November 4, 2011

A Taste of Fall {Vienna & Zurich}

This post is long overdue but traveling for ten days takes it out of you! Kait & I started off celebrating finishing midterms by indulging in a true taste of true fall in Vienna & Zurich. The California girl in me just wanted to run & frolic in the leaves {this is one of the first falls I've seen the leaves turn}!


We enjoyed the luxury of flying a real airline {Lufthansa} to Vienna Thursday night via Munich! Not only do they offer free bags, but when we boarded the flight they handed out hot towels and offered endless refreshments! Flying first class {unfortunately, we weren't} & they pick you up at the plane to chauffeur you to your next a Porsche Cayenne. But the luxuries aren't just for first class. When you make it to the terminal, have yourself a merry little {free} coffee drink, hot chocolate, or tea! Friends from home studying in Vienna met us at the airport & after taking a VERY expensive taxi ride back to their place we settled in for the night.

The next morning we woke up & set off to tour the city. We started with wandering around the grounds of Schonbrunn Palace, breathing in the bits of fall & marveling at the old world charm.

From there we took the S-Bahn {I lack of German led me to just follow wherever my friends took me} and walked around the city center venturing from church to church, past Freud's favorite cafe, and past the winter palace {the former was just the summer palace}.

Prior to going to Austria, I researched art to see. Kait researched where Starbucks was. I know, I know...what an American thing to do but when they don't exist in Italy and my thumb is bigger than a cappuccino, a girl's got to indulge in home now and indulge we did. A vanilla latte never tasted better!

{See, even Lufthansa's Magazine confirmed it}
That night we enjoyed a traditional Viennese dinner {something to the likes of Macaroni with Bacon for me} and enjoyed sitting there for a few hours just catching up!When you reserve a table, it's yours for the night so eating together is a social affair not a grab & go. I love this cultural difference in Europe! 

The next morning it was off again to browse through the Saturday flea market that made me wish I had an apartment to decorate and then to sip a tasty cappuccino at Hitler's former favorite Cafe {Sperl}. One of my favorite things about Wien was that it's completely acceptable and expected to pay separately. No struggling over splitting a bill!

I was bursting with excitement for the next stop! Vienna is home {my favorite artist} Gustav Klimt's work! The Belvedere Castle hosts a WHOLE room of his work & my absolute favorite piece, The Kiss. I ran through the whole museum just to make it to this room.

The Kiss, Gustav Klimt, The Belvedere Castle
Sitting on the bench, I just took it in for five minutes and decided I'd start saving now to one day own one of the sunflower pieces! Pictures weren't allowed but the rebel in me was able to sneak a picture of a Vincent van Gogh using the sleeve of my cape coat...

After a quick rest back at the boy's place, we ran out again to the permanent carnival. It was FREEZING cold but my smile couldn't of been bigger riding sky in the high swings that provided quite the view of one of the most old world, charming cities...

Another typical Viennese meal {potato soup this time} and off to bed to rise early for our early train ride to Zurich! Thanks Tim, James, Chris, Matt, Connor, & Andrew for being awesome hosts, tour guide, S-bahn aficionados, & german "translators"!


A few people called us crazy for not taking the night train to Zurich but I wouldn't trade anything in the world for the an eight hour view of the Alps. The train stopped all over Austria and Switzerland, had lots of leg room, and the Bistro cart actually had decent curry chicken so I was plenty happy to nap, finish my book, and take in the splendid endless views...

My mom's best friend from middle school studied abroad in Zurich & never came back so we were quickly welcomed and immersed into the true Swiss life. We arrived close to dinner so after a bit of freshening up Kait & I were treated to a traditional Swiss dinner of one of my favorites...fondue! Needless to say Swiss Chuchi served me some of the best fondue I've ever had. It also introduced me to the expensive lifestyle the Swiss lead {thank you Suz for generously cushioning the weekend}.

We spent the next day just walking around the city, browsing in shops, and playing in the leaves! Zurich is a gorgeous, clean city that mixes modern and old...I was instantly charmed.

One of our side street turns dropped us in front of the most adorable cupcake shop we'd ever seen! Kait and I couldn't resist so we stopped in & were delighted to be greeted by a Swiss girl who had studied abroad in Oklahoma during her Senior year and was delighted to practice her English! After picking two mini cupcakes out, the baker encouraged us to take two more free of charge. The owner of Cupcake Affair travled the world before opening Zurich's first cupcake shop and she had truly perfected the recipes! They were so moist and would give even Sprinkles a run for their money...

We ended the day after another hour or two walking to enjoy cheese and crackers at Lake Zurich with a backdrop of the Alps. The views were breathtaking...if it was just a tad bit closer to home I might join Suz and never come back! How amazingly relaxing...

Our last day we spent wandering again but this time stopping for a few purchases along Bahnhofstrasse, eating giant pretzels, and sampling the famous Luxemburgerli macaroons & vermicelli. The macaroons were to-die-for but I'll let the pictures do the talking for the traditional chestnut paste {worm looking} dessert...

Swiss air safely dropped us back in Florence, serving Swiss chocolate at take-off. Again, my kind of airline!
Suzanne, your hospitality & generosity will forever leave an impression on me & bring a smile to my face when I think of my visit to Zurich!


Anonymous said...

Heyy, I saw your question about where to find pumpkin things on Fodors. I'm studying in Florence too. The San Lorenzo market has a vendor that makes fresh pasta and ravioli. I found pumpkin ravioli there and it was delicious. I got about 1.5 servings for 2 euro..If you walk in through the front take a left, go to the end, take a right and you will see the vendor on the right after a bar/panino stand.

Kassandra said...

Thanks for the treat! I know exactly where this vendor is so I'll make sure to go get some next week! Enjoy the rest of your study abroad...knew I could count on you Fodorites!