Vienna, City of Food, Museums, Horses and Catacombs

Warning, food may yet again be featured in this post, along with symbols of civilisation of various descriptions. Why else would you come to Vienna?

We’ll start the day with Kaiserschmarren, a sort of scrambled pancake. And coffee of course. Then the first of the museums, the Hofjagd und Rüstkammer museum, basically the Hapsburg armoury. Exquisitely made armour at that for the elite, and strangely enough, their kids also, little kids at that. At the rates kids grow, the armours would not have fitted them long. Ironically the armoury also included early muskets and rifles, which spelled the end of knights in armour in the 1600s.

Now to a tour of the Spanish Riding School. This was founded back in 1572 by Archduke Karl II, another Hapsburg ruler. He had travelled widely in his youth in Italy and Spain, and brought back a whole bunch of horses from Spain. As traveling horses overland continuously was not practical, a stud was established in Lipica in 1580, hence Lipizzaners. This stud was moved to Piber in 1920 after the first world war. There was also a frantic rescue operation of these horses during World War II, watch the film.

But being summer most of the horses were on holidays, apart from a handful. I guess the tourists do want to see something alive resembling a handsome stallion like horse. I know I did.

Time for a revitalizing sausage from a stand. I had a decidedly non-Viennese, but still tasty, Curry wurst. But the beer was still Austrian.

Next back to the Hapsburgs and some of the shiny things they accumulated in centuries of ruling this area of Europe. No doubt the armoury may have assisted in this. The crown jewels, crosses, a carved 2,860 carat emerald ointment container, and numerous bits of coronation wear. Just what any emperor would need, while alive anyway.

Just up the road and a couple of blocks over is the Capuchin Crypt, home to the mortal remains of the Hapsburgs since 1633. As of 2023 149 Habsburgs have been laid to rest there, most in metal sarcophagi, with the latest in 2011. The Order of Friars Minor Capuchin is a religious order of Franciscan friars, and act as guardians.

Time to eat again. Apparently, a proper Wiener schnitzel is only made from veal. Anything else is just a Schnitzel made from whatever it is made from. Who am I to argue.

Singapore temples and more hawker food

A slightly more casual start today as it was going to be an easier day, with only 2 sights to be seen. The Buddha Tooth Temple and the Tian Tian Hainanese Chicken Rice hawker stand in the Maxwell food center.

Both of these are on the edge of Chinatown. Also within blocks of the Buddhist temple are a mosque and a Hindu temple I discovered, but my interests lay with the Buddhist temple and museum full of artifacts spread over its 5 levels, the most significant being the Buddha Tooth fragment discovered in a collapsed Stupa in Myanmar in 1980.

The construction started in 2005 and the temple opened in 2007. Most of it is accessible to the public, but due deference and respect needs to be paid with headwear to be removed in the entire building. In the section where the Buddha Tooth is displayed shoes also need to be removed. I spend a good hour or so wandering the floors

Across the road in the Hawker center it is a different story, although queues were orderly when there were queues. Staff at the 2 Michelin star Waku Ghin had recommended this venue as number 1 to sample the Singapore national dish of Hainanese Chicken Rice. It turns out that Anthony Bourdain had spouted superlatives about Tian Tian also. And Mr. Bourdain was right. The rice was flavourful and fragrant enough to be eaten by itself.

To explain the rice is cooked a bit like an Italian Risotto using chicken stock, and I am sure 11 other secret herbs and spices. And the Chili sauce accompanying the meal was tangy as well as spicy. My only point of difference to the majority of consumers is, I prefered the roasted chicken to the standard steamed chicken. It was worth the walk. And the wait in the Queue. And I hate queuing.

On the way back zig zagging through Chinatown I finally got caught in a tropical Singapore downpour, which trapped me in one of the shops. And yes, I bought something. I needed that little extra horse statue anyway.

Singapore Gardens and Food

French Toast. They had French Toast. One of my favourite breakfast foods was right there at the hotel buffet. You can pretend it is healthy with fruit and yoghurt on it.

Gardens by the Bay next to the Marina Bay Sands hotel planned for today. So another pleasant 2 or 3km walk through the steamy Singapore morning to get bayside. When you get there and all  the architecture comes into view you can see some of the attraction it holds to tourists.

The 3 towers of the hotel look like they have a luxury ocean liner parked on top of them. Then you have the futuristic mushroom supertrees that act as vents and power sources for the Cloud Forest and Flower Domes. The Cloud Forest I found well worth a visit with its layered plant exhibits and a 35 meter indoor waterfall. Quite humid but at least cool inside this huge structure. Outside it gets so hot at times that the cactus display has it’s own shade and cooling fans.

I gave all this a good looking over after a light lunch of real satay and beer from one of Singapore’s famous hawker style food outlets. After a few hours I retreated to the shopping mall next to the Marina Bay Sands hotel. No Kmarts or Walmarts here. And in contrast to the hotel it wa build into the ground by 3 levels. I needed to cool off prior to my special meal I had booked at the 2 Michelin Star Waku Ghin. It seemed I was the only guest for the early sitting. The Wagyu beef with yuzu soy and fresh wasabi was the winner for me.

During desert I got to watch the Marina Bay light show. Then to Supertree light show was a short walk away. It looked like an immobile fireworks on the 25 to 50 meter tall structures, a fitting finale prior to getting a taxi back to my temporary home..