Vienna was on my to do list this year, and I had been longing for another holiday post-Rome, so I practically jumped at the opportunity to join a friend who was going to be there… for a day. The great thing about this friend is that he’d lived in Vienna for four years so knew it really well, and there’s nothing quite the same as visiting a new place with someone who knows it really well.
I arrived on a Thursday evening with the joys of EasyJet. I was a little worried about getting around as someone who speaks no German (except ‘one beer please’) but my friend had assured me that everyone speaks English and it would be easy. And it was! I asked at the help desk, the lady directed me to head out of the airport, turn left and go to bay 7 for the coach to Westbahnof. It was as simple as that.
The coach cost 8 euros that I paid on the spot, and the trip took about 45 minutes, with a stop at another station. I had already checked the location of my first hotel which was a ten minute walk away.
Hotel – Stanys Das Apartmenthotel
Luckily I arrived at about 9.50pm, I genuinely think I would have been screwed if I arrived after 10pm which is when the reception closes. The staff was nice enough, although this didn’t really feel like a professional hotel. Doesn’t matter though, as my room was huge! I felt like I had my own little one-bed flat from the 80s. It’s also lucky that I like the 80s. So the ‘apartment’ was very spacious, with a large living room + sofa, a balcony, double bedroom with fitted wardrobe, relatively large bathroom (completely tiled in blue) and a little kitchenette area with a fridge, sink and double hob electric cooker. It was basic, but nice. I was thrilled that there was a TV in the living room and fitted on the wall in the bedroom. There is also a tram stop a couple of minutes walk away. I’d say this was very good value for a spacious room in a convenient location – at one end of the main shopping street Mariahilfer Strasse.
My friend picked me up from the hotel and we headed towards Ottakring where he used to live. The U-Bahn subway system is pretty easy to follow if you’re used to any other underground – an advantage of being a city girl:
I bought a 72 hour (three day) subway pass that cost 16.50 euros. This includes the tram as well. I checked out the local Spar and had a schoko-croissant (chocolate croissant) at the nearby bakery while my friend sorted out some stuff at the bank. After that the tour began! We walked past the flat where he used to live and took the tram towards central. I kind of lost my bearings, this is also one of the joys of investigating somewhere with someone who knows the joint. I loved following him around and not having to look at any maps or worry about getting lost. He explained that there is a central district, and surrounding districts around it. (This reminded me of the Hunger Games, he didn’t get it) We went past the Town Hall and the Parliament building, and some other beautiful grand buildings.
We stopped at Cafe Centrale for a coffee:
This is a really beautiful grand venue with a really nice ambience. I had a double espresso with a shot of apricot. I was a little worried I’d be bouncing off the walls as a non-coffee drinker, but I seemed to be OK. And I wish I had space for cake at the time, but I did not. So sad. Apparently there is often a pianist playing as well.
We went in to the Cathedral in town.
We had lunch at a Hungarian restaurant called Ilona. I really enjoyed the food here.
We walked past the opera and Hotel Sacher in the afternoon, had a good wander around the town.
Dinner was at Fromme Helene, where I ate the most delicious roast goose.
Dinner was followed by drinks at Voodoo bar which involved a lot of sitting around and drinking.
I decided to go to the Zoo, I love animals and it was an opportunity to take my time without boring a companion. Fortunately I was able to take the tram 58 from my hotel directly to the Tiergarten. It cost 16.50 euros to enter. It was a good zoo, well laid out. I don’t have a major issue with zoos, but it did bother me that some of the enclosures were really small, I remember a particularly large snake that was in a really small enclosure, part-submerged in water. Oh well, I guess this is the nature of zoos!
In the afternoon I shopped on Mariahilfer, had a good look around. It’s a nice and spacious way of shopping. The best snack is the cheesey sausages from the sausage stands!
I was quite surprised that the shops were closed on Sunday! Fortunately I had no space in my suitcase for shopping anyway. I visited the Stadtpark which was very pretty but smaller than I expected. I enjoyed taking photos by the lake.
In the evening I went to see the Romeo & Juliet ballet at the Vienna Opera house. Fortunately I had booked this weeks in advance, as it was completely booked out the week before I went to Vienna.
This is the day I was leaving. I had a look around at the shops in the morning before grabbing lunch at an Asian food chain called Akakiko. I was able to take the coach from the station which was walking distance. Bear in mind that the ticket is bought in cash – good thing I had some euros left!