Not really. I wish I learned the Viennese waltz there. That would have been a wonderful experience.
Vienna was beautiful. I loved learning about the Habsburg royal family and their strong influence over Austria and Europe. My friend and I were there for four days and we stayed at her aunt’s apartment, which was in walking distance from the Schloss Belvedere. When we arrived in Vienna the first day, it was already late afternoon, so we just stayed in her aunt’s apartment, had dinner, and talked.
The next day was when the adventure started. Her aunt walked us around the general area, which included the city centre, city hall, some other government buildings (sorry, I can’t remember now :/), cathedrals (one of them being St. Stephen’s), and the Viennese Opera House.
You can actually ride on these horse carriages, but as you can imagine, they’re expensive.
After having some dessert and drinks at a cafe in the streets, we all went our separate ways. Her aunt had to pick up her son from his friend’s house, my friend went to the House of Music (Haus der Musik), and I went to watch a Viennese opera at the opera house. I had to be there an hour early to get standing tickets (which were only 3-4 euros) and to reserve my standing seat by tying my sweater at the posts that were there. The opera singers were incredible. The opera, itself, did not have a plot that I could follow along well.
After the opera, as I was making my way back to my friend’s aunt’s apartment, I stopped by this church (which, I, unfortunately, can’t remember the name of. I almost typed Frederiks Kirke, but that’s Copenhagen…). Ah, after a Google search of “churches in vienna” -smacks forehead-, it’s Karlskirche. I can’t believe I forgot the name of it already. It’s been so long. At some cathedrals and churches I’ve been to in Europe, you were able to go up to the dome and out and see a 360 view of the city. For this particular church, you were able to do that, but it was disappointing, because it was indoor and I did not see the outside. Seeing the paintings under the dome were incredible, but there was a lot of construction, so all I saw was scaffolding. This is also not ideal for people afraid of heights, because you would take a lift (elevator) up, and then walk up the stairs, which is scary, because the railings aren’t thick and stable. It’s essentially walking up the scaffolding. Not worth it to go up, in my opinion, unless they remove all of the scaffolding.
The next day, my friend and I explored Schloss Schönbrunn. WOW. It was incredible to walk around the palace, especially the Great Gallery, which is reminiscent of the Hall of Mirrors in the Palace of Versailles. Unfortunately, I could not take any pictures inside the palace, but walking around the palace grounds was just as wonderful as walking inside.
After touring Schloss Schönbrunn, my friend and I made our way back to the general city area (Schloss Schönbrunn was about 30-40 minutes outside the city centre? Can’t remember…), and from there, my friend and I went our separate ways again. My next stop was the Sisi Museum. Oh my goodness. The amount of kitchen utensils, cutlery, plates, bowls, etc. was beyond me. I’ve never seen that many utensils in my life! Also, the amount of gold and silver that I saw was incredible. In addition to this part of the museum, I was able to tour the Imperial Apartments as well. Learning about Empress Elisabeth was kind of sad, because she was not prepared to live in a royal setting. She was used to all of the informality but was forced into a marriage she did not want and a lifestyle that she was not used to.
After touring the Sisi Museum, I decided to explore the city centre and enjoy seeing all the shops and cafes. I stopped by the Hofburg Cafe and had this delicious cake. I think it was tiramisu flavoured?
After having that cake, I walked around some more and I found myself going into some shops, one of them being Longchamp. I knew that my sister wanted a Longchamp Le Pliage tote (the large one) and since she graduated from university this year, I decided to buy one for her. In Europe, it’s cheaper to buy European brands (obviously) because there are no additional shipping/export fees. In addition to this, I was also able to fill out the VAT refund form and got back some more money, so it was a great deal overall.
While walking back to my friend’s aunt’s apartment, I passed by a field of tulips, which looked beautiful in the sun. In Amsterdam, my friend wanted to go to the tulip fields, but they were about an hour away and we had limited time in Amsterdam, so we did not go. I made sure to take a picture of them, because they were stunning.
Once everyone was back at the apartment, we went out to dinner at a nearby restaurant. I ordered the schnitzel and a beer. Delicious! I somehow managed to finish everything, haha, because both the potatoes and schnitzel were good. One of my goals of this European trip was to try foods that countries were known for. Got that down for Austria.
On the last day, before our train to Budapest, I unexpectedly visited the Hundertwasser Village. I’ve never heard of it, but when I saw pictures of the colourful buildings, I knew I had to go. Walking in that area brought me back to when my family and I were in Barcelona. I went to the art museum that was there, and it was interesting. I liked how it showcased the artwork of this unknown artist and his ideas about sustainability.
Afterwards, my friend’s aunt picked me up and drove me back to the Schloss Belvedere, the palace near her apartment. Here, I was really excited about it, because I wanted to see the art gallery there, especially since Gustav Klimt’s The Kiss was on display there. I was not able to take a picture of the actual artwork, but in a room over from where it was, they displayed a copy of it where you can take a picture of it.
Also, don’t let the picture below fool you. It was actually really sunny the day I went. This was taken on my way back from the Viennese Opera on my first full day.
Apologies for the sun glare. At least it was sunny outside. But, seeing this painting in person was INCREDIBLE. I loved being able to see the gold of this painting and the sparkles and shine. Definitely worth seeing.
I found it rather interesting that there was this fake snowman outside. Haha.
Whew! That ends this post about Vienna. After this city, my friend and I hopped on a train and rode it for two hours to Budapest, Hungary. Stay tuned for that post!