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Published: November 8th 2007
After arriving in Linz we made our way straight to Vienna (we were given an info brochure in Cesky that said 'don't stop in Linz, it's not very interesting!) fair enough.
Arrived in Vienna and wandered out of West Banhoff Station ready to hunt down our hostel - and found we could see it from the door of the station - lovely! Settled into Wombat Hostel with no probs - the place is pretty cool - impeccably clean and tidy with good facilities and great staff and security etc. They even have a funky little bar/nite-club beneath the hostel (free drink when you check in - woohoo!). The hostel is right in the middle of Maria Sheiffler St - which is the largest shopping street in Vienna - and was hugely impressive (like Queen St on steriods). We wandered down the epic road, which featured all the big fashion/perfume/jewellery brands etc etc ... and shops for just about everything elase you could ever want!
Found a cool little pizza place where we stopped for a late lunch - after the Czech Republic Vienna is quite a culture shock - mostly to your wallet!
We returned to the hostel in
the early evening and went and checked out the nite-club for a few drinks and to soak up the atmosphere - it's a cool little place 😊 After that we went for another wander out on the streets. We had dinner at an authentic Austrian place where Kristi had the local speciality - Vienna schnittzel, before hitting the hay ready for a busy day of milling around the middle of Vienna!
We woke early-ish and then headed by tube into the heart of Vienna. The first stop was the crazy Naschmarkt - a HUGE open air market with everything form gourmet foodstuffs to a more traditional flea-market type places to old men with a blanket laid out covered in dirty smelly clothes! This market was just colossal - it must have stretched at least 4-5 blocks and was packed with people - both tourists and locals.
We had a great time in food section, admiring the incredible array of goodies - we had thought Borough Market in London was cool, but this was like 5 Boroughs combined!
As the market began to wind down at mid-day we headed into the heart of Vienna and hopped on the Ring
tram - a tram car service that goes around the centraql part of the city, stopping at all the major areas and land marks - was quite nice to see it all by tram before hopping off and walking around to see everything more closely. We wandered through the museum quarter before stumbling across the awesome Hofburg. This is a huge building that is regarded as one of the must sees in Vienna (see pic) Unusually on this day, the vast grounds and gardens outside the Hofburg were covered in military tents, vehicles and about 6 helicopters??!! There were soldiers everywhere... and masses of Turkish guys carring the Turkish flag - we had NO idea what was going on and were not really that keen to ask! Kristi was so nervous about the randomness of the situation she would run and stand by herself while I was taking photos (we weren't sure if you were allowed - I guess she thought I might get shot eh!). After a hasty exit from the Hofburg area we walked up to the mighty Parliamant buildings - fronted by an epic marble and gold statue. The Austrians certainly know how to make their buildings
huge and impressive - we felt dwarfed by the sheer scale of these structures!
Next we wandered around a couple of monolithic cathedrals before entering the true heart of the city - the middle of the ring tram - where we would find the Spanish Riding School and the legendary St Stephensdom Cathedral. St Stephens was truly awesome from the outside - surrounded by modern buildings, its gothic styling was stunning - but the real appeal of the cathedral was the inside - there were intricate sculptures, paintings and stained glass windows as far as the eye could see - easily one of the most impressive churches of its kind - even when compared to St Pauls in London or St peters in the Vatican!
After we finally grew tired of sight seeing we headed back to West Banhoff and had a brief siesta, and then having enjoyed 1408 so much in Prague - we wandered down to the local cinema and watched "The Assasination of Jesse James" which was a thoroughly entertaining film! Even more so because the rest of the Austrian audience just did not get the humour - and even gave us evil looks when
we laughed... stoopid Austrians...
Dinner that night was fantastic - a wonderful sushi restaurant, where we gorged ourselves silly... which served to remind us how much we missed cheap sushi from home! (sushi is ridiculously expensive in London and Europe in general!!)
The next morning we had to check out by 10am, but didn't leave Vienna until 6.20pm, so we stashed our luggage at the hostel and then headed out to spend the day in the city... unfortunately it was the most miserable day we have seen yet - constant rain, fluctuating between heavy and heavier! However we headed off anyway and went to Shroppenburg - a huge old building with expansive landscaped gardens and a hedge maze!! However the rain got the better of us in the end and after an hour of wandering the grounds getting soaked, and when I was so wet I was quite sure I might not ever dry out again, we had to admit defeat and head back to the hostel to dry out! It's a shame, as the gardens were quite stunning - as was the huge memorial up on the hill at the end of the main garden area -
but it was simply too wet and murky for us to explore properly. The maze was a bit lame though, we had high hopes of a huge intricate labyrinth - but it was quite puny in reality 😞 Still the rest of the place was gorgeous and well worth a visit - when its not raining!
We spent some time chilling in the hostel and planning our Canada trip, then when the rain finally relented, we headed back to the central city for one last look around. The rain had reduced to a mild spattering so we wandered for a while than found a nice little cafe for a coffee and some soup to warm ourselves up with!
Finally after a lot of rain avoidance and generally wandering, we went back to Wombat Hostel to grab our luggage and head to the bus station. When we arrived at the station we discovered that today was the end of daylight saving in Austria and as a result we now had an hour to kill sitting in the bus sation... Poo. We had suspected something funny was going on with the time earlier - but assumed we had just not
set our watches for a time change form Czech ... ooops.
Still, eventually we caught our bus and headed into Slovokia (30miles away) and the Bratislava airport - from which we would fly back to London. Was trippy being in Slovakia for only a few hours - it looked quite cool really (will have to go back!) but I am proud to say I still managed to sample 2 Slovakian beers while at the airport - now thats dedication eh!?
Austria was another place that we have to return to I think, we would lto ove see Salzburg and with Bratislava only a stones throw away, it seems easy enough to do both 😊
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