The Kaiserin Elisabeth Hotel is a delightful place to sit in the elegant reading room with glass ceilings (above), where you can have a glass of wine or sherry in the afternoon, read a newspaper in English or German, and generally relax, which we did!
First, to the Stephansdom Platz where one can gaze at the gorgeous cathedral that took centuries to build, resplendent with Renaissance and Medieval structures. The fancy, patterned tile roof was partially destroyed at the end of WWII but has been fixed.
Now, a bit about Austrian and Viennese coffee house Etiquette. You can sit in one for hours, read their free newspapers, use the internet, as long as you buy some coffee or food. Each one has their own clientele base and atmosphere; some serve food while others just coffee and pastries/cakes (a Konditoreien). Coffee houses date back to 1683 in Vienna, after the Turks were defeated, leaving their Turkish coffees behind in haste. The waiters dressed in tuxedos take your order and then bring you the coffee on a silver tray, along with a glass of water. We happened to also have a bit of liquer with ours: Mark had an Irish coffee
One of the younger horses (not a current Lipizzaner selection for performances) peers out from his stall below. Lipizzaners were originally bred in Lipizza, Slovenia by Archduke Karl in 1580. Currently, however, they are all bred in western Austria at the Austrian National Stud Farm in Piber (near Graz). The breed is a cross between Arab, Berber and Spanish horses which were excellent for battle. When young, they are grey or brown in color and turn white when they are older (they live for 30-35 years). Who knows why there is a Spanish Riding School in Austria...??
And here it is....the famous Sachertorte served in the original restaurant where it was created! A delicate, light set of chocolate layers, melded together with apricot glazing, and covered with a deep chocolate ganache. Exquisite! It is the best Sachertorte we have ever had (sometimes they're a bit dry....elsewhere).
Disclaimer: This blog is not an official University of Minnesota or Fulbright Program blog. The views expressed are my own and not those of the Fulbright Program, the U.S. Department of State or any of its partner organizations, or the University of Minnesota.