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Wednesday, 6 September 2017

Travel Diary | Vienna

I may have mentioned once or twice or a thousand times that I recently had a week in Vienna with my boyfriend - or more accurately, six days, arriving early Tuesday morning and leaving late on Sunday evening. This is going to be a pretty photo-heavy post, but it's such a gorgeous city that I think I did well to narrow my photos down this much!
A week in Vienna
Our first day, we were able to check into our hotel room early, so after showering and unpacking a little we headed out to explore. We ended up taking a circuitous route into the city centre, which was about a 20-minute walk from our hotel if you took a direct route. I took so many photos because I was just amazed by all the buildings - I don't think I saw an ugly building in the whole city, everything was just beautiful.
There were also traditional horses and carts everywhere, which were lovely to see trotting about - they used the roads just like all the cars and buses. We thought about having a tour in one but they turned out to be quite expensive to hire, so we didn't bother in the end - we actually walked almost everywhere during our time in Vienna.
Horse & Cart - Vienna
One thing I knew I wanted to do was visit the Sigmund Freud Museum - as a psychologist, I didn't feel I could go to Vienna and not visit! I have to admit I'm not a massive fan of Freud but nonetheless, I found the museum interesting and I'm glad I went - it's based in the apartment where he lived before emigrating to London during WW2, and features a lot of his belongings, diaries, letters etc. My boyfriend was utterly baffled as to why I was so impressed by his sofa, but any fellow psychologist will get it I'm sure!
Prof Dr Freud - Sigmund Freud Museum, Vienna
Freud's Sofa - Sigmund Freud Museum, Vienna
There are so many gorgeous churches in Vienna - below is Stephansdom, which has the most beautiful tiled roof and some pretty impressive towers. It was actually undergoing restoration whilst we were there, hence all the scaffolding, but it still looks pretty doesn't it!? There an U-Bahn station that comes up just in front of this, so it's a pretty spectacular sight to emerge to!
Stephansdom, Vienna
We went armed with a list of Austrian food we had to try in our time away, one item off that list being Wurst. We went for traditional Bratwurst and it was lovely - although I have to admit, I liked the Kartoffeln (potatoes) even more!
Wurst - Vienna
Neither my boyfriend nor I are particularly arty people and so we decided to give the art galleries and museums a miss, but we did stumble upon this exhibition in the Museums Quartier which I just had to take a photo of - it was a whole wall of various portraits, but this one of Chester Bennington genuinely made me catch my breath.
Chester Bennington - Museums Quartier, Vienna
Now, my boyfriend isn't keen on heights, but he was very brave and agreed to come on the Wiener Riesenrad with me - this Ferris Wheel has been standing since 1897 and gives some pretty incredible views over Vienna for €10 each. Situated in an area called Prater, this was a bit of a trek outside the city, so we treated ourselves to some public transport for the day. A 24-hour ticket which can be used on trams, buses and the U-Bahn within the city cost just €7.60. We used both the trams and the U-Bahn and found them to be frequent, clean and fast, so I'd definitely recommend it if you're less able to walk, or need to get somewhere a little further afield.
View from Riesenrad, Vienna
View from Riesenrad, Vienna
And then, since we already had the tram tickets, we took a little tour to see something else that had been on my list - Hundertwasserhaus, which is actually social housing, designed by artist and architect Friedensreich Hundertwasser. His work features a lot of bold colour blocking and unusual shapes, and the housing looked really cool. You can't go inside (people live there!) but there's a little complex called 'Hundertwasser Village' which has a coffee shop, some souvenir shops and exhibitions of artwork, which is free to enter and definitely worth a look round.
Hundertwasserhaus, Vienna
We also took advantage of the tram tickets to head out towards the Donauturm or Danube Tower, which is the tallest structure in Vienna (and indeed, in Austria) at 252m. Bearing in mind my boyfriend's head for heights, I was surprised when he agreed to go up - it was around €10 each to go up in the lift, but you can then spend as long as you like on the viewing platform, or go up a little further to a cafe and restaurant. We got a drink and sat for about half an hour in the cafe, which rotates slowly so that you can see literally the entire city.
View from Danauturm, Vienna
Another day of exploring took us to Belvedere Palace; we didn't go inside, but the grounds are free to look around and are also pretty spectacular. They're currently featuring this work by Erwin Wurm called 'Fat House', which is apparently symbolic of Western culture's obsession with material possessions and suchlike. Considering we decided not to do the arty things, we still got a bit of art into our trip!
Erwin Wurm, Fat House, Vienna
Belvedere Gardens, Vienna
On the Saturday, we decided to take a little daytrip to Salzburg, because my boyfriend had discovered that the Red Bull Hangar (HANGAR-7) was there. It was around two and a half hours on the train, which cost us just under €50 each for a return ticket (bought in my clumsy German!) - there were some lovely views, but also a lot of time spent in tunnels. Saturday was also the worst day of our trip, weather-wise, and the only day that rained, so on a clear day it may have been a more scenic trip. Once in Salzburg, HANGAR-7 is a short bus-ride and then a short walk from the central train station, and entry is free. I'm not into cars and the like, but even I found it pretty cool to look round all the F1 cars, planes, helicopters and so on. My boyfriend, meanwhile, was in his element!
Hangar-7, Salzburg
Hangar-7, Salzburg
Once I finally managed to tear him away from the shiny metal things, we had a little wander round Salzburg, which is just as beautiful as Vienna but in a different way. I was very taken with the castle, which overlooks the city and is quite an imposing presence. Sometimes you're able to see the Alps behind it, but there was quite thick cloud whilst we were there so that wasn't the case for us!
Salzburg Castle
Salzburg Castle
On our final day, we were able to leave our luggage at the hotel after checking out, so we went for a last stroll around the city. The square in front of the Rathaus (city hall) was hosting a film festival whilst we were there, and was also home to an incredible food market with dozens of stalls offering different types of cuisine - that's where our Wurst came from, and we also tried several other dishes here. We enjoyed a leisurely lunchtime pint in the sun on our last day - I had developed a little obsession with this beer!
Rathaus, Vienna
Ottakringer Citrus Radler, Vienna
Looking back I'm amazed at how much we managed to fit into six days - and this is just the highlights! It was a lovely trip and Vienna is a beautiful city to visit; I'm not sure whether I'd go again, purely because there are so many other places I want to visit, but I'd definitely recommend a few days there if you ever get the opportunity or fancy a city break with plenty of culture.
Have you ever been to Vienna? Have you been away this summer?


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