Spent the Saturday before last in beautiful, sunny, and cheerful Vienna, whose sidewalks are immaculate and statues aplenty. Very easy to see the high quality of living the city boasts across the news. Also convenient to reach from Budapest — just a 3-hour train ride from Keleti Station past fields, more fields, and some wind farms. Felix, Jaclyn, and I took an early train and snored the time away.

Travel buddies.

I’d already been through the major museums and sights with our study abroad group, so this day was for strolling, shopping, sipping Almdudler, and eating twice our weight in chocolate. There are two fantastic Konditorei in Stephansplatz, just east of St. Peter’s Church (which looks like three churches in one from the outside — have any of you seen all the nutty façades?) on the main shopping street. The first is L. Heiner Hofzuckerbäcker with amazing pastries, cakes, and marzipan. The second, whose name I’m trying to track down, has the best handmade chocolates and nougats that I have ever tasted. Their offerings were our dinner on the evening train, along with a loot of lokum and barazek cookies from the Naschmarkt. (Still working my way through those.)

Going from Budapest to Vienna is a bit of a strange experience — things get neater, brighter, cheerier, and grander too. A leap from the post-communist to the post-Habsburg. And with better beer.


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