We arrived in Vienna around 2pm after catching a train from Prague. As always when arriving in a new city, our first task was to check-in and drop our backpacks off at the hostel. A quick read of the U-Bahn (metro) map and we dumped all of our loose Euro coins into a ticket machine. The U-Bahn was quick, clean and efficient, and before long we were at Volkstheater station – the closest to our hostel. We exited the station, looked around for street names to find out bearings, and found our hostel about 10 minutes away by foot.
Our hostel was excellent. It was basically a large two bedroom apartment that has been converted into a hostel/share house. We met many people, including a girl from Adelaide of all places, and an American boy who is currently living in Rome and has offered to give us a tour when we visit in a week.
I think I often make my decision on a city within the first day or so of arriving. On the first afternoon after we sorted out our accommodation, we walked past the Volkstheater, Naturhistorisches Museum, Parliament, Wiener Eistraum, and then through some of the streets nearby. It was sunny, and we were both extremely happy. I was in love with Jess and Vienna.
From there we passed through the Volksgarten, which without the support of the Summer months, was perfect. Many plants or areas were covered (presumably to stop the damage of frosts) or fenced off for maintenance, but the walk was still exactly what we needed. Time together, whilst relaxing outdoors.
We continued on to the Hofburg Imperial Palace. Nowadays it has been split up into different government run facilities, such as museums and libraries. Some are aimed at tourists, while others are for the locals. Following the directions of others at our hostel, we walked past the Spanish Riding School to see some Roman Ruins at Michaelerplatz.
By this time it was around 5:30pm and the locals were outside everywhere enjoying the sun. We returned to our hostel via the Burgarten, where there were teenagers playing soccer, families sitting on the grass and so on. It was really nice to see people just having fun.
We realised early in our visit that Vienna has it’s fair share of money. After visiting Poland, the cars in this city amazed me. I think the average family sedan in Vienna is an AMG or a Maserati. Literally in the first half hour of walking through the city I spotted two 4-door Porsches
We spent the next few days looking at the buildings and walking through the parks and shopping malls. As far as history goes, as in just about every city we have visited now, there is plenty. Palaces, churches and gardens are extravagant and really very impressive.
On our last day I was feeling a little under the weather. Travel takes it’s toll if you don’t relax, not to mention the cold taking it’s toll on two Australians. I had suggested to Jess that we visit a place called Donauinsel – Danube Island. She seemed a little reluctant but I managed to convince her. There was a U-Bahn station right on top of the island, so we caught the metro from Volksgarten. Donauinsel is a man-made island for all of the right reasons – it is part of Vienna’s flood protection system, however it is known to most as a recreational island, where locals can walk, ride, canoe, rollerblade, and even bathe at a man made beach. We walked down the Donauinsel and talked, just like we do at home.
Ultimately, I really enjoyed myself in Vienna. Albeit expensive and probably not the best location for a backpacker trying to travel on the cheap, we will be back.