Vienna – Part II

as promised, part II on vienna – food! (: perhaps you’ve heard me mention this a couple of times already, but one thing i loved about vienna was its cuisine. MEAT!!!! in italy, i had such an overdose of carbs, that i was simply feeling terribly unhealthy and fat, yet rather unsatisfied because there was this gnawing feeling that something was missing. i didn’t quite realise what it was till i stepped into our first dinner restaurant in vienna. and *eureka!* i found my love. meat :D 
there is no doubt that Schone Perle (the first restaurant we went to) was probably the best out of all the meals we had there (: not because i had been so deprived previously (although that probably constituted part of the reason), but because of the quality of their food, and also the most-delicious-chocolate-cake-ever that we had at the end. *swoooooons* it’s been so long ago that i can’t remember exactly how it tasted, but i was completely melting in my seat as i automatically reached for the next forkful of cake, unable to resist it, and not wanting to anyway ;) 
(lousy photo quality because the place was so dark >.<)
we started with the vienna potato soup with mushrooms (€4.50) which was a lovely thick, warm broth that was perfect for the cold outside.
then came the meats! HEHE :D this was the home made sarma (cabbage rolls filled with meat) served with sour cream and boiled potatoes (€6.50) and it was absolutely delicious!!! the meat was super tasty, and it was nice to have the cabbage to balance out its flavour so that it wouldn’t be too overwhelming.
 haha i’m so terrible, i can’t remember what i ordered already bcos it was so long ago :P but i think this was the organic “tafelspitz” (boiled beef) with viennese potatoes, chive sauce and apple horseradish (€11). absolutely loved the huge slab of meat, and the apple horseradish was a delicious accompaniment to it! Tafelspitz is one of the specialties of vienna, so be sure to try it! ^^
another specialty of vienna which we weren’t a huge fan of, was the “Wiener Schnitzel” (heehee got inspiration for my doggie’s name from here :)). we ordered the small one for €7.50. it’s basically a deep fried pork cutlet, and since i’m not a huge fan of too oily food, i wasn’t impressed with it. we just ate it because it’s one of Vienna’s signature dishes. if you want to try it, i’d recommend that you do not order it here, but at the next restaurant below though! i didn’t try the version there, but almost every single table ordered it, and they were all locals! so i’d place my bets that you can find a better version there ;) 
aaaaaaand for the star of the meal!!!!! the “SUISITORTE” chocolate cake with mousse au chocolat topping (€4.50). this was literally the BEST cake that i ate during my entire exchange. it was so rich and chocolatey, smooth and creamy, yet not overly heavy because it was largely a mousse cake. it was so so so good. we wanted to go back another day for a second round of it, but couldn’t because of time constraints. wish jiayee could have brought some of it back!!!! haha LOVED IT ^^
Schoene Perle
1020 Wien
Grosse Pfarrgasse 2
Tel.: +43 664 243 35 93
the other place we dined at for dinner was a very traditional viennese pub, which was a great experience because we were surrounded by mostly locals and could completely soak in the viennese pub atmosphere ;) tried to order some traditional viennese dishes again, but i think we had little mix ups haha. but the food was still pretty good anyways! 
we accidentally ordered the fried egg dumplings (€8.70) when i think what was recommended was actually the fried dumplings with egg :P lol. so it turned out to be this dish that looks uncannily like our singapore carrot cake! :P 
we had the beef goulash (small, €8.90) which sam was absolutely drooling over hehe ^^ it was hearty, tasty, and meaty. everything you could ask for in a goulash ;)
also, the beef bouillon soup with noodles (€3.90), seemingly boring, was a hit amongst us! (: probably because we’ve missed the light, clear chinese soups we have grown up with – this was exactly what we needed! food for the soul ^^ it was simple, but delicious, and we were so happy drinking it! 
Gastwirtschaft Schilling
Burggasse 103, Wien 1070
Tel.: +43 01 524 1775
when in vienna, you’ve GOT to try the pork knuckle ;) it’s hugeeee! and one of the best you can get is at the Naschmarkt – look out for the store called Radatz. it was so shiok to just tear this apart and devour it :D 
two famous desserts in Vienna are the “sachertorte” and “apfelstrudel”. we got them both at Cafe Griensteidl at €4.10 and €3.40 respectively. honestly, i wouldn’t really recommend having these two desserts at this place though. the sachertorte is a chocolate cake, but from all the reviews from friends i’ve heard so far, no one seems to like it much. definitely not as much as the AWESOME suisitorte above ;) the apfelstrudel here was just a bit ‘blah’ because it was kinda soggy. i think they have better versions elsewhere though! so it’s probably a better idea to check out some other cafe. 
and who says only italy has gelato? ;) we found a super yummy gelato store with tonnes of flavours in vienna!!! i can’t remember what flavours we ordered, but they were all soooo awesome ;) it’s super crowded there though!! so don’t expect to be able to test the flavours. be sure of what you want to order and just go! ;)
Eissalon Am Schwedenplatz
Franz-Josefs-Kai 17, 1010 Vienna

Vienna – Part I

okay okay i’m finally getting down to it!! finally blogging about vienna. i’m jumping all over the place with my posts >.< but because vienna was in my top cities list, so i figured i should do this first. what did i love about vienna? the FOOD, for one thing. i didn’t realise how deprived i was of meat until i stepped into our first restaurant for dinner in vienna. and i was simply delirious from all the meat i ate :))))) too happy ^^ vienna surprised me with the beauty of its architecture. i guess i went there not knowing what to expect, and as we all know, having no expectations is usually a good thing ;) i was really amazed at how grand this entire city was. it was old, no doubt about that. but it was so well preserved. everything looked beautiful, white, clean, and magnificent. i stood in awe of the buildings there (and shaking my head at how poorly maintained the buildings in italy are :p) which were simply breathtaking.
anyway, because our super host jiayee did all the planning for us (thank youuu!), pardon me if i can’t really remember the exact places we went to xP i will try my best.
What to see in Vienna
the Museumquarter is a collection of museums in an area, which makes for easy visiting if you’re a museum buff. 
we aren’t really huge fans of museums, but we decided to visit the Natural History Museum (€10 adults), and i was pretty impressed! not with the exhibits itself really :p although they were pretty interesting! but i’ve already visited the natural history museum in washington, so it wasn’t really anything new. the museum is HUMONGOUS though! we really didn’t get to see it fully, and we were there for 3 hours :O anyway, so what really fascinated me was the beautifully intricate architecture of the museum interior! haha i think it’s kinda strange that i keep talking about how fascinated i am with the architecture in places in europe. i’ve never been particularly interested in buildings. but i just feel that europe has so much for offer in this aspect. because it’s such an old place in general, there is just so much history embedded in the buildings of each city, and each city tells of a different story (: 
we took a walk around the town area of vienna after that, and this is where i get slightly lost as to where we were exactly :P these are just the names that jiayee rattled off to me haha: Heldenplatzand, spanish riding school and imperial apartments. it was just nice to walk there and soak in the atmosphere, just following, and not really knowing where we were going (: 
for some greenery, the Volksgarten is your best bet (: don’t judge how bald the trees look – i was there at the end of winter!! it was beautiful anyway (: i simply loved strolling through the park, and there were tonnes of people there setting up picnic mats on this bright sunny day!
the Parliament House is just opposite the Volksgarten, and it was nice to just walk past as well! 
a rather unconventional place to visit would be the carnival at Viennese Prater (: i think the carnival is only there in certain seasons, but it is such a joy to see! ^^ 
i got my dearest schnitzel there thanks to my darling! <3<3<3 
we took a stroll along the Danube Canal, which is a really long stretch with bars and restaurants along its banks. so this is where the Blue Danube song came from!! quite suits the atmosphere doesn’t it? 
and now, for my two favourite places in vienna: 
Naschmarkt! ^^
this was one of my favourite markets in europe! loved walking down the whole street looking at all the yummy food and buying things along the way :D i heard that there is this cafe there, called Naschmarkt Deli that is quite nice!! but i didn’t get to try it though :( 
this is such an unflattering picture of this place! but the Schonbrunn Palace was definitely the MOST beautiful palace/castle i went to in the whole of europe :’) not that i’d been to many of them, but this was really majestic and opulent! and it was really interesting to walk through and feel the royalty in each of the palace rooms. there are a variety of ticket options to choose from, and i definitely recommend that you allocate enough time to enjoy this palace fully (: an entire afternoon would be great, but keep in mind that it closes at latest 6pm (depending on the season), so be sure to go early!
one more thing that you’ve GOT to do in vienna is to watch an opera/ballet! i’m soooo sad that i didn’t have the opportunity to catch one, because it would have been a wonderful experience! and the standing tickets are really affordable, priced around €10 if i remember correctly? the standing tickets are sold on the day itself starting from 6pm, but you might want to be there slightly earlier especially if it’s a popular composer! we were slightly late and therefore didn’t manage to get the tickets.
haha sorry if this post seems a little slipshod :/ it was so long ago that i can’t really remember much! :( will continue with a post on food next! ^^ 

The bestest memories :’)

hello lovelies!! ^^ i’m seriously drowning under this backlog of posts haha can’t decide what to post first and everything! i’m gonna do London really really soon alright! but since i just came back and everything is still fresh in my head, i just wanna talk about my top 5 favourite cities in Europe :))) it wasn’t too difficult actually, these just totally STOOD OUT in all the places i went to, and it was in these places where i got the immeasurably happy, ‘big-soppy-grin-spreading-across-my-face-uncontrollably, blissful in-a-bubble’ feel and wishing i could just stay there FOREVER :”) ranking them though, proved impossible, and so they are in no particular order :) except london maybe haha. i’m a fan ^^ 

of course! omg i really can’t wait to blog about london but at the same time dreading it cos i know it’ll take damn long >.< actually every place in UK i visited (glasgow, york and london) were beyond amazing :') where do i even start? the fact that they speak english? oh gosh, when you're in a land where everything sounds like gibberish to you, hearing a language that you understand is like the ultimate eureka moment! ^^ once i stepped on the bus in glasgow and met such a friendly bus driver, i fell in love with this country :))) the people are soooooo nice! :') 

okay, so i guess rather than london, to be fair i should put UK as a whole haha. but i guess london was my favourite FAVOURITE because of the number of things to do ^^ quite surprised and happy that i managed to cover most of the places on my go-to list! not the food though…haha. had so many recommendations and i’m super grateful for all those who recommended these places to me! ^^ but i would still go back to london! for the same places, but perhaps a different experience? maybe more time to chill, to pick my favourites (god knows how many there are haha actually it’s still a long list in the end), catch Phantom (which i didn’t get to watch this time!), visit Bricklane market (which i also missed) and eat eat and eat ^^ hehe. this photo just totally sums up my top-of-the-world feeling while in london :D yup london i<3you :))

(from here the list is in no particular order)
#2: Rome
i LOVED rome. and this silly picture is me throwing a coin into the fountain of trevi, promising that i will be back ^^ so many things to do, so many things to see! i wished i had more time in rome, and it was probably the italian city that i spent the longest in already! should have totally done exchange here instead of (BORING) milan -.- haha. sorry i’m damn biased against milan :p but i really think there’s nothing much to do there. 

standing in front of the colosseum was one of the most awe-inspiring events e.v.e.r. waltzing down the streets in the park at Villa Borghese on a sunny Sunday was simply exhilarating :) la dolce vita really :) thanks to rome, i now know what it means :) 

florence was amazing for its pretty streets and all its SHOPPING!!!! :D who says milan is the fashion & shopping capital of italy -.- why shop in milan when you have florence?! hehe. san lorenzo leather market is the best place to go for good quality italian leather goods at really reasonable prices! and don’t even let me get started on The Mall ^^ branded goods at SUPER good prices!!!!!!! 

in Europe, i understood the meaning of pretty streets :’) i would say that a similar theme of all my favourite places would be their pretty streets. i don’t really know how to describe it, but the streets of each of these places are just so characteristic of themselves! (: 

rome & florence are probably the epitome of the italian experience, so they are MUST VISITS if you go to italy! 

#4: Prague
prague was sooooo romantic :)))) both of us agreed that this baroque feel was something that we loved ^^ ah, it’s so hard to write this post actually! haha everything is really just based on the whole FEELING you get in a place :’) even though prague was so rainy and wet while we were there, its beauty still shined through. loved the artsy feel of it, like we had stepped back in time, into the world of Mozart, Bach and Tchaikovsky. it’s almost as if you can imagine them on the streets, playing for you, welcoming you to this magical city.  

#5: Vienna 
my dearest travel buddy! ^^ and a super nice host to us (: 

vienna was the first place i fell in love with in Europe :)) it could have been its food. it could have been its grand architecture (so old, yet so well maintained!). it could have been how well organized it was. it could be the fact that it was the first place we went to where the people knew how to speak english, and were willing to speak it, even though it wasn’t their native language. so many things made this such a wonderful place to be (: jiayee is so lucky to be staying there!! it was perfect. and i still haven’t done my post on it >.< yikes. haha. soon soon, as i've been saying :P 

so yepps! these were my top 5 favourite places in my 143 days, 8 countries and 24 cities :)