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Yes, I Went To Vienna to Watch Beach Volleyball with Austrian Airlines
If you had asked me two months ago if I would be writing about spending my birthday at a beach volleyball tournament in Vienna, of all places, I wouldn’t have believed you.
I mean, when I think about Vienna, I think about opera and classical music and art. I think about three-layered lattes and chocolate cakes laced with apricot jam. Sports don’t even enter my mind — or if it does, it’s hiking and skiing — and besides, Austria is a landlocked country! What beach is this, anyway?!
And that’s where I learned I was wrong. Austrians, it turns out, are fiends for beach volleyball. In fact, the Beach Major Series comes to Vienna each summer!
Austrian Airlines is a sponsor of the Beach Major Series’s tournament in Vienna and they invited me to attend the event, spend time in the city, and fly both ways on their airline, once in business class, once in premium economy. I invited my frequent travel buddy Cailin to join me and we were off to Vienna!
Vienna is Always a Good Decision
I’ve been to Vienna twice before this trip, and I always enjoy visiting. Vienna has an elegance and grandeur to its buildings, and I adore the Viennese coffeehouse tradition.
Cailin has been to Vienna before, too, so we didn’t feel the pressure to go hardcore sightseeing. And it’s just as well — Vienna is a wonderful place to wander.
And as someone who lives for her daily coffee break, I couldn’t resist diving into Vienna’s legendary cafes!
If there’s any one cafe that you want to visit, make it Demel — it’s super-popular and touristy, but the cakes are stupendous. To my surprise, my favorite was the fruit tart. Juicy berries on top of sweet custard in a flaky crust.
But if your tastes tend to be more savory than sweet, be sure to try the most Viennese snack of all — käsekrainer. It’s a sausage with cheese running through it, served with lots of mustard and shaved horseradish.
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While my Austrian friends joke that it’s what they eat during a long night of drinking, I would have it any time of day!
And if you’ve been to a city a few times already, it’s always nice to check out some new spots. This time we went to Grinzing, a magnificent neighborhood on the northwest outskirts of the city. It’s so different from the white-and-gray city center — it looks and feels like a village!