We had an early start to get to the Naschmarkt, a market that we’d heard was worth visiting on a Saturday. It was really nice but fairly quiet at first and we had a tasty bakery breakfast before wandering around. The market got busier and busier and we were glad that we had come early so that we could explore properly. There were lots of produce stalls selling very interesting foods as well as an absolutely enormous flea market. We bought ourselves a picnic lunch for later, including a looooong flatbread that was almost as tall as Oli (okay, not quite), some sundried tomatoes and a bottle of Sturm, a cloudy, partially fermented wine. When we were standing at the stall trying to work out what people were buying that was so popular, a friendly passerby explained to us that it was ‘wine before finish’. So from then on, that’s how we referred to it. Catchy!
We then moved on to the legendary Sacher Cafe to try some Sacher torte, which was tasty but not the best ever (perhaps that’s controversial). While there, we discovered that the Sturm bottle was eager to be drunk and had spilled in Sara’s rucksack, so we popped back to the hotel to clean up and decant some provisions for later on.
After this minor detour, we ate our picnic in one of the parks in the city centre. We began a self-guided walking tour (from the Lonely Planet – are you sensing a theme?) and although we thought we’d be repeating our steps in some places, the tour pointed out lots of things that we hadn’t noticed before. For example, on the main pedestrian street there was an old tree which was full of nails, banged in by blacksmiths for luck when they were leaving the city in the 16th century. We’d passed this several times but were oblivious to the history, so it was well worth following the tour for these interesting nuggets of information.
In the late afternoon, we took a tram out to the suburbs to visit a wine tavern. As it was a bit of a journey out of the city, we hadn’t been sure whether it would be worthwhile, but we were really pleased we bothered. The tavern was in a beautiful old yellow-walled monastery and we sat outside in the courtyard, with music playing and vines overhead. The wine was produced there and so of course we tried a few glasses. We liked the simple way they kept track of what we’d drank, with a tally slip on our table, although we didn’t manage to rack up a very impressive total! The whole area really contrasted with central Vienna, and we enjoyed seeing where people actually lived and relaxed – it was very green and quiet.
After a few glasses of wine we took a tram back into the city, and laughed because we were both thinking the same thing – the outer shell of the trams reached the ground making them look like Dougal from the Magic Roundabout! Oli also thought it looked like they were powersliding when they went round corners. As we disembarked the tram, we spotted a George doppelgänger and took some probably none-too-subtle photos as evidence (we reviewed them the next morning and concluded that it wasn’t just the wine and they really did look uncannily alike)!
We then jumped on the metro to see the Riesenrad (Vienna’s famous fairground wheel), which turned out to be in a fully-fledged theme park. The wheel was expensive to get on and didn’t look very thrilling (although pretty to watch), so we decided to spend our pennies on a few other rides. Best of all were the chair-o-planes which travelled 117m in the air (think about it, that’s pretty high!) and gave us a beautiful view, albeit one that was rather windy and cold. Sara was quite scared so had a few good gulps of Sturm afterwards to steady her nerves. She then promptly fell over while crouching to take a photo, right in the path of a very bemused man. Time for bed! Our busiest day yet and great fun.