Vienna; only a first-class train ride away from my last stop. Yes, sounds fancy I know, but it is no plane first class. I had chosen to reserve a seat on the OBB train. A popular company around Europe especially Austria. Before booking my seat, I did my research, read the reviews and weighed out the pros and cons. If I’m being honest, what I read wasn’t reassuring, but the good outweighed the bad, so I went for it and it was cheapish.
Everything was going great, my train was on time, it all seemed organised until; I got on the train. It was newly furnished and clean, but the trouble was, I was never allocated a seat. I got what’s called an open ticket, even after paying to reserve a seat. I don’t know why this would even be an option, but it allowed me to move freely throughout any of the first-class carriages and sit in any free seats. During this moment of confusion, I had many people helping me, but all the kind people became as confused as I was. As the boarding process went on, there was confusions all over the place. Families were split up, people paid for first class but were told they had a second-class ticket, the same happened for some business class ticket holders too. All sorts of things occurred and where were the employees? who knows, they weren’t around until the train moved. It wasn’t all bad, it was clean and comfortable, my fellow passengers were lovely and all so helpful, and I did have a valid ticket. The train was on time, a little unorganised and dysfunctional is all, and after all that, I did arrive in Vienna safely.
Once we arrived, I had a simple run to my hotel. Straight to the underground, two stops, up the stairs and I had arrived. I got to my hotel, dropped my bag and off I went to explore, whilst making my way to Zum Wohl an allergy-friendly restaurant. I had a traditional Veal Schnitzel to my exact needs, and it was huge. The walk there had me looking every direction, another country and a new culture. I spent my evening walking around and taking in a few of the sights and booked myself a seat at the Mozart Orchestra for the next night.
Before returning to my hotel I stopped by the store, to grab myself a bottles of water and snacks for the days ahead. It was like every other grocery store I had been to in Europe. First walking in all seemed normal until I turned around and much to my surprise; a man in full 18th-century clothing was standing right behind me. It was at this moment I knew; Vienna would be special.
I started my first day with a trip to Naschmart. I always love the vibe at markets, the hustle and bustle of stall owners, the visitors all walking slow and taking in what is around them. At this market, there is a huge selection of the same items on offer. Lots of fresh fruit, veggies and nuts. Oh so many types and so delicious. Dried fruits, spices and pastries. Nothing is particularly cheap, but the taste and quality are worth the price. Amongst the fresh produce, there were a few clothing and seafood stalls also.
Once I had walked through the market and reached the end, I came across the most stunning buildings, picture worthy. So, I reached into my back-pack only to realise…. I had left my camera memory cards in my hotel room *gasp*. So back to the hotel, I went, lucky it wasn’t a long or complicated trek back. I memorised the location of the buildings, not that it would be hard to miss them on my return. For the walk back, I needed food. I had not yet eaten and had already walked such a distance and breakfast was now pushed. I bought a bag of sweet and tasty honey and sesame seed coated roasted almonds. My mouth waters just thinking about them. This gave me enough energy to walk back to my hotel, get the cards than to the cutest little café called Allergiker Cafe. Where I had an actual breakfast and after a bag of very sweet almonds, I needed it. 9:00 am is a bit too early for that kind of food, even on holiday.
Once I ate, it was to the markets to find my buildings than to the Museum Quarters. When I arrived, I had no idea where to start, museums to my left and museums to my right. To say there is a lack of museums in Vienna would be a complete and utter lie. I just didn’t know where to start, I wanted to go to the Leopold museum, so this was my first stop. The ticket I purchased gave me entry to the Leopold Museum and the Mumok Museum. All I can say is Mumok, although popular amongst many visitors, wasn’t my cup of tea.Well, I can say I have been now. The Leopold museum was filled with history and insights to Viennesse artist. Paintings of people; clothed and nude, in their homes, outside and in battle. A whole floor dedicated artists, landscape and furniture.
After my bit of history, I ventured into the city centre. Packed with people, some were sightseeing, taking photos and a posing trying to get the best angle. Others were hard at work or on their way to work. Many were enjoying the sun sitting waiting for their food or feasting. A drink in hand and a few with cigarettes at their lips. No matter what a person was doing, there was no question we were all enjoying the perfect weather Vienna had for us.
As I walked between the buildings it was nothing but cheerful noise. The chatter of everyone blended into one, the police blowing whistles and the sound of sirens out on the main streets. You must to keep an eye out for the bikes and horse-drawn carriages. There was so much happening as I was walking to the next must-see in Vienna.
After a day of craziness at the museums and the city centre, it was time to get ready for the sweet sound of Wiener Mozart Konzerte. I have long had a love for classical music and have admired the sound and creations of Mozart. He is a composer that even those who have little knowledge or love of classical music know. Walking into Musikverein I was wide-eyed and excited, what beauty. I checked in my coat and walked to my seat. What a spectacular sight, so golden and bright. Paintings on the ceiling and the gold on almost everything that wasn’t painted. The room was almost filled, and it was little past 8:15 when the 18th century dressed orchestra came out followed by the conductor.
Once it started, I had goosebumps, the first burst of music filled the room. A spectacular room, that amongst concert halls, is considered small. But when sitting with all the people and seeing the orchestra, it felt large. When the music notes rang, they swallowed the room. The conductor always one beat ahead and the orchestra never missing a note. They had everyone in the palm of their gifted hands. Each move was larger than life and full of passion. The end of each song called for a loud round of applause; I have never clapped so much before. I cannot forget to mention the opera singers. What a talent, at the end of their pieces I was out of breath for them. I had no idea what was being sung, but they were so animated and so talented it didn’t matter, I was in awe and entertained. The orchestra, the singers and the conductor gave the most incredible performance. Beautiful pieces and entertainment that only makes you smile. My favourite concert to date.
After a late night the night before, my second day was off to a late start, but I need not worry because the days are long here. Today’s first adventure was to the Museum Hundertwasser. A quirky exterior and interior, it is not your average building. The use of different materials on the walls and floors and the added touch of uneven flooring created an artsy and imaginative feel. Hundertwasser said the reason behind the floor is; “The flat floor is an invention of the architects. It fits engines – not human beings” “The uneven floor becomes a becomes a symphony, a melody for the feet”. “It is good to walk on uneven floors and regain our human balance”. The exhibition was mind opening and insightful to another way of life.
The rest of my day consisted of food at the most deliciously gorgeous, in both design and food, Simply Raw Bakery. Followed by more food at Ostermarkt, another Easter market and it is safe to say, Easter is now in full swing. Also, I had the best gluten-free ginger biscuit with a lemon drizzle of my life. Argh, I need to stop thinking about them; I ate my whole bag in one day, what dangerous purchase that was.
I then went to St. Stephens Cathedral and St. Peters Catholic Church, where I lit a candle and took a moment to think. Although I am not Catholic, I am spiritual, and I love the sentiment behind the candle lighting. As I do with many religious customs.
Day two was closing and so far, Vienna was giving the goods.
The third and final day before Poland. What to do, what to do…… Still so much to see, priorities, prioritise.
The Vienna sun was shining and intense. Finally, t-shirt weather, I am already so over the puffer jacket and scarfs. My day began with breakfast, a quick walk around the town centre again before a short train ride out to the Prater. A free amusement park located in your average park, the entry is free but of course, the rides come at a cost. I didn’t go on really any of the rides like I usually would, it is moments like these I wish I was travelling with people. Although I did go on the Wiener Reisenrad. A famous ferries wheel in Vienna, with a view for miles and a birdseye view of the park.
After, the thrill of the park I went to the Sissi Museum in the Hofburg Palace for one last bit of Vienna’s history. The museum began with all the beautiful items in the palace, before turning our focus to Empresses Elisabeth of Austria and Queen of Hungary. We got the inside look into what made her so fascinating within the European history of royals. Her jewels, her clothing, diary entries and her home. Although invasive, I love the feeling of walking in places where I know so much history happened.
Also, the more travel and the more castles and museums I visit, the more I am weirded out by how incestual these royals are.
Vienna was wonderful and not what I expected. I will be back and next time, more concerts are in order. Next stop, Krakow, Poland. I am looking forward to this one, stay tuned.