I arrived in Vienna very early in the morning from the Berlin to Vienna night train, and felt pretty well rested. I stuck around in the train station to get my blog up to date and let the city become a little busier before my fifty minute walk to the hostel. I could have taken the underground but I wanted to get the lay of the land before dropping off my bag and exploring. What to do in Vienna? Travel by foot, stick to the centre and see all the major historical buildings and museums.
At 8am I wandered the streets in a nice sunny glow without it being too hot; it would later become 30C! I sat on the steps of a museum and charged my phone whilst I reorganised my backpack and double checked the address. As I arrived at the hostel, I remembered it was a hotel! Very nice accommodation for my Austrian stay with fellow blogger Ali who’d join me later.
As I set back off with a paper map, I realised this place was right in the centre and everything was within a thirty minute walk away. I had something like another four hours until Ali arrived so strolled to the Rathaus, currently hosting a film festival and tents with international food and beer stands, just three minutes from the accommodation.
This naturally led me to the historical feast of buildings in the area to the west. In Heldenplatz I said ‘wow’ out loud as I turned to see the impressive Hofburg Vienna building, which is now the Sisi museum. To the left of this, emerging from under an archway, is a stunning square. I followed this up by exploring Hohen Markt where I saw the Ankeruhr Vienna Clock, the Viennese Stephansdom and Schonbrunn Palace. In Vienna, everywhere you look is beautiful and fascinating, with architecture to rival any in the world.
Of course, I couldn’t miss the famous opera or ‘operen’ house, although I nearly did! Here I had a funny moment that I blame on nearly two weeks travelling; I was struggling to locate the building and stopped on some steps near people dressed as Mozart trying to sell concert tickets for that evening. As I consulted Google maps, I got up and walked around this building, a little way in the distance and then back again, before realising it was of course the opera house! D’oh! To be fair, nearly every building in Vienna is stunning so it didn’t stand out as obviously as you might expect.
Museum Quarter and Danube
I then headed to the museum quarter before looping back round to the Rathaus for lunch where Ali was waiting, after I eventually found him; he’d threatened to hide in the bushes but was instead out in the open, which made him harder to spot.
After a long lunch, we checked into the hotel and after freshening up, took to the streets where the heat was unforgiving. Taking it easy, we wandered through the main high street, listened to the cathedral chime on the hour, took a look at the casino (didn’t go in), gatecrashed a wedding, visited the Danube canal and of course with Ali, toured some well-reviewed craft beer venues. I forget the name of both of these but they were both atmospheric and the second looked quite traditional. Also burgers.
On our way back to the hotel, in the Museum Quarter an art group were performing and we couldn’t resist a look. Twenty or so dancers were jumping up and down whilst a DJ sang/spoke ‘the body is a brain’. We left promptly… well, fairly promptly after the novelty wore off!
A stunning city, I made the effort to venture inside some of these remarkable buildings and take a break from the sunshine. Seeing Ali was a relief as he was getting on well and not wasting away as much as his online photos made it appear! The hotel also had a lovely feature; a super old lift! I can’t see this being my only visit to Vienna or indeed Austria itself, but for now, it’s time to go and see some sloths!