Vienna 5: May 12, 2007 -- Naschmarkt, schnapps and good wine -- notes from Bob and Sally

Bob Corbett's note:

I was about to entitle this note -- best day of the trip so far. But two things held me back. First of all as I type this the bells are ringing NOON. It does seem a bit early for that declaration, especially since we have so much still planned for today.

But more to the larger point, in case anyone had any doubts, Iíd best say a clarifying note about me. I am a person who lives TODAY. I live it with passion and thus each day often seems the best day of my life until tomorrow. Just my way to be in the world.

Today has been simply awesome. We rose early and hurried to breakfast just after it opened at 7 AM. Breakfast at the hotel is really nice. There is a large cold smorgasbord laid out. Semmels, my main stay are there in abundance. And a selection of cold sausages and cheeses. then there are a couple of different fruit juices, milk, water, two or three different fruits. If one wants there are soft boiled eggs available upon request. When you come in and sit then the host comes to greet you and ask what you will drink. I always drink coffee and Sally drinks tea. We each get a lovely pot of our respective drink.

I always take a selection of sausages and cheese and a semmel FIRST. Slice the semmel and add the meat and cheese. Then the coffee comes with some cream on the side. I do add a small daub of the cream. I then repeat the process with a second semmels with sausage and cheeses and more coffee. Sally is more diverse. She does have one semmel with sausage and cheese, then a second with jellies of some sort, often some water as well as tea and even some fruit is sheís in the mood.

We ate rather quickly today and headed off for the big morning at the Naschmarkt. Every Saturday of the year there is a GIGANTIC flea market at Naschmarkt. It fills a two block area of Vienna (just the flea market= and the stalls are 8 abroad in those two block areas. Beyond that is the normal EVERYDAY Naschmarkt which is a year-round, 6 day a week outdoor market of every imaginable food, meat and fish you can imagine. That is THREE FULL CITY BLOCKS long.

Our target today was the flea market. We didnít buy much, but what we go we adored. Sally found a simply beautiful pitcher for 1/2 liter of wine and got that. It ended up being the only antique item we purchased. However, along the way we saw a lovely leather long wallet which would fit nicely into the pockets of our awesome travel vests. Later on, when I just pooped out, she left me at a wine bar (at 9:30 AM) and I had a viertle wine (1/4th liter and read the Kleine Zeitung, one of my favorite Viennese newspapers. She went off for more shopping and ended up purchasing me a really lovely 100Ŗ% leather wallet at another place. Later we even went back to the first stall and purchased the other one weíd seen as well. Iím now a fully outfitted traveler.

Next we did the FOOD AREA of the market. Sally wanted spices to take home and got them in spades. An entire KILO (2.2 lbs) of Hungarian goulash spice, an enormous among of Irani saffron and some Turkish apple tea like we had purchased last year in Turkey and loved very much.

Then we hit the man Iíve known for years who makes this incredible home-made honey wine. It is a small bottle, probably 1/3 rd the size of a normal bottle of wine. We got three of those. In winter he has honey cakes too and I was drooling for one, but he explained he didnít sell those until October. Later we found some local vintners selling their own home brews of wine and schnapps and we just loaded up. Several bottles of wine and several bottles of schnapps. Weíll drink several bottles here before we leave, but hope to bring some of the wine home in my CHECKED luggage, wrapped up carefully in clothes. You canít bring wine as a carry-on any longer on U.S. airplanes.

We were simply loaded for bear then with heavy bags and came home to dump them in our room. Since we would be passing this place, our daily e-mail place we decided to stop and do the e-mail early today. >Next we will go off to the inner city. Just down the street from Stephansdom (the giant St. Stephenís Cathedral of Vienna) is one of Viennaís best "wurstle" stands, i.e. a place where from a tiny wooden shack they sell hot grilled wurst (brats). We havenít even had a wurstle since we got here and I think that is totally illegal in Vienna, so not wanting to get arrested as a bad tourist, we are going to eat street food today. We will first go to that wurstle stand and get a "Wurst im hotdog." Yep, I kid you not. The wurst is the bratwurst and the HOTDOG is the BUN. They hollow out the long bun (the wurst is nearly a foot long and fat), put senf, a powerful mustard into the hole in the bun and then slip in the wurst. That and a beer standing on the corner, no tables at the stands, is awesome.

But today is street feasting day for us and so next we will go back for the third straight day to Zanoni and Zanoni for ice-cream and wine and people watching supreme. Next, weíll walk and obscene amount of miles around the inner city and head home. Later, toward 5-6 PM Iíll hop back on the U-Bah, the subway, to ride into to Schwedensplatz for the best donner kabob on the planet earth. This is a GIGANTIC gyro sandwich with pork and delicious sauce. They are just enormous, nonetheless I will get three of them so that Sally and I each have 1 and a half. Iíll also bring home three of the huge Gosser Marzen beer bottles of cold beer.

for the evening we have BOTH some Austrian wine (we can choose between a white Grunerveltleiner or a red Zweigelt, both delicious) and we have the honey wine and we have two tall bottles of schnapps, one is birne (pear) and the other is marillon (apricot), so we will be well fixed for food and drink without going to a real "restaurant" today, itís a street food -- outdoor market wines day for us. We planned it that way since tomorrow will be an nearly obscene day of food as we spend the day at the wine gardens of Grinzing, just in the Vienna Woods outside the city. Oh my, thatís even a hard day for me to face -- so much wine, food and umpah umpah music tomorrow.

We will also walk in the Wienerwald (Vienna Woods) to offset some of that food and drink.

Sally and I are simply madly in love with Vienna and want to come back for another trip soon in which we spend an ENTIRE month just in Vienna. We are thinking about the possibility of during the Oktoberfest period, from middle October to middle November, but it can get fairly cold in November....

Weíll see about that.....

Okay folks, at noon weíre already worn out, but the day is just beginning.....


Sally's note

Hi Everybody,

Well, itís noonish on Saturday and it turned out to be a glorious day for the open air market in Vienna called the Naschmarkt.

Bob and I woke early, showered and went down for breakfast as soon as we could so we could be off early for the market.

I donít recall exactly when we arrived there, but I think it was 8:30 because I wondered if it would be open. Bob smiled at that and said, there will not only be vendors there with their tables of goods, but lots of shoppers -- and there were.

Itís now noon and we shopped until we dropped! Neither of us had much that we Ďneededí but we both had things we wanted to look for. On my list was Hungarian paprika, saffron and if possible apple tea (the really chunky kind) And on Bobís list was a long flat wallet (replacement for his regular size wallet) that would fit into the long zipper pocket in his vest, some homemade honey wine, red or white (or both) homemade wine and homemade schnapps.

When I tell you we had a successful day, it means that we found everything on our Ďlistsí.

I also found a beautiful little crystal pitcher, which I hope will arrive safe and sound in St. Louis on Wednesday.

We just delivered our treasures to our hotel and stopped here at our local internet cafe before heading out to find a light lunch of wurstles mit hot dog and senf. Not sure about the spelling, but it means that Bob and I are going to find his special place where we will have one of the best bratwurst in Vienna on buns with Austrian/German mustard. Yum!

And after that maybe a little ice cream before we enjoy another afternoon of sightseeing and people watching here in beautiful Vienna!

Then on our way home after while, we will pick up our second treat of the day and bring it back to our hotel to eat. That is one of Bobís other favorites. Its called a donor kabob. He cant stop telling me how good they are and how I will love them as he does. They arenít Viennese, but maybe Turkish. But they are so popular here now, that Bob says they actually put some of the wurstle (bratwurst)stands on the streets here in Vienna out of business!

Tomorrow we hope itís another nice day because we are planning a trip up to the mountains, and then a visit to a special heuriger where not just homemade food is served, but homemade wine also. Its another of Bobís favorite places.

Are any of you thinking that you would love to see the Vienna that Bob loves? I happen to know that he would love to show it to you just as he is showing it to me. And would love to have you enjoy the sites and the foods here.

It really is a beautiful city, where the people seem happy to be living here. Its also a very clean city, and the public transportation here is amazing. Clean, fast, easy to learn. MUCH easier than Budapest, which was of course more difficult because of the language, but was not as well signed or labeled as Vienna.

And I donít need to tell you that the food here is just delicious. And that Bobís favorite places and dishes are some of the very best. Not the fast foods that some folks would look for, just the opposite, though its so nice when you get to someplace you have never been to have names of restaurants that have been recommended by someone who has been there, and even better when that special someone takes you there... :)

Hope all is well where you are, and that your day and your weather is a good as Vienna is today!

Sally Ryan Sharamitaro




Bob Corbett