Mothers and daughters can be girlfriends, too. Right? Add a dose of travel and you’re in for a super good time. If your plans call for a Vienna girlfriend getaway, we have tips from Barbara Grüll-Cação (remember her great advice about attending Vienna balls?).
Whenever I get back to visit my local family, my mum (72), my sister and I take some time off for a Vienna girlfriend getaway. We call it our girlies’ day. Here are our highlights to inspire your next female family trip.
Sunday Brunch at Museum of Fine Arts
Brunching in the company of Rubens and Tintoretto at the Kunsthistorisches Museum (Museum of Fine Arts) proved to be a sure-fire recipe for a great start into one of our girlie days.
My mother, my sister and I know and love the museum’s beautiful collection of old world paintings, antique sculptures and its grand marble interiors. Would food consumption at the Museum of Fine Arts be as satisfying as art consumption?
The Sunday brunch buffet is a feast: optically, for its location under the imposing marble cupola, at the end of the grand staircase on the upper gallery; for the neatly white linen tables with flowers, sculpted napkins and fine glass ware; and culinarily, for the delicate salads with aromatic dressings, variations of warm Austrian beef such as Tafelspitz, and Austrian desserts such as the pancakes with warm bourbon vanilla sauce.
Enjoy Sunday Brunch at Kunsthistorisches Museum between 11:00 a.m. and 2.30pm. Advance bookings required.
Watching A Strauss Operetta
In the past years I have adopted my mother’s love for operettas. While my mum usually attends classic operetta venues such as the Stadttheater in Baden bei Wien or the Vienna Volksoper, I found a more unconventional place for us to test. The reknown Cafe Prueckel on Ringstrasse Boulevard has a basement theatre that regularly stages shows and sometimes operettas. We watched Johann Strauss’ most famous operetta ‘Die Fledermaus’ (The Bat): A classic evergreen of the fine Vienna State Opera staged in a basement theatre of a café, what a clash!
‘Die Fledermaus’ was as great as ever—lots of catchy tunes and lyrics that have long become part of the musical and phrase repertoire of many Viennese. An absolute must if you want to explore the Viennese soul!
Shopping At Naschmarkt Flea Market
My mother shops at Naschmarkt every Saturday, so it is only natural she wants me to join her when I am around. We usually arrive at the flea market no later than 10 a.m. as the best pieces tend to sell quickly. I love Naschmarkt because of its Austrian glass and silverware, the quirky hats and the vintage fashion. My mother’s best friends among the sellers are the ‘lady with the handbags’ and the ‘gentleman with the gem stones’. Our collection of purchases over the past two years includes such highlights as two vintage crocodile handbags, a traditional Austrian Joppe (boiled wool jacket), two silver spoons, a vintage sugar sprinkler, a set of vintage 1/8 litre glasses, a decorative wooden painted horse and half a dozen painted decorative ducks.
Cookbooks And Tea At Babette’s
My sister and I did inherit some of our mother’s passion for cooking, if only a fraction, but enough to enjoy roaming around Babette’s lovely cookbook store and tea house. The small shop with its vaulted ceilings and hundreds of different spices and herbs is located in a corner of Am Hof, a large square in the old town. The shop’s vast collection of cookbooks includes lots of Austrian recipes collections, among them some English language ones.
The back room of the shop has been transformed into a lovely tiny seating area with Thonet coffeehouse chairs, bistrot tables, a giant silver tea samowar and homemade desserts on a side table. A lovely hideaway to sink into the world of tea, cooking, food and other important things of life.
A Day At Danube Lido Kritzendorf
Kritzendorf had acquired almost mythical status among my mother, my sister and me before we re-visited in August this year, after some 30 years. Called the Riviera on the Danube in the 1920s, the lido of Kritzendorf had created a tightly knit community of Viennese weekenders in their stilted wooden log cabins just off the river. My grandparents and their friends were part of it, and my mother often took our family out there to spend a weekend walking along the sandy shores of the Danube, taking a dip in its cold waters, relaxing in the gardens’ hammocks and going for redcurrant wine and apricot dumplings at the local restaurant.
Kritzendorf shows a tranquil setting of weekend family life in Vienna. Along with the original architecture of the houses and the willow-lined walking paths along the Danube (Treppelweg), it makes a lovely and unusual trip for mothers and daughters.
How to get there: by train from Wien Franz Josefsbahnhof to Kritzendorf Bahnhof (trains take 20 minutes, and go approximately every hour)
Barbara Grüll-Cação runs the travel site Vienna Unwrapped. Barbara has lived in and around Vienna for 30 years and regularly visits the city from London, where she now lives with her husband and two kids. On Vienna Unwrapped, she shares her tips of the best hotels, Vienna tours, places to see and things to do.