Travel in your own back yard

All photos by Uschi Gross

Because travel in most of the world is either impossible or difficult these days, why not discover your own back yard?  So many people are re-discovering close-to-home favorites, or even uncovering hidden gems they never even knew existed. Einstein said, ‘In the middle of difficulty lies opportunity,’ so I figured why not check out some things I’d never seen in my adopted city of Vienna, Austria?

This man sold the most delicious Arabic coffee. It was only a Euro and not crazy-strong like traditional Turkish coffee.

One place I don’t get to nearly often enough is Yppenplatz, a hip, vibrant square in the 16th district (Ottakring). It’s a great place to meet for a drink or a coffee, sometimes even live music, and is lined by some amazing restaurants. But one of its true gems is Brunnenmarkt, which abuts the square, and my lovely Viennese friend Uschi showed me around. (Earlier I had asked her if she would join me in doing something ‘different’, and it was with much excitement that i said yes to her offer to guide me around her favorite parts of the market!)

Featuring 170 market stalls, Brunnenmarkt is the city’s largest street market. It has a lively Middle-Eastern flair, and features fruit and vegetable stands, fish, cheeses, and all kinds of snack foods. You can find Persian and Turkish delights like fresh figs, dates, olives, teas, coffee, and on and on. And even in this trendy area, the prices are incredibly good. My friend bought some creamy Danish sheep’s cheese, which was just 3 Euro per kilo. She said, ‘Listen for the total,’ which was .76 cents for her quarter kilo. (I may have done the math wrong but she got a good chunk for so little!)

A mind-blowing selection of cheeses

We didn’t go on farmer’s market day, (Saturday) so it wasn’t as crowded as normal, which was fine with me. But apparently the farmer’s market is also pretty amazing.

These Turkish Pide were evil! Freshly flattened dough stuffed with egg, cheese and spices. I really can’t eat these but I couldn’t resist. Heaven! (Felt it later though).
These were offered in the same stall. The dark topping is thyme or Zatar in Arabic. (I think sesame seeds too).
We have a market right near us in our district, but the prices are like triple that of Brunnenmarkt.

There are lots of markets like this one in Vienna, but this was so much fun to visit, mostly because it was different than my usual one. Uschi really brought it to life for me.

You’ll be surprised what delights you can find in your own city or town. Challenge yourself to discover something new, or just look at the ‘usual’ stuff with new eyes. I can guarantee you’ll see it differently, especially in these days where we often have to make our own fun.

We’ve been eating these all of July and August. Oxen tomatoes. So ripe and juicy!


  1. So true! It’s amazing to find out that there’s more to see just around the neighbourhood. Covid makes us appreciate more of our own surroundings and help the community too.


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