After a few days in Ireland, I headed to Vienna, Austria. I loved this city so much I can see myself living here. I walked 12 – 16km every single day during my 3-night stay. I walked during the day and equally walked the city in the night with no care in the world at all. I was also mistaken for a celebrity on three separate occasions. Until today I have no idea who I was mistaken for. Perhaps since I wore a muff, a scarf, a beanie and sunglasses because wow, 5 degrees Celsius is not a joke. Public transport works on what is referred to as the honour system. You buy a ticket and are free to use it on all public transports modes (Bus, train, tram, underground) and when you get on, you don’t need to show the ticket to the driver. You just get on, have a sit, and go on your merry way without anyone checking your ticket. It is amazing that there are queues to buy tickets that nobody checks. This was so amazing to experience. Of course should a spot check be done and you fail to produce a ticket, there are hefty fines. The government trusts that you’re an honourable person who will buy a ticket. I bought a transport pass and no one checked my ticket the whole time. It was just as cold in Vienna BUT, I never paid attention to it like I did in Ireland. I wonder why. This was my favourite of the 4 European cities visited. I would love to come back here in the thick of winter while it’s snowing and visit Innsbruck or similar geography. I’ve recently found out someone I’ve known for a bit comes from there and she’s invited me to join her for Christmas as she goes to visit her family and I’ll gladly oblige. So what did I get up to in Vienna? 23rd country ✅, 172 to go.
1. Schönbrunn Palace
This is one of the most talked-about tourist sites in Vienna. Unfortunately, being winter, you can’t really see the beauty of this garden. When I was there, it was planting season so you can’t really see the fuss but in summer, the gardens come to life as you can see in the last two photos (not mine). I still loved the orange / yellow autumn look of the gardens though. It is really beautiful. Getting into this site can be a mission and a half but it is very well coordinated and professionally handled. You can walk around the gardens for free and only pay to have a tour of the palace, which I did because curiosity killed the cat. You get a little radio and as you go into each labelled room, you click the number of the room you’re in and a story is relayed to you about the room and the lives of the royals who once inhabited this castle. I have no pics of the place interior because I do not fancy going to prison. The Castle also has a zoo and a famous greenhouse. I spend about four hours here and enjoyed walking through the gardens, albeit cold.
The Palace exterior
Pics from Planetware
This sqaure is named after Stephansdom, Vienna’s Cathedral. Oh my word! This St Stephen’s Cathedral is unreal. I cannot explain in words how stunning it is and as usual, my photos do no justice. Don’t worry, I’m working on this photos thing. I’ll get it right. First of all, this cathedral sits right in the middle of the city square. I was just walking around the city looking for a shop to buy a sim card and then boom! This structure just appeared. On the one side it’s modern and typical Europe cathedrally, on the other side however, it looks like a scene from a sci-fi movie – magnificent. They call it goth-like. I don’t know, to me it looks burnt and that’s the best way I can explain it. But man! I couldn’t get enough of it. Day or night, each time I walked past this cathedral I had to STOP. Touring the cathedral is also free which is a plus but man. Stunner!
3. The Burrgarten (Mozart)
Vienna is awash with gardens and palaces. You are literally spoilt for choice here. For a city, I was so shocked with the amount of greenery. This was the first garden I walked around on upon my arrival. It is also at this garden where you can see the famous classic musician, Mozart.
4. Belvedere Palace
When I bought the ticket to view the Schönbrunn Palace, it also gave me access to this palace. It also has beautiful gardens and such interesting stories and an art gallery, some of which we weren’t allowed to photograph.
5. Johann Strauß monumentthe
This is apparently one of the most photographed monument in Vienna and I happened to just stumble on it without knowing. I was on one of those hop-on/hop-off busses and this was the last bus for the day. It was evening and slightly drizzling. There was also a bit of traffic and it became apparent that the time the tour had to come to an end would clock before arriving at our drop-off point. So, when his knock-off time hit, the driver parked on the side of the road and told us that this was where he was leaving us since his knock off time had come and there was too much traffic. At first we thought he was joking, but nope. The guy was headed home and we disembarked in the middle of nowhere complaints and all, in all sorts of tongues but the man was done. Ok, perhaps hyperbole since we were in the city still so really. Big deal. Now I know we were at the City Park, but then, it was night-time and as a tourist in a foreign city, not speaking German, my sense of orientation was not with me. I traversed the park which was the first time I felt a little unsafe in the city since the park is badly lit, and there were a number of shrubs. The park is quite densely designed and I had horrible images of someone snatching me without anyone seeing anything. I remember thinking that I should have not come into the park but rather walked along the street. Anyway, as I was about to exit on the other side, I stumbled onto this gold statue that I remember reading about and that there were always long queues for photos. Well, at this time of the evening, I was the only audience. As I quickly exited the park, to my relief, the metro was right outside so I hopped on to go find some grub.
So who is this gold man? Johann Strauss is considered ‘the waltz par excellence’ (not my words although I wish they were – so aptly crafted). You can read here for more information about him. https://www.stadt-wien.at/wien/sehenswuerdigkeiten/johann-strauss-denkmal.html
6. The Prater
The Wurstelprater where you will find the Vienna Prater, is the oldest amusement park in the world. The unexciting ride on the wheel will be compensated by the 360-degree views of the city. It was a gloomy day for me with slight rain so, the views weren’t great.
7. Christmas markets
It’s a thing in Europe I discovered. A serious thing.
The Coffee in Vienna wasn’t the greatest and it was expensive. About €4 (R65) for a small cup. I saw a petite French cafe and took an opportunity to practise my French with the guy and felt I should at least buy coffee from him. For €3.50, it was worse than the one I had before. Honestly I wasted a lot of money buying take away coffee in Vienna. Other than that, I enjoyed langos. My first experience. I will have to intentionally write specifically about local fod when I get back to travelling because sometimes all I want is to eat and forget to take pics. 🙂
9. Random pics around the City
5th Avenue of Vienna