Booked during a night fueled by hard cider and champagne (obviously a winning combination), to say that my trip to Vienna was spontaneous might be an understatement. Literally booked at like 8 pm to leave at 9 am the next morning. (Shout out to friends who will go an adventures like this with you! Hi Lexie!) Such is the beauty of traveling in Europe.
At first, Vienna felt very similar to Berlin. (It could just be the fact that everyone speaks German…) I was not a fan of Berlin, so I was wary. But it was actually really refreshing to be on a trip that wasn’t packed with a full itinerary.
Where We Stayed
My friend found what I’ll go on record as saying is the hostel with coolest room that I’ve ever stayed in. Our room at Hostel Ruthensteiner was a 6 person dorm that was Sigmund Freud-themed. It was complete with beautifully painted lockers where you could write down your dreams , a chaise lounge for spilling out your innermost thoughts to unsuspecting fellow travelers, and some vintage globes and maps.
The common area had musical instruments for visitors to pick up and play and an assortment of games, which we took advantage of on a chill Saturday evening. Oh and they had, by far, the friendliest staff when we checked in.
What We Did
Lots and lots of sightseeing. We didn’t pay to go in any of the palaces, but they were nice photo ops:
Schönbrunn Palace – Lots of walking to the top, but a nice place to sit and take in the view for a bit.
- St. Stephen’s Cathedral – Located in the city center, you can’t miss this towering cathedral. For some reason, we were never around it in the daytime, but it’s architecture is reminiscent of Fisherman’s Bastion in Budapest I mentioned in my last post.
A huge, interactive music museum that allows visitors to not only learn about Vienna’s rich history as a home to many talented classic musicians, but also make music of their own. It was a very cool experience, even as someone who isn’t into classical music.
Super cool building that was designed by the artist Friedensreich Hundertwasser, who is well known for using bright colors and rejecting “straight lines” in his work.
Part flea market, part food market. We had some really great breakfast here. See next section 🙂
Where We Ate (and Drank!)
Our first night we decided on a whim to sign up for a pub crawl, which was slated to start at Travel Shack Vienna. Hijinks ensued because the website was very unclear that it would be starting there on this date instead of some other location we went to first. (Read the fine print VERY carefully. Then, read it again!) Anyway, we ended up there, which we were very wary. Let me explain.
If you’re familiar with the college bars, Bar None or Continental in the East Village in NYC, it’s that sort of vibe. If you’re not, picture: bras hanging from the rafters, bros ordering pitchers of beers, crowds so thick you can barely move, shots with “risqué” names. Really not my scene. We were almost convinced that the pub crawl was a scam because there wasn’t any clear indicator that anyone was in charge. People we asked looked at us like we were crazy.
Eventually we saw someone with a list and asked if she was with the pub crawl and she said she was. She introduced to the host (who was a super chill guy.) However, as the night wore on, he informed us that not enough people had signed up and we’d have to reschedule or request a refund. At this point, we’d already gotten drinks of our own so we decided that we’d reschedule for the time being. It was disappointing, but the host ended up treating us to a free shot, which was nice of him.
We thought the night might end up being a wash, until they announced that there was karaoke in the next room, which is really just a sign from the universe that we were meant to be there. We were one of the first ones in there, singing from a microphone that came down from the ceiling. Whole room karaoke can be hit or miss, but really everyone who came into the room just ended up being part of one giant musical act. It ended up being a really great time.
This was a very cute (but not particularly cheap) cafe that apparently Freud used to frequent. We stopped in for some tea and pastries, which was nice, but nothing really breathtaking. I also am not a coffee drinker, so I didn’t partake in the famous Viennese coffee.
I love breakfast, especially when it comes with a bunch of extras. I ordered the Viennese breakfast, which consisted of: a soft boiled egg, cheese, a croissant, an entire bread basket, and tea. A total carb overload, but lucky for me, I don’t care about shit like that.
I don’t know that I would necessarily return to Vienna any time soon, but I definitely enjoyed my time there.
Side note: I really really miss croissants. Where are the best croissants in the Bronx?