Upon arriving in Vienna, my first thoughts were ‘we have to drink Viennese coffee and watch the world go by’. We did exactly that, not one but two cuppas. After two nights of forced sleep, I realized that the caffeine doses have been a tad too much for my body so we retreated back to fruit juices and hot chocolate. Then while walking down the Kartnerstrasse (the main shopping street in Vienna), we bumped into a guy who told us that there are three things that will make our trip to Vienna complete;
- Drink Viennese coffee,
- Eat the schnitzel,
- Go for a concert.
We nodded at all three and gave a thumbs-up. Within 24 hours of arriving we had unknowingly enjoyed the best Vienna had to offer.
The Vienna State Opera House has concerts and performances every night. On the first night we ventured out hoping to get standing tickets which we heard costs only 4 euros. Anna Karenina Ballet was showing that night and I wanted badly to catch it, thankfully we got tickets in time and squeezed into an aisle where other viewers alike had already marked their places. Each aisle had its own hand rest and the aisle extended 5 rows back. The view was great – right in the middle not far from the stage. The show was spectacular and undoubtedly a steal (esp for budget backpackers like us).
We spend our days exploring the city by foot, subway and tram. Having seen at least half a dozen churches, museums and galleries, a tinge of modern art brought new flavour to our day. As we approached the Kunst Haus, Museum Hundertwasser we were gladly amused by the comical non-symmetrical checked boxes painted all over its walls. It looked like a scene taken out from a children’s story book. The fun and unpredictable designs followed us inside with uneven tiled floors said to heighten our sense of experience as sojourners on earth. This building house quirky paintings of the famous Austrian artist named Friedensreich Hundertwasser.
Vienna too has its fair share of palaces, with two on both ends of the city. The Schloss Schönbrunn is incredibly huge, although not spectacular in design on the outside, the courtyards and gardens make up for its boring structure. The palace also happens to be a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Hofburg Palace located nearer to the city has a grander feel than the Schonbrunn. Surrounded by waterfalls in the front garden and a statue of Mozart, many people pass daily enjoying the serene quite of its gardens.
Finally, a few must tries and bargains in Vienna (again to do with food since we get hungry quicker in the winter) is the ice cream from Zanoni and Zanoni. Located near the very gothic looking St. Stephen’s Catheral / Stephansdom, the ice cream at Zanoni and Zanoni is fantastic to say the least. Best thing is that it doesn’t cost very much to satisfy your cravings. And finally, we found the Wurtelstands very helpful for meeting the needs of our growling tummies. Serving up hot kebabs, pizzas, sausages and hot dogs – we couldn’t resist the splendid smells coming from the kiosk.