Easter’s Trip: Krakow, Vienna & Venice (Pt. 2)
(Reading: 8 minutes) / Photography: Ricardo Mendoza & Andrea Ochoa
Hello loves! I hope you’re doing fine! This week I realized that (sadly) this is my last month in Prague. Meanwhile, I will share with you the second part of my Easter’s Trip: Vienna and Venice, I hope you enjoy it!
Roadtrip: From Krakow to Vienna
It may seem a bit strange, but I think a lot of my favorite trips have been roadtrips. And from Krakow to Vienna, we decided to take the A4 highway, which runs through the Czech Republic and Slovakia, direct to Austria. I must say that I fell in love with the country landscapes in Poland, what a beauty! Not to mention the wine region just before arriving to Vienna: Poysdorf, a small Austrian town whose specialty is red wine, a must!
Once we got to Vienna, the first thing we did was walk on the avenue Opernring, to appreciate one of the most famous operas in the world: the Wiener Staatsoper.
Later on, we decided to go for a few drinks to Albertina Passage: right next to the opera is this restaurant bar with vintage style and live jazz music, such a nice place! I recommend you try the Passion Martini, just great!
Address: Opernring / Operngasse, 1010 Wien, Austria.
The following day, after the typical Austrian breakfast, we went back to the Opera, but this time to pick up the tickets of the later work we would attend: Parsifal of the famous composer Richard Wagner, in charge of the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra.
This 1860 building of the Viennese architects Eduard van der Nüll and August Sicard von Sicardsburg – originally neo-Renaissance – was rebuilt almost entirely after World War II, but retained the original design of the facade, lobby and foyer as well As the decoration in the traditional colors: red, gold and ivory.
The acoustics of the main stage is simply wonderful, because it is covered in wood. Whether you like classical music or not, attending the Vienna Opera House is a unique experience. Totally recommended!
Our last day in Vienna was a bit rushed: we tried to tour the most important spots in the whole city. We begin our tour in the Belvedere Palace, this museum of baroque and medieval art, to appreciate one of my favorite works: Der Kuss (The Kiss, in German) of the Austrian painter Gustav Klimt.
Then, we walked through the Opera to get to St. Stephen’s Cathedral. This XII century enclosure is one of the most important representations of the Gothic style and a symbol of the city, a must!
Just a few blocks from the cathedral is the old house of one of the most renowned composers: Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, so we did not miss the opportunity to visit it. Mozart inhabited this room from 1784 to 1787, and it was there that he composed his famous opera “The Marriage of Figaro”. This museum is a must for those who love classical music and of course Mozart.
Our next spot was the Albertina Museum – built on the remains of the Augustus Bastion – with one of the largest graphic collections in the world: 65,000 drawings and almost one million engravings. Due to the sensitivity of the works, these are only temporarily exposed. However, we were able to appreciate Dürer’s Hare, as well as different works by Monet, Picasso, Schiele, Delvoux, Jaques Louis David, among others.
After our visit to Albertina, we walked through the Burggarden, right next to the Museum of Ethnology and the Mozart Memorial, to finally arrive to our last spot: Café Sacher. This café, inside the hotel with the same name, is a true Viennese tradition. To start, we ordered Pickled Salmon and the famous Wiener Schnitzel, accompanied by Ottakringer Pils beer. And for dessert, you could not miss the classic Sacher Torte with espresso, a treat!
Address: Philharmoniker Str. 4, 1010 Wien, Austria.
The only spot we did not have time to visit was the Schonbrunn Palace. However, it seems a good pretext to return to this beautiful city, don’t you think?
The next day we set out for our last destination, but this time by train. We arrived in Venice just in time to watch the sunset.
I must say that as soon as we started walking from the station to the hotel, I fell in love with the city: colorful facades, oriental details, alleys, canals and bridges everywhere. And that is precisely the charm of Venice: the color of a city built on 119 islands that emerge from a wide lagoon between the mainland and the open sea. And although Venice was founded around 421, it was in the 15th century when it was booming as it was the hub of world trade and the largest port city in the world.
Undoubtedly, the best point to start the tour of Venice is the Piazza San Marco: this is considered one of the most beautiful squares in the world and is the center of life of the city, hosting the Basilica of San Marco, the Ducal Palace, the Campanille and the Torre dell’Orologio or Clock Tower.
The Basilica of San Marco was built in 828 to house the body of St. Mark brought from Alexandria. With a Latin cross plant and five domes, it has more than 4,000 square meters of mosaics, some of the 13th century, and its decoration is dominantly golden. Under the altar lies the body of St. Mark.
After appreciating the Basilica, we go to the Palazzo Ducale or Ducal Palace. Although originally a fortified castle in the 9th century, it was rebuilt after a fire and became a fortress and a prison.
It combines Byzantine, Gothic and Renaissance architectural elements. Inside there are paintings by Veronese, Titian, Tintoretto and Bellini, which tell the story of Venice.
Without a doubt, my favorite part was the Sala del Maggior Consiglio, in which more than 1000 people came to vote the fate of La Serenissima. In this room is “El Paraíso”, the largest canvas in the world by Tintoretto.
Afterwards, we head to the famous Rialto Bridge: the oldest of the four bridges that cross the Grand Canal in Venice. It was built between 1588 and 1591 with a design by the architect Antonio da Ponte to replace the previous wooden bridge.
To end our day, we could not miss an exquisite Italian dinner: pasta, pizza and red wine. For this, we went to the Da Rino Trattoria. I recommend you try pasta at the Arrabiata and the pizza at Quattro formaggio, delicious!
Address: Sestiere Cannaregio, 30121 Venezia, Italy.
Our next day began at the highest point of Venice: the Campanille. Without a doubt, this became my favorite spot, having the best view of the city. This tower of almost 100 meters of height originally served as beacon for navigators and as bell tower. In 1902 the tower collapsed and ten years later, they keep the five original bells.
After crossing the Rialto Bridge, we arrived at the Rialto Market, a particularly colorful place where fruits and vegetables predominate; although this time we stopped to buy Venetian masks, a tradition for the carnival that is celebrated annually in February.
And of course, I could not miss the gelato either. The truth is that in Venice, any place is excellent for it, but our favorite was Michi Gelato di Natura, which in addition to having little traditional flavors, also sells crepes. I recommend you to try the black chocolate, cheesecake, melon, banana and pistachio gelato!
Address: Strada Nova, 4454, 30121 Venezia, Italy.
Before sunset, we decided to walk to the Basilica of Santi Giovanni e Paolo, the largest church in Venice. It was erected by the Dominicans in 1430 and there are the tombs of 27 dogos that ruled Venice. In its interior are some paintings by artists such as Giovanni Bellini, Pablo Veronese or Giovanni Battista Piazzetta, a true work of art!
Right in front of this Basilica, we find a restaurant with the best view: Ristorante E Bar Al Cavallo. We decided to take a break to eat, so we asked – once more – for pasta a la Arrabiata and Quattro Formaggio pizza, accompanied by red wine a treat!
Address: Sestiere Castello, 6823, 30122 Venezia, Italy.
Finally, we arrived at Piazza San Marco to watch the sunset. And to finish the night, we did not miss the opportunity to attend a concert in the Chiesa de la Pietta: the Quattro Stagioni of Vivaldi in charge of the I Virtuosi Italiani. This Church I must say that I had never attended a concert of classical music inside a church, an experience in Venice! Totally recommended.
More information about concerts in Venice: http://www.musicinvenice.com/
Definitely Venice was the ideal place to end our trip. I fell in love with its bridges and canals, its vivacity and its gastronomy. A real must is to visit the “bella Venezia”!
Special thanks to Ricardo, for always being my support and making me laugh to die. I love you.