Originally posted 27/07/13
The only full day in Vienna ('Wien') today so we had quite a busy one. We did a brief walking tour of the city, stopped into the original Swarovski store, went to Hotel Sacher and had the 'Original Sacher Torte' and some Viennese coffee, spent 3 or so hours in the Natural History Museum Vienna, went to the Schnapps museum, then had a dinner with some Viennese cuisine and finally went and saw a Mozart and Strauss concert at Schonbrunn Palace.
Some pictures of Vienna from the morning tour:
At the end of the tour we went to the big Swarovski store, which as it happens is an Austrian company. We got told the story of how it was originally an industrial, precision laser cutting company, but one day a bored worker made a mouse out of leftover cuttings and they started doing the jewelry as well.
We went after that to get the original Sacher Torte and some Viennese coffee. The story about the Sacher Torte is that one day, the royal chef was too drunk to work, and his 16 year old apprentice had to figure out a desert for over 300 of the aristocracy. He came up with this double layered chocolate cake, and it has been a tradition ever since. Vienna is also the home of the sort of western coffee we drink today, like the cappuccino or latte. The Turks (and Greeks) drank a kind of strong coffee that leaves a mud on the bottom of the cup. When the Turks besieged Vienna and then ran away, they left behind sacks of coffee beans. The king nearly threw them out thinking they were poisonous, disgusting things, but then one of his captains created coffee by mixing sugar, milk and boiling water and it's been huge ever since. I don't know how reliable the story is, but I will say that the coffee I had in Vienna is the best I've ever tasted.
Hit up the Natural History Museum Vienna after that, saw some pretty cool shit.
At the Natural History Museum, they also had a display called 'Body Worlds' by Gunter von Haagen. It was really interesting, they had comparisons of a normal body part, i.e. the aorta, vs examples afflicted by a number of different diseases. There was also a model of two people having sex reverse cowgirl style, except with all the muscles pulled back so you can see inside. That one was uh.. interesting. Sadly, no photos allowed in this part of the museum.
Hit up the schnapps museum next, was pretty interesting, he showed us all the equipment they use and then ran us through the history behind a few different types of schnapps and how to drink them correctly. Definitely going to try his tip about butterscotch schnapps (think kahlua) used as an alcoholic ice cream topping.
Had schnitzel or 'chicken scallops' for dinner. Best schnitzel I have ever had, beautiful cut of chicken, perfectly baked and breaded. My mouth is watering just remembering. I think I could easily live here, schnitzel and coffee, two of my favourite foods.
To finish off the day we went to Schonbrunn Palace for a Mozart and Strauss concert. This palace was just a summer palace for the royal family. Nuts. Apart from the sweltering heat and no aircon, it was actually surprisingly good. It was much more interesting to watch classical music than to just listen to it.