathedral-climb and a late-afternoon apple strudel mit schlag, the two of us dressed in our glad rags and headed to La Treviata! Like the city it sits in, the opera house is spectacular and glamorous – we sat on red-velvet seats in an ornately gilded box.  The opera was (surprisingly!) entertaining. The story –aided by the English subtitles – was comprehensible and compelling. Molto drammatico!

Me and my dad at the opera!

During intermission, the audience glided out towards the many barrooms: we stood at a raised table in a beautifully painted and marbled quarter, sipping champagne and munching canapés. Um, come si dice “la dolce vita” in German?


The next day, after an Old Masters morning at the Kunst Haus, we headed towards an English-only movie theater. We leaned back into our super comfortable and plush armchairs, enjoying some good, old-fashioned James Bond in our super authentic Austrian cinema.

I had a wonderful, artistic and foodie weekend with my dad! I was so glad to see him and to be in a bustling and glitzy metropolis! Yay, dad! Yay, Vienna!