We arrived in Vienna in the morning after taking the overnight train, then navigated the metro system easily thanks to the detailed instructions from our host, Dan, and the easy maps in the stations. Our train was a little late, so we arrived to Dan's shop later than we had planned. He is in the process of opening a coffee shop near his bed and breakfast, so we were a little confused whether we were in the right spot because his shop's windows were blocked with paper and we weren't sure if it was even the shop he was referring to. Fortunately, he came up to us on the street and welcomed us in.
Dan gave us some complimentary coffee (partly to test out his new coffee machine, we think) and let us drop off our backpacks. He also gave us directions for to St. Stephen's Cathedral, the Vienna Opera House, and the tourist information office and asked us to come back in a few hours when the previous guests had checked out.
Next, we checked out the church, which was far different from the churches we saw in Italy; it felt much more Gothic, reminding us of Notre Dame in Paris. We also continued on to the opera house, which was just a few minutes from the church along the main pedestrian plaza. We saw lots of people dressed in old Viennese clothing trying to sell tickets to Mozart performances, as Vienna was where Mozart lived and composed the majority of his pieces.
Next, we got some information from the tourist office, which was all useless pamphlets until you waited in line to ask for more helpful information, where they gave you some nice maps and guides. We walked to a nearby park (and eventually learned that Vienna has a ton of parks) and saw Hofburg, a collection of imperial buildings. We continued on to the main section of the city, which had a much more metropolitan feel than most of the cities we'd seen, with many expensive restaurants and clothing stores.
We wandered back to our room, which was being cleaned and prepared. We still had a little while to wait, so we walked around the area near our room, which we learned from our host (and almost instantly confirmed by looking at the locals' styles) was the Jewish part of town. We found a restaurant that looked nice and decided we would try to return for dinner. Next, we checked in to our room and researched Vienna a little bit.
We decided to go on a self-guided walking tour that was recommended in the tourist information. Along the way, we got to see a number of Vienna sights, but unfortunately the pamphlet didn't have very much information about each. To deal with our limited information about each city and attraction, we have started loading Janelle's Kindle with Wikipedia articles, which has been very helpful. Along the walking tour, we also passed a brewery and decided we would go there after dinner to try the local beer.
We returned to the restaurant we had seen earlier in the day, and the waitress was happy to see us again. Matt got the local dish Wiener Schnitzel (a breaded and fried piece of meat, in this case pork) with rice and Janelle got Huhnerpfandl (a pan of delicious sauteed potatoes, chicken, mushrooms, bacon, and onions). Both were generous portions and tasted amazing. We also learned from the waitress (and later confirmed online) that unlike Italy, a tip (small, under 10% and often just to round to an easier amount) is more common and expected in Austria.
After eating our late dinner, we walked back across the river to the center of town and stopped outside the brewery. There was a mass of people crowding the entrance (the brewery itself was completely full too), all trying to get a peek of the soccer game that was on the TV, erupting in a mix of cheers and frustration every once in a while. We waited for a few minutes, when everyone suddenly cleared out, as the game had ended. We made our way to the upstairs section of the brewery, which was incredibly hot and stuffy from all the people. Once seated, we ordered a 1.5 liter pitcher of their local lager, which we split while talking and observing the people around us.
After the brewery, it was pretty late, so we returned to our Airbnb room and went to sleep.