If a picture is worth a thousand words, is a picture of foods worth a thousand bites? I only ask because in my opinion the above photograph of the extraordinary cupcake I ordered at Simply Raw Bakery in Vienna looks good enough to eat, doesn’t it? When we left Cafe Griensteidl on our third day in Vienna, we had some territory to cover to reach the bakery, but there were fun times to be had on the way (in spite of the unmerciful Vienna heat).
And yes, it was incredibly hot and sunny, so when we passed a shop displaying some summery hats, we stopped and Therese and Faith checked out the hats (I already had a good hat to keep the sun off my head). The proprietor of the shop, Dani’s Handschuh Boutique, was very friendly, though she spoke almost no English. After just two minutes of shopping, Therese and Faith came away with hats, and we were all just a little happier and more comfortable.
A couple of blocks further, we ran into the Graben, one of Vienna’s great shopping streets.
It is pedestrian-only, and right in the middle of it is the most gaudy fountain, with a Baroque sculpture at its center that is way over the top.
With all its twisty bodies, I couldn’t tell you what this sculpture depicts. It certainly is the only one I’ve ever seen with gold on top of it. Presumably the gold is at the top because that would make it harder for would-be gold thieves to get at it. Whatever was the rationale for the gold placement, it looked to me like a big gob of whipped cream on top of a dessert, which of course in Vienna is called “Schlagobers,” causing me to dub this the Fountain with the Schlagobers.
Just north of the Graben is St. Peter’s Church, which was what drew me in this direction (the ladies loved window shopping at the many shops on the Graben). This is known for being one of the oldest churches in Vienna, but also one of the most beautiful Baroque transformations.
When we entered the church, there was an organ recital in progress, so we didn’t want to do too much wandering around in search of excellent photo angles. Instead, we found a seat in a pew, and listened to the rest of the recital. We did get to appreciate the incredible ceiling of the church, as well as the wonderful music (I believe there was one of Charles-Marie Widor‘s incredible organ symphonies included, as well as some other equally impressive pieces).
From the west end of the Graben, it is just a couple of blocks to the “Am Hof” square, and at the northest corner of the square is a small street called Drahtgasse. On the right, just as you enter the street, is the Simply Raw Bakery, what is for me one of the culinary treasures of Vienna.
I have spoken many times before how desserts can be the hardest thing to find dairy free. So when I encounter a shop like this one where I can eat every dessert in the place, that is like a little heaven. And Simply Raw Bakery is definitely more than a little like heaven. I enjoyed the cupcake pictured at the top of this post immensely. And then I bought a variety of chocolate truffles, something that is very very hard to find dairy free, to take back to the hotel with us for later. Therese had an iced coffee (with coconut milk, not really her favorite) and Faith had a green juice (rather too healthy to classify as dessert if you ask me), and I drank an iced mint tea to go with my cupcake. There were many other incredible concoctions in their display case that I would’ve loved to try as well, like a fruit pie that looked scrumptious.
We sat and relaxed and enjoyed our refreshment, feeling that perhaps the heat was finally starting to abate – it certainly didn’t hurt that we were sitting in the shade. That brought us to our afternoon break time, and we felt like we had certainly earned a nap, or just a quiet time in our air conditioned hotel rooms.
Ruprechtskirche is open to the public a couple hours a day, and honestly, it is so tiny that there is not much to see inside. But we were not there to tour the church – we were there to attend a concert, one of the Alte Musik in St. Ruprecht series. You may know that I am a great lover of Early Music. Well, Faith had expressed the hope that we could hear some good music while in Vienna, and this seemed to be the best opportunity. We attended a concert of Baroque music for 2 flutes and continuo, commemorating the 400th anniversary of the death of King Louis the fourteenth of France, nicknamed the Sun King.
The church was pretty stifling inside, which meant that I at times found it hard not to drift off to sleep. But somehow the musicians managed to defy the conditions, and produce incredibly beautiful music.
Afterward, we crossed the street, and ate dinner on the terrace at Salzamt. So named because the salt taxing authority of the Habsburg empire was located there in the nineteenth century, it is a typical Viennese cafe/bistro. I managed to have there, for the first time, Wiener schnitzel!
I enjoyed the schnitzel. My one complaint is that there wasn’t too much in the way of sauce or dip. Yes, they gave me a slice of lemon to squeeze over it, but I would’ve liked some mustard or lingonberry jam or something, just to give it a little more variety.
After this lovely dinner finishing off this incredibly full third day in Vienna, we walked back to the bus stop in the Hoher Markt, and enjoyed an easy bus ride back to the area of our hotel. We had enjoyed what were three nearly perfect days in Vienna, and there was more wonderful enjoyment to come.