I’m in the midst of recapping my trip to Europe, you can play catch up here.
On the morning after Christmas we hopped a bus from Prague to Vienna. This was a pretty short bus ride, and the country side within the Czech Republic was nice to look at. Our bus stop was like a junk yard. For real, we got dropped off in this empty bus lot with chained fences, and run down cars. The only redeeming factor was that this junk yard had wifi! And Vienna had uber, whereas other countries did not have uber as a mode of transportation. We were only staying in Vienna for a night, so we booked our hotel through hotwire. You guys, stay away from hotwire.
The hotel was three stars but it felt like one. The walls were thin, the sheets felt like paper, and the shower looked dirty. However they did advertise free breakfast and by another happy accident the hotel was directly across the street from the train station that we would need the next day for travel to Budapest. We couldn’t check in yet, so we put our stuff in their “luggage closet” which was just a closet in the hallway, not monitored or locked. I made sure to grab all my valuables and we set out for the day to utilize the daylight.
Side note” traveling in the winter months was really hard becasue we only had a small amount of daylight each day, so everyday felt jam packed trying to fit so many sights into a few hours. In the following pictures, you will see that the sun is already going down, and it was only 2 o’clock.
These photos were taken at the Belvedere is a historic building that now houses Austrian art. It was originally built to be a summer residence of Prince Eugene Savoy, and has two palaces, with a garden in the middle. Vienna had such a royal feel to it. Everything looked pristine, and luxurious. We kept walking, and stumbled upon the St. Charles Church, which is regarded as one of the city’s greatest buildings.
In the courtyard outside of the church they were cleaning up a Christmas market. I can’t say that I was upset to miss another market, but I did think it was odd that most of the city was packing up Christmas on the 26th. I feel like here in the U.S. we really try to hold onto the Christmas spirit until at least New Years, but I saw so many people throwing away Christmas trees, and packing up lights. We also later found out that the 26th is a holiday in Vienna, it’s Boxing day also known in Vienna as Stephen’s day or Stefanitag. As St. Stephen is Vienna’s Patron saint, the day is an occasion for more celebrating in the capital. Because of this, a lot of stores were closed! I was really dumb and only brought two pairs of socks with the hopes of rewashing them as I went–remember I was traveling with only a backpack–well I needed more socks. We were not able to find a place to buy socks in Prague, but I had found Vienna had H&M, but it was closed for the holiday. Annoying! This was one of the main streets, super desolate.
Another side note: the whole trip, in every country we found places to be closed at odd times. I don’t know if this was just a holiday thing, or a Europe thing, but it got super frustrating.
When we set out for the day we didn’t have too much of a direction, just kept heading in the direction toward the river. I had watched an episode of Anthony Bourdain traveling in Vienna, so I had a faint idea of things I wanted to see, and eat. In a happy accident I found the sausage cart that he ate it and it was life changing. It was a cheesewurst placed inside a warm baguette. Seriously, to die for. If there is a reason not to be a vegetarian it’s so that you can eat cheesewurst. And salami. And pepperoni. You get the point.
Right next to this cart was St. Stephen’s Cathedral, and I think this was my most favorite building to view. It has been restored, and is considered a main landmark in Vienna.
After eating our cheesewurst, we found the river and walked alongside of it until we reached Prater, which is an amusement park located in the district of Leopoldstadt. While walking along the river there were so many walls filled with graffiti, and I just loved it. I know some people hate graffiti, but I kinda love it. I just think it’s great, free, public art.
Fun fact: this photo of the Wiener Riesdenrad ferris wheel is one of my most liked photos on my personal instagram. I managed to catch a good photo, right at dusk. We didn’t ride it, but maybe next time!
While in the amusement park we decided to warm up with some coffee and dessert. Something else that my friend, Anthony Bourdain, told me was to try sachertorte. It is one of the most famous Viennese culinary specialties, it even has it’s own day, December 5th. It was pretty delicious, spongy texture, with a rich chocolate flavor.
After this we decided to make our way back to our room. Because it was a holiday, nothing was open food wise, so we found ourselves the only patrons at a Middle Eastern restaurant a block from our hotel. I didn’t mind though, good, fresh food, with a side of shisha.
The next morning we went down for our complimentary breakfast. It was one of the best continental breakfasts that I have ever had. A great spread of yogurts, meats, cheeses, pastries, and fresh squeezed juices. I was so impressed that this came free with our room. After this we decided to go book our train tickets for Budapest. The lady at the counter was super helpful, she told us that you just buy a ticket, and then get on any train you would like since they left once an hour.
We decided to leave on the 2 o’clock train, so that we could walk around Vienna a little more. We threw our luggage back into that ‘luggage closet’ and then checked-out. Wellllll that breakfast that the hotel website told us was free, was apparently not free if you booked through hotwire (remember when I said to stay away from hotwire?). Did they tell us that before eating the breakfast? No. So we paid $14 a person for that free breakfast. I did say the breakfast was good, but only when I thought it was free. For $14 each I would have much rather gone to a cafe and chosen something I really wanted. Lesson learn, in Europe, ask before eating the ‘continental breakfast.’
The rest of the day was spent walking around, enjoying the sunlight, and taking pictures. We managed to walk through our last Christmas market of the trip (am I up to 6?) I don’t even remember anymore!
Next stop, Budapest!
Favorite Parts of Vienna:
- So easy to navigate. The city is broken up into districts, which made looking at a map super easy. I never felt lost.
- The food. Do I say that in every post? Probably! But seriously everything I ate in this city I just loved. I have dreams about that cheesewurst stuffed in a baguette!
- The city felt very clean. Overall it is a very pristine, beautiful city.
Would I go there again?
- Maybe? If I were in a neighboring city, I would take the train over for a day or two. I would definitely avoid it the day after Christmas, haha! But I think it’d be a great place to visit in the fall!