Vienna, clean, orderly and efficient is the capital city of Austria and is home to about two million inhabitants. I had the pleasure of exploring this city for four days. And like my trip to Venice there was not enough time to see it all. Though I did make sure to eat their wiener schnitzel since going to Vienna and not eating their local cuisine is like going to an ice cream parlor and not having ice cream.
It was nice to be staying close to a street named after me, Martinstraße. Maybe that is why the AirBnb apartment a couple blocks from the trams and the metro was a good choice. My host was hardly there and allowed for some quiet time to relax after exhausting days exploring the city. There was also a cheap and tasty sushi restaurant nearby. It has been a while since I have had my sushi fix.
Purchasing the 72 hour Vienna card for $20 Euro allowed me to travel freely through the city. The transit system is efficient and you can get practically anywhere in the city within 30 minutes. The Vienna card also allows for discounts at many cafes, pubs, museums and retailers. The savings can be realized after your fourth beer and a trip your second museum. One place even offered a free small beer though my proceeding shot of rum was more like a quarter shot hidden in two ice cubes. I had to go to the bartender to tell her to make it properly.
- The Schonbrunn Palace complete with its 1440 rooms, gardens, mini zoo and maze. The palace audio tour took about an hour. It takes a better part of the day to see the palace grounds and it is best to go when it is not too hot since you will be outside for a considerable time to explore it. You can even take a break at their outdoor cafe-restaurant to enjoy a tasty cool beverage or coffee.
- The Sigmund Freud Museum is housed in the very apartment where Freud lived and worked for over forty years. I almost picked up a souvenir coffee mug that had “Superego” on it, ha ha. And next door to the museum is Europe’s largest psychoanalytic research library.
- The unique architecture of the residential building Hundertwasserhaus. There is also a Toilet of Modern Art that I did not go in to see as it looked like a tourist-trap; it was 1/2 Euro through a turnstile and those who did enter left after a minute.
- The Donauturm (Danube Tower) and its observation deck provides a wonderful view of the city. There is also a slowly revolving restaurant (like the CN Tower in Toronto) and bungee jump platform. Around the tower is a large park so you can have a relaxing walk through, lounge on the grass, play football or have your kids enjoy the playgrounds scattered throughout.
- The Narrenturm (Fool’s Tower) – Visiting a building that used to house mental patients behind barred doors and is now home to the Federal Pathologic-Anatomical Museum was a unique choice. In the museum you can find abnormal animal and human body parts preserved in formaldehyde as well as antique medical devices. Expect to be grossed out during the visit.
It’s A Small World After All
During my 14 hour bus trip from Istanbul to Athens there was a passenger on the bus from Japan who was staying a few blocks from me in Athens. When the bus arrived in the city we worked together on navigating the metro to get to our respective places. Then we went our separate ways.
So when I took a sea-route to Venice and overnight to train to Vienna I surprisingly bumped into him again. He was at the bus station about to board a bus to Bratislava while I was there to purchase my ticket to Prague.
My AirBnb apartment booking ended the day before my scheduled bus departure to Prague. So I decided to tough it out and hang out at the main train terminal overnight with other weary travelers. I wanted the opportunity to spend a few more hours in Vienna and to test how good I can be with little or no sleep. It was fun…and I had good WiFi.
Overall I did enjoy my time in Vienna. There is good mix of things to see and do for any type of traveler.