The hills are alive…with the sound of eight girls snoring on a train.
Our day started off very very early in order for us to catch our 6:42am train from Prague. After a nice nap on the train ride, we arrived in Vienna, Austria around 11am. We made our way through Vienna’s underground system since our Airbnb was a bit of a ways outside of the city center. Totally worth it though, the apartment was absolutely perfect for the eight of us.
By this time we were pretty hungry, so we decided to grab lunch at a traditional Austrian restaurant that was only a few blocks away. Our host had recommended the restaurant since it was authentic, and let me tell you it was really authentic – as in they didn’t speak English and the only thing on the menu was schnitzel. It was really surprising that this of all places was where we had the worst language barrier all trip. We each ended up getting served some kind of mystery soup and schnitzel, though honestly can’t complain because it wasn’t horrible and now I can say I’ve eaten schnitzel.
Our Airbnb was very close to Schönbrunn Palace, so we decided to spend the afternoon there. Even though it was kind of grey and cloudy outside, we walked around the grounds and up a hill where there was a beautiful view of Vienna. Half of us stayed to do an audio tour of the inside of the palace while everyone else went grocery shopping. I was with the audio tour crew and got a nice lesson on Austrian history and the Habsburgs.
The weather must have really gotten to us because once we all met back at the Airbnb we decided to stay in for the night. We made brownies and curled up on the couch to watch The Sound of Music. Seemed like an appropriate movie to watch while in Austria 😉
We had a full day planned for the next day so we made sure to start off with a big brunch at Nashmarkt. Naschmarkt is a famous outdoor market, and we ate outdoors at an adorable restaurant that our friends studying abroad in Vienna had recommended. Got to try my first melange (the Viennese version of a cappuccino), and I couldn’t even tell you the last time I had eaten a bagel!
We then proceeded to walk to the center of Vienna where we decided to do our own sort of walking tour based on the research we had done. We walked by the Vienna Philharmonic and Vienna State Opera buildings, the Burggarten that has a statue of Mozart, the Austrian Parliament Building, and the Rathaus (city hall).
We made a stop at Beethoven Pasqualatihaus, a museum dedicated to Beethoven in one of his former apartments. Then we continued to wind our way through the city center, past Hofburg Palace, and towards St Stephen’s Cathedral. The church, which is the seat of the Archbishop of Vienna, is in Stephansplatz which is in the very center of the city.
We refueled at Gelateria Castelletto with gelato shaped like spaghetti, and we rode our sugar high through Mozartwohnung. This is an apartment that Mozart used to live in that has now been turned into a museum (the former clarinet player in me would have been proud I was having such a musical day).
Our evening ended up being the exact opposite of the previous night. We headed out to Prater Dome, a club located in the middle of an amusement park (should have been a red flag). Apparently Austrians don’t go out on Thursday nights because the place was very very empty, but thanks to some excellent drink deals we still managed to have quite the experience.
In the morning we went back to Naschmarkt to recover with some carrot/ginger juice, another melange, and another delicious brunch. Some of our friends studying in Vienna had returned from their Spring Break so it was nice to be able to meet up with them and catch up on their semester.
I totally get why everyone loves studying abroad in Vienna. It’s clean, safe, has good food, is easy to get around, has a lot of history and stuff to do, and I’m sure is a wonderful place to live. Wish we could have stayed longer, but we had a 2pm train to catch and Budapest waiting for us!