Europe & UK
Austrian cuisine is known for its rich and hearty dishes influenced by its neighbours like Hungary, Czech and Bavaria. Some of the more popular Austrian dishes that we are familiar with are like Pork Schnitzel and Apple Strudel, which I am pretty sure some of you have tried before.
When we visited Vienna we were lucky to be able to sample a number of authentic Austrian dishes at very reasonable prices (I will explain later) So our overall dining experience at Vienna was a good one, just like how the city and the people are. Even after a year, this pleasant memory still feels fresh for me.
I’ve done my homework prior to coming and knew that Vienna‘s locally brewed beer is also a must try. Based on the hostel staff’s recommendation, we headed to 7 Stern Bräu, a restaurant and bar with an added attraction – a microbrewery of their own. Little did we know we liked the food and ambience so much that we even returned the next day for lunch.
The 7 Stern Specialties @ €12.80 is a melange of pork, turkey and chicken with green and white gnocchi (small soft dumplings) baked with a topping of mushroom sauce and melted cheese. Due to its huge portion this dish is meant to be shared between two people or even more. Taste wise, imagine the cheese baked rice we usually have at Char Chan Teng but substitute the rice with the soft and chewy dumplings. They taste quite similar actually.
Among the many cities I have visited during my Europe trip, Venice could be considered the least interesting one despite being well known for its tourism industry, which is why I am so reluctant to continue updating my Europe trip posts. Who wants to write about uninteresting things, right? But to be fair, our Venice experience was marred largely due to bad weather, as it rained continuously for days even though it was summer. According to the locals, 2010′s summer was the weirdest they ever experienced.
The two fastest way to get to Venice from Rome is via train or flight. For train Eurostar is the fastest option but it would still take about 4-6 hours to reach, and it is also the most expensive option. To save time, we took a flight via Easy Jet instead, €66 for two tickets and the the flight duration was only about one hour.
But note that this duration is not yet inclusive of the time taken to travel from Termini station to Rome Fiuminico (Rome International Airport terminal 2) via the Leonardo Express plus the bus ride from Marco Polo (Venice Airport) to Piazzale Roma (Venice’s gateway for land transportation) via ATVO Fly Bus. So in total you still need to spend at least 2-3 hours to really reach Venice from Rome. Also, be prepared to fork out at least €17-20 extra for the airport journeys.
By the time we reached Venice it was already around 6pm and the sky was still bright. The clear blue sky got us excited about the next two days we were going to spend at Venice. But sadly, the weather was only good on that particular day.
Thanks to the holiday season I finally have some time to update on my almost-abandoned Europe trip series. Continued from Rome, this post about Vatican City would be a short one and more on photos because the experience was akin to visiting a humongous musuem.
So there is nothing much I could talk about. Plus, I am not a historian anyway. We spent a total of three nights in Rome and we actually visited Vatican City (it is located within Rome if you didn’t know already) on our second day.
There are a couple of ways you could reach Vatican City but the best way would be taking the metro. I highly recommend you to see the museums first because the queue could get freaking long (see pic above, and that’s only a quarter of the entire queue!) So, wake up early and get there early, by 9am at least.
If you are really desperate to skip the line, you could take up the so-called guided group tour for around €20 a pax if not mistaken. We were glad we did not purchase the guided group tour, as most of them still had to queue at the group line.
Vatican Museums is worth visiting because besides being one of the greatest in the world, it also houses the immense collection built up by the Roman Catholic Church since its foundation in the early 16th century. Millions of tourists throng the museum annually.
Four Seasons Chinese Restaurant is world-famous for their roast duck and you probably already knew this because they have branches in Malaysia as well. And if you have tried their roast ducks either at Caps Square or Empire Gallery Subang I think you would agree with me that they are far from being the world’s best.
My first taste of their roast duck was a few years ago at their Caps Square branch and I never bothered to return (nor blog about it), as I feel they were overrated and pricier than the rest. But honestly, I have to say the Four Seasons at London is so much better – so much better that the Malaysian branches do not do justification to Four Seasons’ fame and reputation. What a shame, really. It’s like nasi lemak in Malaysia won’t taste the same in London too. So safe to say, you need to try the Four Seasons in London in order to appreciate the authentic taste of their roast duck.
Roasted Duck Drumstick Rice @ 6GBP – my most comforting meal I was in London because I missed Chinese food (and rice) badly. For that price it could probably buy you a fish and chips at a local pub, or maybe a kebab so I guess the price is justified. Plus, the duck used by Four Seasons is from Ireland and is visibly meatier, easily double the portion of what we would usually get here. It was very delicious, not without faults tough, as I felt the sauce tasted too sweet.