Vienna 2016 – Day 3 – Museums

Nice little lay in today, I don’t think we properly really got moving until 11am or so. We’d start the day by heading back towards Stephensplatz so I could pick up a magnet for my fridge (tradition now) before heading down south towards the treasury and national library. I had seen some quite impressive looking pictures of the library online and wanted to check it out, however upon entering, we were kind of unable to find where to go, all we could see was a museum which you had to pay to enter, and the actual library itself which had turnstiles and multiple notices saying ‘we are not a tourist information centre’.

We gave up on the idea eventually, and just kept exploring outside. We hadn’t checked this segment of vienna on the first day so it was all pretty much new to us, wide open spaces and huge fancy buildings everywhere – the aforementioned library was insanely big and fancy in its architecture.

A little further south we’d come across the museumsquartier, where we’d end up spending the majority of our day. A pop up Christmas market in the middle of the plaza, flanked by two gigantic museums and a third at the end of the plaza in front of us. The shops were the usual fare, though it was a Saturday so we didn’t really stick around to browse too much as it was just so incredibly busy.

We ended up going into the Kunsthistorisches Museum, which is technically an art museum I believe. Entry was a very steep 15 euros, so were pretty worried it might be shit and not worth the money, but the initial area we could see from the front door seemed promising so we went for it. It was a good thing we did! the museum was incredible inside (and actually #3 for Vienna attractions on Tripadvisor, unbeknown to me at the time), the internal architecture and detail in every single one of the rooms was super impressive, let alone all of the things on display. Whilst the upper level was indeed mostly paintings, the lower floor had a collection of roman and egyptian antiques, majority of which were super impressive – detailed glasswork, pottery, jewellery, statues carved from ivory, bone and bronze..
We spent hours looking around, before spending a bit of time sitting in the cafe to try Vienna’s signature Sachertorte, which is a chocolate cake with layer of apricot jam and topped with Dark chocolate, it was nice though perhaps not as great as I was expecting – it certainly wasn’t any Blackforest.

After thoroughly exploring the museum, we’d venture back out into the museumsquartier where it was now dark, the museum opposite had projections on the face of it, and all of the christmas lights were in full bloom, making for some nice pictures (I hope).

We’d set out north looking for an early dinner before landing in another austrian restaurant. This one was pretty good though, had a lovely main of Roast beef with onions and an incredible gravy… Yum.

Rathaus plaza was our next destination, which had been very impressively lit up and adorned with it’s own christmas market and gigantic ice skating rink. This Ice rink was like nothing I had ever seen, it wasn’t a normal oval but rather like it had just enveloped a small forest, with multiple paths around the trees, as well as long single channel paths and even a roundabout, it all weaved and interconnected to smaller more tradional rinks.

The market was similarly huge, which was just as well because it was absolutly heaving with people – being a saturday night and all. We were at the mercy of the crowd at some points, and trying to take pictures without some tall austrian’s head in the way was a real challenge. Stopped again for some more cake, Mozart cake this time, which I believe is chocolate and pistachio – as usual I could only really taste the chocolate…

We’d wander around for a while, taking pictures of all the lights as well as Rathaus from afar, before eventually wandering down towards the Vienna parliment building to check that out as well. By the time we were done there, the cold was really starting to get to us, and so we would head home.