Wondering “where am I?” and “how do I get to my next point of interest” became a recurring theme in the few days I spent in Vienna.
After getting lost trying to find my way back to the Vienna Hauptbahnhof following a day exploring the city surrounds, I met up with my friend who had just arrived from Berlin. Our first task was to get back across the city to check into our hotel. We travelled on the U-Bahn to Schottenring station which has exits on either side of the Donau Canal. Naturally, we exited on the wrong side and were unable to find the exit for the other side of the canal. After ten or so minutes of looking like muppets trying to figure a way across, and after deciding that swimming across wasn’t a great idea, we jumped on a tram that went over a nearby bridge.
We then checked into our hotel and then immediately headed out to do a small amount of exploring and grab dinner.
Following dinner we headed to the Wiener Eistraum – a very large outdoor Ice Skating/Winter Festival – which was being held outside the Rathaus. Despite growing up in Germany, my friend had never been Ice Skating before and an outside rink on a slight slope made for a challenging learning experience. Within 10 seconds of both us getting onto the ice we had fallen on top of each other. After I got the feel for the ice I skated for almost two hours.
The following morning we decided to follow a suggested walking tour which was in a city tourist guide map. The route took us past the Cathedral, the Hofburg, and various museums, churches and concert halls. Along the way we discovered the Naschmarkt where we tried a few tasty treats. After walking around 6km during the morning, it was then time to try the famous Wiener Schnitzel for lunch.
Following the very big lunch we then continued on our city tour discovering the Wiener Minoritenkirche which houses a replica of Da Vinci’s Last Supper, the impressive Votivkirche and other old buildings in various states of disrepair. In the evening we briefly travelled out to the Prater to see the giant Ferris Wheel and the Danube River at night before closing the day out in a smoke-filled wine bar near the Bermuda Triangle.
I woke to rain hitting the windows of my hotel on my third day in Vienna. As the rain showed no signs of stopping we decided to head to the Sisi Museum in the Hofburg. After spending the morning walking through rooms filled with cutlery, fine china, and the Imperial Apartments we headed to a local Viennese Pub for lunch.
By the early afternoon the rain had begun to ease, so after getting lost again trying to find a U-bahn station we went to the gardens at Schönbrunn Palace. Both the palace and the gardens are absolutely huge. As the rain started to fall again, we climbed the 60m high hill behind the palace to the Gloriette which overlooks the palace and the city.
By this point we had seen everything we had planned to see in Vienna, and with half an afternoon and an evening left we headed back across the city to the Danube, rented bikes and cycled 6km along the river. Unfortunately, the point at which we decided to end our bike ride there were no places to return the bikes. After finding an open WIFI connection we discovered the nearest drop off point was another 5km away near the Hundertwasserhaus. By this time the sun had set and we were sharing the road with trams and cobble stones which turned the idea of a fun easy ride along the Danube into a bit of hard work. Finally we rounded out the Vienna adventures with hot chocolate and cake at a cafe near Wien Mitte.