On my travels I was able to take an overnight train to Vienna, waking up in the morning to a train attendant knocking on the door. Overnight trains can be smart for your wallet but you may be traveling with unknown people and you definitely will be traveling with very little space. Only one person can stand at a time and sitting up in beds are difficult: you basically have to do half a sit-up to get off your bed and into the hall. Score.
I left the train station and after a bit of confusion and lots of asking around, made it to the first destination: Schönbrunn Palace. Since the train got in so early I was able to visit the Palace without very many people there and it was really pretty! It’s amazing how often big crowds take away from the true view of a place.
Schönbrunn Palace is what used to be an imperial summer residence. It has 1,441 rooms, history dating back to the middle ages, and was the site of Mozart’s first concert; in the mirror room to the Empress at only 6 years old.
The grounds were beautiful especially at the top of a 60 metre hill, where you can see a wonderful panoramic view of the city. At the top is a structure known as “The Gloriette”, erected to glorify Habsburg power. The House of Habsburg was a powerful royal monarchy established in the 11th century. It transferred hands through royal marriages until its dissolution in Spain in 1700 and in Austria in 1780.
The centre of Vienna is surrounded by a ring shaped road called the Ringstraße which I now headed to in an attempt to find a famous market called the ‘Naschmarkt’. I unfortunately got lost on the way and ended up eating some tarts at a small, family run bakery next to the Catholic Karlskirche [seen below].
But I found it! Overpriced, delicious scents, plenty of samples… Thank goodness I had already eaten breakfast because if I hadn’t, my wallet would’ve been bone dry – the food there looked SO GOOD!
Austria has a really amazing inclusive community and to try to instil and promote these feelings in as many people as possible, the city has created stoplights that promote equality. What an awesome idea!! These are relatively new and I hope they start implementing these all over the world because I think that such a simple, everyday thing could make a difference.
For lunch I walked into the very centre, called the Innere Stadt. The main square holds the Gothic St. Stephen’s Cathedral, built in the 1100’s and possessing a spectacular roof and beautiful stain glass reflections to see in the early evening.
I headed to Figlmuller – where you can eat one of the best Weiner Shnitzel’s in the entire world. I had eaten there as a kid and I remember the Shnitzel being huge – and it still is! In the past, my grandfather was able to eat the entire thing but I still couldn’t… The food is a bit more on the expensive side, but it’s a good, authentic option in the already expensive city centre.
To finish off my day trip, I made my way to a park called the ‘Prater’, with an amusement section called the Wurstelprater. Over 100 years old, this area is the oldest amusement park in the world.
There were no tourists around surprisingly, and I was able to enjoy some rides and food before finishing up my time in Vienna.