This weekend I had an incredible trip to Vienna, Austria. I took a night train right after class on Thursday night and reached Vienna on Friday morning. Unfortunately, it was very difficult for us to sleep on the train and we were exhausted when we reached Vienna. We first checked in at our hostel The Wombat and then powered through to see some of the city center and grab lunch. For lunch we stopped by a an authentic Austrian Pub/ Restuarant where I had spinach strudel and apple strudel and my friends could try schnitzel.
Then we walked to the city center to visit St. Stephen’s Cathedral. A beautiful church that defines the Viennese skyline and has a lot of religious value to Austrians. Something I realized throughout the weekend was that Vienna and Austria as a whole are very Christian and specifically Catholic. Most of their architecture, culture and history is strongly influenced by their connection to the church. After all the Hapsburgs (long time rulers of Austria-Hungary) believed they were the political representatives of God.
After climbing almost 400 stairs up the church to get that amazing view we were pretty exhausted so we took a short break and then grabbed some cheap Austrian-Chinese food, which was surprisingly good for only 3 euros unfortunately I ate it too quickly to get a picture.
The next day we started with a visit to Naschmarket on our way to a free walking tour provided by our Hostel. I picked up a super good cheese pretzel and did a preliminary check of what’s what at the market.
During the walking tour we got to see and learn tons about Viennese culture. For example we saw the art academy that Hitler was rejected from that sort of inspired his antisemitism, apparently Vienna has a long history of antisemitism and that really influenced Hitler. We also learned that Mozart’s life, how to get cheap tickets to the opera house and of course where to get the best apple strudel.
After the tour we stopped by a cafe recommended by our tour guide to have the best apple strudel. We were able to try the Viennese coffee called a Melange (similar to a cappuccino, but way more expensive than Italian coffee we were used to).
Afterwards we stopped by the Naschmarkt once more to see if we could find any thrift treasures, but we ended up leaving with just 30 falafels that we bought for just 5 euros! Seeing the market was amazing though, it was a giant open air market in the middle of Vienna that has been there for more than a hundred years.
We then lined up outside the Vienna State Opera House to get our cheap standing tickets. We were able to get tickets to see Le Jiuve, a french opera, for only 4 euro each. Just to put this in perspective a usual seated ticket are sold for over 200 euros! Before we saw the opera we prepared by trying a slice of the world-famous Sachertorte, which ended up just being a chocolate cake with marmalade in the middle. But you can’t go to Vienna without trying the original Sachertorte.
Then we went to see the opera. The music, provided by the world famous Vienna Philharmonic, and the singing was incredible. Although the opera was in french we had little screens with translations to understand the general plot and of course music is a universal language. The only bad thing was of course standing room means you have to stand…for a three hour opera. Least to stay we had very sore legs at the end of the night.
Sunday morning we started off the day by renting bicycles and then riding them down to the Schönbrunn Palace, the Hapsburg’s summer palace. It was a beautiful sunny day so we thoroughly enjoyed this short ride.
We strolled around the palace had a mini photoshoot and just really enjoyed the sunny warm day. Afterwards we took the metro back to the city center to grab some more street food for lunch and visit the Kunsthistorisches Museum.
Lastly we visited Café Central which was a super fancy cafe that was the center of the Viennese intellectual scene where people like Trotsky, Lenin and Sigmund Freud had frequented. It was the best melange and cake that I had in all of Vienna. It was the perfect end to an incredible weekend in Vienna.