Sticking with the trusty Student Agency bus we made our way to Vienna, only to find ourselves at a bus station that was miles from anywhere! Thankfully Vienna turned out to be a relatively easy city to navigate (even in German) so we made it to the hostel (Wombats ‘The Base’ – yet another good hostel) in one piece. Because we bought a transport card in Vienna (the first place we really had to do so – €12 for 48 hours) we thought we should utilise it so we went into the city and caught two trams around the Inner City Ring, which gave us a great feel for the city and its layout. We saw the Hofburg Palace, Parliament (Rathaus), University, City Town Hall, Canals and then we walked into the area of St. Stefansdom Cathedral for dinner.
Naschmarkt is the place to go to fill up on free falafel with extravagant hummus flavours! This expansive flea market has so much to offer, and was so wonderfully cheap. From the market you can walk down Kärntner Straße (a pedestrian only street) which comes out at St. Stefansdom Cathedral. That afternoon we explored the Palace- very expansive grounds; we had to get gelato from Zanoni and Zanoni (one of the best gelatos ever, and not even in Italy!) to keep us going – but we saw the National Library (photos told us the inside is spectacular, but we didn’t pay to go in), the entrance to the Spanish Riding School, the Imperial Apartments and even some horses in the stable.
That night we thought we should culture ourselves by attending an opera at the “Wiener Staatsoper”. Rather than paying the standard €50 to see a Richard Strauss opera (by the name of Ariadne Auf Naxos), we joined the queue for standing tickets two whole hours before the opera was even scheduled to start. €3 later we had standing tickets for the Stephplatz Gallerie, but it didn’t cross our minds that we should have brought food with us as it would be a long time since we would get to eat again, and a very long time since we had last eaten. We weren’t allowed to leave, and so we decided to YOLO it and eat upstairs at the opera ‘buffet’. Came away feeling very cultured!
We decided that every man and his dog in Austria would be queuing to see the Vienna Boys Choir perform on Easter Sunday (although a must do if I were to go back) so instead we went to the Schonbrunn Palace (the royal family’s summer residence) and indulged at the Easter markets. The Belvedere Palace is the home of Princess Eugenie and was also stunning. Prater is a great way to spend an afternoon/evening – one of Europe’s oldest theme parks, with free entry, provides a great source of entertainment of all ages. A must do is the classic ’Wiener Riesenrad’ – a 65m Ferris Wheel overlooking Vienna (€9).
I also made a video, check it out here.