I have to say that this European holiday was even better than the last one. This time we covered Austria in detail, and also a small part of Germany and Italy. As many of our friends and relatives on social media have been asking for our itinerary for the Austria trip, we thought that it would be good to post the itinerary through a series of blog posts, so that the whole journey stays memorable forever.
So we landed in Vienna on Saturday, May 13, 2017. It was pleasant and sunny during the day. Around the evening, it got a bit breezy. As we were jet-lagged, we did not venture out very far. Luckily, our hotel (Derag Livington an der Oper) was close to this market area from the 16th century, called Naschmarkt (which is next to the Karlstadt station). So we dropped our luggage at the hotel and walked down to this beautiful marketplace. As it was Saturday, we went to the flea market too! The Saturday flea market or the Flohmarkt was a sight in itself.
There were rows of stalls where one could see myriad old glass items, wooden showpieces, antique clothes, jewellery, watches, bags, etc. Shops with an array of antique-lookalikes were also there on the both sides of the road. We picked up a few antique pieces from there, after some amount of bargaining. It was lovely to walk around with the locals and explore this Viennese market.
Then we headed to the nearby restaurant area in Naschmarkt, which was a happy sight during the evening. For some time, we unwinded with an Austrian wine at one of the stalls, while gentle, cool Vienna breeze pumped more excitement into the evening. Few musicians passed by, playing their respective musical instruments, while we settled ourselves at another restaurant’s outdoor seating area. It was here that we tasted the Austrian dishes like the Tafelspitz mit Rosti and the Schnitzel for the first time. A Schnitzel is deep-fried meat coated with a batter, and the meat is essentially tenderised, pounded and flattened before deep-frying. It was served with a mouth-watering potato salad and salad greens. The Tafelspitz (boiled, tender beef) was great, too, which was served with sour cream sauce (Schnittlauchsauce) and a sweet and pungent apple-horseradish sauce (Apfelkren). the dish came with a generous portion of root vegetables, such as potato and carrots.
We found Naschmarkt to be a good place to relax and absorb the vibe of the city. We noticed lots of Graffiti all around. The shops were interesting, selling mainly Austrian, German and Turkish foodstuff. Cheese shops, meat and vegetable vendors, souvenirs, spices, precious and semi-precious stones, etc., are some of the shops which are quite prominent. We even found someone selling Basmati rice, tucked in one corner. Ardent foodies might also bump into exotic Mediterranean foods, such as Bottarga (salted, pressed and dried fish roe), which is prized in Italy for its distinctive flavour and texture.
From one of Naschmarkt’s famous bakeries, we tried a traditional snack: a sweet cake called Zelten. The Mohn Zelten (Austrian Poppy cake) was the best, where the stuffing was of poppy seeds. We also tried other kinds of Zeltens, such as those with the filling of apple and cinnamon, and those were great too!
In Austria, do try their dairy products. The milk and cheese are of high quality here. In Naschmarkt, we spotted the Tiroler Gold cheese, which is a speciality from the Tirol region in Austria. Tiroler Gold is a mildly spicy, rustic and soft Brie. Another great Brie is the Truffelbrie: Brie with truffles!
Naschmarkt is a place to chill out, probably with a glass of fine Austrian wine, if you please! They have a few varieties here. Also, try some no-bake Wanderer Schnitte, which is also called the “Hiker’s Fruit Bar” and is rich in dry fruits and seeds.
The adjoining Flohmarkt was equally interesting. Below are some of my favourite pictures of the Flohmarkt (Saturday flea market) Naschmarkt in Wien, Austria. Stay tuned to more detailed posts on our Austrian holiday!
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