Well we are back from our worldly adventures! Chad earned a trip to Vienna through his insurance sales. He was the number 7 producer in the nation with Companion Life! It was truly the trip of the lifetime, everything I imagined and more! We did and saw so much, that I will break up the posts by the days that we were there.
So how did we get to Vienna? It was LONG! We flew from Lubbock to Dallas and Dallas to London, then London to Vienna. As you can imagine, the flight from Dallas to London was a doozy. The 777 plane was nice though, and had great entertainment centers at every seat. It was an overnight flight and I was able to sleep some, Chad not so much. I think we were dazed and confused by the time we got to London, and then just plain zombie-like by the time we got to Vienna. We left Lubbock at 2 PM on Saturday and arrived in Vienna at 1 PM their time on Sunday.
So we arrived plenty early to do some exploring, but as I said we were zombies, so we set out in search of food. We actually stopped at the first place we saw instead of walking on to a recommended restaurant. It was a decent meal, not noteworthy that I remember. Afterwards we broke a cardinal sin of travel I’m sure, and we went back to the hotel for a nap!
That night was the Companion Life “Welcome Reception”. It was lovely! It was at the Kursalon and we ate dinner on a patio that overlooked the Vienna City Park. I have to say all of the Companion events were top notch! They had a string quartet and some opera singers to entertain us. We had a buffet that night and the food was great. My favorite Viennese dish that night was the onion spaetzle! After dinner Chad and I booked it back to the hotel for bed!
The next morning we started our first full day in Vienna. Chad had a short business meeting that morning so I ate at the breakfast buffet in our hotel, The Ritz Carlton. It was a different breakfast buffet than I am used to, but the waffles were to die for! They also had a honey comb right on the buffet!
After Chad’s meeting we made our way to the Opera House. That seems to be the hub of everything touristy in Vienna. From there we boarded the hop on hop off buses and made our way to the Praterstern to ride the Wiener Riesenrad. In other words, the really cool old Ferris wheel that I have been dying to ride since I saw it on the Amazing Race! When we arrived at the park, we decided to find lunch before we rode. We found a really cool little beer garden, Vivus, that was completely authentic! The menu was entirely in German. I had the traditional Viennese dish of Wiener Schnitzel (breaded veal) with potato salad. Chad had some fried mushrooms. The schnitzel was good and the potato salad was tasty, but different. It is a warm potato salad. We decided they like to boil everything over there. The potatoes were then covered in some kind of vinaigrette.
After lunch we hopped on the Riesenrad. It was really neat. It was built for the Golden Jubilee of Emperor Francis Joseph I and the world’s fair in 1897. It was meant to be torn down soon after, but it stayed up and survived! Several of the cars were burned during the final days of World War II, but it was rebuilt and reopened in 1947. (There if you are ever on jeopardy you can thank me for that knowledge). It had great views of the city and the Prater. The Prater is the amusement park where the Ferris wheel is located. It is different in that you don’t pay for admission to the park, but just pay for the individual rides that you want to enjoy. It looked like a fun little park, but we left after we finished the Riesenrad.
We got back on the hop on hop off tour bus and made our way back to the Hofburg palace. This place is massive! We didn’t even scratch the surface walking around it that day. We also couldn’t find a way in! It seems most of the palace is home to government offices now. After we walked around for a bit and marveled at the architecture, we made our way back to the hotel to get ready for the award’s dinner by Companion.
Y’all, I can’t even describe how amazing this night was! It was the stuff of dreams, really. We hopped on a chartered bus and had a guide narrating. All of a sudden I hear her say that we are headed to the Liechtenstein Garden Palais (palace). She also explained that this palace is not even open to the public, they only open a few times a year for special events, such as ours. We made our way into the palace and enjoyed some delicious hors d’oeuvres. After a while, they opened up the art gallery upstairs for our viewing! It was crazy that the public doesn’t get to experience this! They had a piece of furniture in the gallery worth $27 million. They would not let us take any pictures, understandably, but it was awe inspiring.
We made our way into a gorgeous ballroom for dinner. The wine was flowing! They had fois gras as the appetizer. It was more edible with the red currant sauce, but I can’t say it was my favorite. The main course was beef wellington and fish fillet with truffled potatoes and creamy arugula! It was delicious. There was a huge dessert buffet after dinner out on the patio. They had some amazing made to order crepes and lots of espresso.
Now for the unbelievable stuff…. As Chad and I had explored Vienna that day, I noticed that the Vienna Boys Choir was not in concert again until Friday, the day we would leave. I was kind of sad we would not be able to see them! Well lo and behold, they gave us a private concert at this dinner! I had tears in my eyes. It was so incredible. The boys seemed so excited too and were soaking up all of the standing ovations our group gave them! I will leave you with some videos of their performance. Like I said, once in a life time.
Up next, Salzburg!