VIENNA – Austria

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I have always thought of only 3 things when it comes to Austria; The sound of music, Arnold Schwarzenegger & schnitzel.

So obviously I was a clean slate when we were on our way to Vienna. Honestly had no idea what to expect, apart from knowing it will be beautiful to look at, on account of the Architecture and history. The season was well and truly showing its Autumn colours so that was making for a stunning trip in.

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We left our comfortable diggs in Prague quite early, not only to save on being ripped off by the cabbies, but to make sure we would walk the distance to the train station in time with all that luggage!

By now we were in tune with each others travel irks. Enough to know that a stressful trek to our bus, that early in the day, needed to be planned and dealt with patience. If we were going to enjoy the entirety of the day…..without killing each other.

I remember feeling like I drew the short straw on how many bags I had to lug around at this point. One enormous suitcase, overnight suitcase, backpack with laptop & other junk, & my handbag!
So I’m happy to report we made it to the bus depot on time & in good spirits!

We went with a company that only operates from Prague, Student Agency. They were 25€ pp and we had touch screens in the headrest with 100’s of new release movies! Unlimited tea, coffee, juice and hot chocs the whole trip. AND that were brought to you by your very own bus hostess!

Bookers be warned– the only catch is they charge quite a bit for excess luggage/ weight excess. We ended up forking over €20 for our stuff.

20140628-211911-76751931.jpgAn extreme art instalment we found when getting lost in the city

We arrived later in the afternoon, and the weather was rather miserable, and quite a trek to our new Hostel. But we took the airport train and somehow found our way to the Meininger Hostel Franz.
The Meininger is a relatively new chain that has started popping up in Europe. New facilities and all the mod cons us new-gen backpackers appreciate. (Wifi, communal cooking nights, self service laundry, en suite, cafe and amazing breakfast) and all at a GREAT price.

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Tim was still on his last days of his come down from Oktoberfest. So due to a rough nights sleep on account of the coughing…. We rose late and played the day by ear!
Turns out the Viennese aren’t big on Breakfast…. Nor enjoying it past 10am…. So that made me a touch *hangry, which nobody wants, so we were forced to eat an all day breakfast that was over priced and left a bit to be desired.
This is where we were confronted again with people smoking EVERYWHERE, indoors, while trying to eat! I have not been convinced on converting to this type of lifestyle. Sorry Vienna!

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Clockwise from top: Austrian Parliament, Maria Theresa statue, very bad or very cheeky window dressing

We found looking for walking tours, or any type of tourism info, really difficult to come across. So we walked everywhere waiting for something to jump out at us. The youth tourism info office opened at 2pm so we killed time admiring the absolute beauty of the buildings in downtown Vienna. Seems we caught the place on the off season as it was a bit of a ghost town. No one was smiling. Hardly any shops were open. Then we realised it was Monday and nothing is ever open on a Monday. Pretty weird……

After meeting with a very helpful man, at the tourism office, we tried to find some interesting sights on our Useit Map…. But we were just too knackered. Called it a day & returned to the hostel for the communal pasta and wine cooking night!
It was meant to be an ‘everyone pitches in with chores so the food and wine are free’, but it ended up more like ‘the Aussies will do the cooking, the Yanks will clean & everyone else just drink the wine & dig in.’
I almost strangled the strange Norwegian midget, from our dorm, who kept trying to correct how I cook instant pasta……

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However, was still fun in the end, with almost everyone going for an impromptu bar crawl! That resulted in us making great friends in 3 American students who were from all walks of life but studying in Copenhagen! Hiya Girls if you are reading this! 😀
Thankfully my Norwegian friend didn’t join us on the bar crawl….

After being the only one awake early enough to catch the MONSTER 6€ all you can eat breakfast. I skyped all our loved ones and plotted a self guided walking tour for us to tackle.

Our buddy at the tourism office told us there are no free walking tours because its illegal! Still not sure he was being honest, but, how bizarre!? This is where the Useit Map had points of interest and suggested an order for you to complete it in. I tried to do some research as to have some quirky stories to accompany our tour…. For tomorrow.

Tim had woken up feeling much more like himself (surprisingly) & felt like checking out the Natural History museum, which is supposedly one of the best in the world. But we suck, and it was closed, on a Tuesday!

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So I had to improvise a walking tour- sans interesting stories 😦

We discovered the Stefl, with its beautiful tiles & it’s smothered by a modern day shopping district, which I found so surreal. I even bought a Stefl trinket for my necklace!

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I initially wanted to see the Freud Museum…. But after doing some research, decided I didn’t want to be subjected to such a moronic museum, no matter how ‘significant’ his place in scientific history.

Me: “oh, there’s the Freud Museum”
Tim: “you sure you don’t want to go in?”
Me: *Scrutinising the entrance*
Tim: “Do you at least want a picture in front?”
Me: “Definitely not. Let’s get outta here”

……. MOVING ON…..
The Roman Ruins in the middle of a busy intersection in Mickaelplatz.

The memorial for the Gestapo victims-….

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The ‘oldest’ church in Austria. Which is a completely quaint, overgrown in vines, little chapel hidden amongst modern day townhouses.

To cap off the day we walked to the Augarten, which was right by our hostel, and it was unbelievably beautiful!
It’s a local park, fenced off, apart from some few and far between entrances that all close at sundown. There’s wide open sporting fields, running tracks, baseball cages & flower arrangements everywhere.

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The Augarten is unique because it was a former base for the second world war. With a couple of anti aircraft towers and a bunker being the only thing left behind. The community opted to have it completely transformed to its original French style but left the indestructible towers behind for fear of destroying nearby properties and disturbing the supposed graves of 100’s of war victims. The tiny little cafe, that is made within a former bunker, and the 2 flak towers are all that is left of the war.
The beautiful sunset, with the tree lined pathways, and the tower on the horizon…… Made me love this place but I felt its eerie presence when standing in front of the towers.

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That night I was determined to find something historical, that no one had told us about, to discover for ourselves tomorrow! I learned about the Herzgruft , or Hearts Crypt, & Imperial Crypt. The Hapsburgs were all about regal preservation (which explains the inbreeding) and when a family member died, they removed the heart and placed it in the Hearts Crypt. Then the body went into the Imperial crypt. Creepy huh?!

So, the next day, we searched high and low, I had the correct co ordinates, but NOT ONE local knew what the Hell we were on about…. We found the Imperial Crypt but didn’t want to fork over €8 to see tombs. We wanted to see hearts in jars damnit! My only regret, in Vienna, was that we didn’t find the crypt 😦
We did however watch the famous clock tower & bought a pocket knife with Mozarts face on it. The darling of Vienna….

We ended the day at the Natural History Museum, snuck in as 27year old students!!

Top tip- if you are 27 or younger ask for youth prices wherever you go in Austria.

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The office suggested 2 hours to look at everything……. LIES!
We must of spent 6 hours in there. We spent 2 hours in the first exhibit alone…. We now know an awful lot about geodes. Haha.
But seriously, it’s a great place & highly recommend checking it out for a half day excursion.

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We went back to Mickaelplatz, the main tourist sq, to buy my trinket & found a Forever 21!
Walked the cobblestone streets over sunset and after too many blocks of walking/whinging how much our feet hurt, we found the most famous schnitzel place in Vienna, ! Schnitzelwurtz
This place is worth the walk y’all!

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I had been dying to get a genuine Wiener Schnitzel (Wien = Vienna in German) since arriving in Austria,
This place didn’t disappoint. The price was great value, 6.70€ for 2 giant serves, (refer to picture) taste was amazing and it was so fresh!
The only drawback was the intense cloud of smoke everywhere in the building (I know it’s Europe) it was more intense than I was used to. It put me off staying and really savouring my meal.
If we ever went back I would make a reservation in advance for the non smoking room…. However, it is upwind to the smoking section, so it is totally pointless anyway.

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We strolled home in the freeeeezing cold night & realised the city was only just coming alive, in the middle of a work week & at night! Straaaaaange place this city is.

All in all, there was some beautiful sights, amazing royal & religious history. Food was incredible but…..
Wish there was some tours….. Or more friendly faces.

Aufidersen!
Soon I’ll tell you about Zagreb & the most BORING city in the world!

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About mapofjo

I'm a late twenties opinionated nerd who likes to share my wisdom & experiences with like minded people. I've studied, worked & travelled lots. I'm an open book with nothing to hide, other than my secretly embarrassing celeb crushes....

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