Traditional Viennese Cuisine!

If you are looking for rich culture and decadent entertainment you can’t go far wrong with a coach trip to Vienna.

From Mozart, Beethoven, Schubert and Brahms to Sigmund Freud, this wonderful ‘City of Music’ and ‘City of Dreams’ has seen them all!

 

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However, the icing on the cake, so to speak, is the absolutely delicious and mouthwatering cuisine that the Viennese have to offer!

 

Wiener Schnitzel

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Vienna is well known for its Wiener Schnitzel, a cutlet of pork or veal that is first pounded flat, then coated in flour, egg and breadcrumbs, and fried in butter. The trick is apparently to keep as much air between the meat and coating to produce a wonderfully succulent taste. It is widely available in restaurants all over Vienna and compared to a truly delicious comfort food – yum.

 

Sausages

Another rather tasty food that the Viennese love is the noble sausage. From Frankfurters, Burenwurst and Käsekrainer to the wonderfully sounding Bratwurst, sausages can be bought from many street vendors in Vienna together with bread rolls and their traditional condiment of mustard.

 

Apple strudel

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Apple strudel is one of the best known Austrian deserts and consists of an oblong shaped strudel pastry jacket containing a delicious filling of apple, sugar, cinnamon, raisins and bread crumbs inside. The recipe dates back to as early as 1696 and gained popularity in the 18th century. It is now considered one of the national dishes of Austria.

 

Sachertorte

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Sachertorte is a delicately moist chocolate cake with apricot jam created by the Sacher Hotel in Vienna. This world famous chocolate cake was actually said to be invented by the chef Franz Sacher in 1832 for Prince Wenzel von Metternich and first served at the Demel pastry shop and later at the Hotel Sacher. It is traditionally served with unsweetened whipped cream.

 

Viennese Coffee 

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It could be claimed that Vienna is the “coffee house capital of the world” serving a wide variety of coffee drinks accompanied with delicious cakes and pastries. The coffee house experience is more of a social event than a quick coffee refreshment as every guest can sit for hours to talk, read newspapers, write, play cards, or just pass the time of day. The different choice of coffee available is amazing and the attentive waiter will serve an obligatory glass of cold tap water if you have a long stay. Although the Viennese coffee houses had a decline in the 1950’s, a renewed interest in their tradition and increased tourism have prompted a welcome return in popularity.

 

5 Things To Do In Florence!

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The two images above just about sum up my presumptions of Florence.

On the first picture, the gods seem to be dancing on this magnificent city, enjoying recollections of past events. On the second, the sheer architectural beauty cries out to be explored and feast upon.

Florence is the capital city of Italy’s Tuscany region and is famous for its glorious history. This includes being one of the the wealthiest cities of the medieval period and the birthplace of the Renaissance, and is widely regarded as the “the Athens of the Middle Ages”. It was also home to the Medici family, the most powerful family in Florence who ruled the city during the Renaissance era from the 15th to the 18th century.

Classed as an UNESCO World Heritage Site, Florence is one of the most visited places in the world, attracting  millions of tourists each year who come via coach tours to see the amazing architecture and monuments, and abundance of museums and art galleries bulging with Renaissance art.

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As a tourist, I believe my 5 main attractions would be as follows……….

1. The Duomo

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The most famous site of Florence is the domed cathedral of the city, Santa Maria del Fiore, also known as The Duomo. The actual dome was built by Filippo Brunelleschi around 600 years ago and is still classed as the largest dome built in brick and mortar in the world.

The exterior is covered in a mixture of pink, white and green marble, while the interior has a striking array of mosaic flooring. The only way to see the inside of the dome up close is to climb its 463 steps to the top, while also admiring Giorgio Vasari‘s frescoes of the Last Judgment (1572-9) on the way up.

 

2. The Tower of Palazzo Vecchio

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The Palazzo Vecchio is another architectural masterpiece which dominates Florence’s skyline, and literally towers over Florence at 95 metres high.

This majestic Tower is also an art museum, and overlooks the Piazza della Signoria with its copy of Michelangelo’s David statue and the gallery of statues in the adjacent Loggia dei Lanzi.

An interesting fact links to the replica of Michelangelo’s David statue. The original stood at the tower entrance from 1504  but was moved to the Accademia Gallery in 1873, with the replica subsequently being erected in 1910!

 

3. Michelangelo’s David

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Michelangelo’s David is a Renaissance marble statue standing at 5.17 metres and was created by the great artist between 1501 and 1504.

The statue represents the Biblical hero David, and was originally commissioned as one of a series of statues of prophets to be positioned along the roof line of the Florence Cathedral. This never happened, so instead the statue was placed outside the Palazzo della Signoria, and later moved to the Accademia Gallery.

Another interesting fact in regards to David is that during World War II, he was entombed in brick to protect him from damage coming from airborne bomb strikes!

 

4. Ponte Vecchio

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The Ponte Vecchio is a bridge which sits over the Arno River in Florence and is a truly magnificent piece of architecture that also houses an array of shops built along its edges and held up by stilts.

This wonderful bridge is known as the Old bridge and is also unique because of its Vasari Corridor, a covered passageway which runs above the shops.

The current bridge was rebuilt in the 14th century, and interestingly, is the only bridge in the city to have survived World War II intact because the retreating German troops chose to spare it in 1944!

 

5. Florence Baptistery

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The Florence Baptistery has the status of a minor basilica and is famous for its Gates of Paradise, magnificent doors found on the east of the building and created by Lorenzo Ghiberti.

The Baptistery is one of the oldest buildings in the city and has eight equal sides with a rectangular addition on the west, built in the florentine Romanesque style. It is crowned by a magnificent mosaic ceiling and decorated with majestic statues on its exterior.

Did you know that the “Gates of Paradise” situated in the Baptistery today are a copy of the originals? After five hundred years of exposure, it was decided that the panels were to be removed and preserved for future prosperity in a more protective environment in the  Museo dell’Opera del Duomo, the museum of the Duomo’s art and sculpture.