Simply Raw Bakery, Vienna

There are the obvious places in Vienna where it’s easy to get something to meet your dietary needs: looking at you Hard Rock and TGI Fridays – they do good food, are extremely well up on cross- contamination and were well aware of how to adapt meals to meet our needs.

However, one of the big stand out places on our visit wasn’t one of the big chains but a little café called Simply Raw Bakery.

“A cute little vintage café which only held around five tables, plus bar seating. This meant it was cosy, although it never felt cramped, even when it was full. Tea was served in little teapots and the clink of china filled the spaces between the chatter.

The breakfasts were amazing – tasty porridge with fruit was my favourite – I didn’t know that porridge could taste so good!!!

+ Cater for Gluten Free, Dairy Free and no refined sugar

+ Beautiful decor

+ Wood-burning stove keeps things toasty on cold Vienna days

+ Amazing food – everything was gorgeous and very filling

– A little expensive – but perfect for a treat!

Walking Tour of Vienna

When on a short city break, it can sometimes feel like you are trying to cram everything in. One of the best ways of seeing a lot in a short space of time is to take a walking tour.

Luckily, on our trip to Vienna, the hotel was offering a free walking tour of the city and we decided to make the most of it. When picking a tour, I like to look for ones that don’t just visit the popular tourist spots; I can do that perfectly well on my own. Instead, I like to pick tours that offer something a little different, usually places that are just off the beaten path. The free tour we joined was just the ticket as it was centred around the Jewish quarter and surrounding areas, slightly out of the main shopping areas.

We spent a couple of hours hearing tales of historical sites down the twisty streets next to the Danube. The architecture was incredible, often showing glimpses of the changes made to buildings across the years: Art Deco, Baroque and Gothic in places, splattered with an array of Roman style statues.

Stories of bar tenders who were so drunk they were mistaken for Plague victims and thrown into mass graves, visits to the places Mozart studied and incredibly ornate churches behind plain wooden doors: the tour was excellent and gave a sense of Vienna’s history.

As this tour took place on the coldest day of our trip in Vienna, we rounded off the morning with a hot drink in a toasty café. Once we’d suitably warmed up, we were off again; this time making up our own little tour locations as we found out way back towards the Danube.

Crosswalks and City Vibes

It’s funny what you notice when you travel. The sights, the food, the smells, the people (not necessarily in that order!). One of the things that you would think would be universal across the world is the way that we cross the road. Spoiler alert: it isn’t!

I’ve started to become quite tuned in to crossing habits – or at least the crossing signs and sounds that facilitate them. It sounds really nerdy and I apologise for that, however I’m starting to believe that you can learn a lot about different cities by their road-crossing habits.

New York for example: no jay walking and no messing about. They have huge traffic lights, clearly marked crossings and timers that count down the time you have left to cross. It’s perfect for the no nonsense city of Manhattan. They also have ‘diagonal crosswalks’ – getting you from one side of the road to another in the most effective way – the Big Apple has busy people so it makes sense that the crosswalks get you from place ‘A’ to place ‘B’ as quickly as possible. They also use the visual symbols of a red hand for stop and a green man for go – just to keep everyone clear.

Being from the UK, it became a game on our last trip to New York to see which crosswalk would ‘turn green’ to get us to our route the fastest. Let’s face it; we are haphazard and disorganised in England, sometimes we have crossing guards or pedestrian crossings to help us get across the road, but most of the time we take our life in our hands and just cross wherever – we are rebels when it comes to jay-walking!

Vancouver crossings? They use the same visual imagery as those in the USA, however they are accompanied by a chirping bird sound to help those with visual impairments become aware of the safe times to cross.

We stayed in a busy area of Vancouver on our trip and the first morning I was amazed by how much bird-song I could hear until I made my first trip on foot around the city and realised that I was listening to the crossing sounds rather than actual birds. It’s a beautiful way of making something functional also sound natural. Perfectly at home in the city that fits neatly between mountains, beaches and trees.

I thought that the Vancouver crosswalks had won the achievement of the cutest crossing with their bird chips, however I was corrected on a recent trip to Vienna. Yes their crossings have an annoying ‘click’ sound which is not a patch on the Canadian bird noises used to support those with visual impairments and yes I did complain about this multiple times (although it did the job, I could hear it really loudly though the wooly hat I bought to help combat the -7 degree weather). However, as I looked up at the visual display on the crossing, I saw the cutest crossing image that I’ve come across so far……

The ‘don’t cross’ sign was fairly standard – two red people stood side by side. But the ‘safe to cross’ sign; was two people, waking hand in hand with a little love heart. I loved it! A tiny little touch, but I think that it says a lot about the lovely people of Vienna that they took the time to add this detail. It made me smile, despite the cold weather!


Vancouver Highlights

We’ve been lucky enough to visit Vancouver twice and both times we’ve seen different parts of this wonderful city.

The first time we visited, we were staying with a friend who directed us to see their favourite parts of the city. The second time, we rambled without a plan, spotting new sites. It’s hard to look around this city without marvelling at it’s beauty and diversity. Here are some of our favourite places in Vancouver to spend some time:

Gas Town

Such a beautiful mix of old and new come together in this part of the city. Twinkly-lit bars and restaurants meet victorian style street lamps. This is definitely Vancouver’s swish older sibling. A great place for some chilled out nights or grabbing a bite to eat, we absolutely loved spending time in this area of the city.

English Bay and Sunset Beach

Exactly what is says on the tin, Sunset Beach is home to some of the most beautiful sunsets I have ever seen. We are talking deep red skies and little sail boats outlined against the sea – straight off a post card. I’m a sucker for sunsets and sunrises (as I detailed in this post all about some of the most beautiful skies we’ve encountered on our travels) but Sunset Beach still wins hands down for me!

Granville Island

Granville Island is reached by a beautiful little trip across the water by water taxi. Part of the fun is the trip, bobbing up and down in the tiny crossing boat and stepping off on to the pier on the other side. Granville is full of markets and shopping locations. The most colourful and exciting is the indoor market – full of food and trinkets to catch the eye. The first time that we visited here, we were attacked by the cockiest seagulls I’ve ever encountered, however, on the second visit we were left in peace, meaning that we could explore the pier in more detail.

Stanley Park

A huge wonder of a park, this was a great place for us to visit and relax. Seeing the Lost Lagoon and its fountain spring up through the trees was stunning and as we were visiting on a fairly sunny day, we had the pleasure of watching the ducks swim out on a sun-kissed lake.

Grouse Mountain

No trip to Vancouver is complete without a trip out to Grouse Mountain. Slightly outside of the city, the trip up to higher ground is well worth it. You can read about our visits here and here. Seeing the city from above is such a great way to get a sense of how much it has to offer. Mountains, sea, beach and modern city all in one location – take us back, we’re getting nostalgic!


Vancouver is more than just a travel destination for us. It brings up memories of road trips, new friends and celebrating diversity. It definitely holds a piece of my heart.