After our amazing time in Prague, we were torn between which destination we should look to visit next. Our original plan was to head to Bratislava, and then on to Rome via and overnight train, however, there was no direct train to Rome from Bratislava. Due to us loving Prague and spending an extra night to catch up with friends as you can see in my previous blog here, it made sense to bypass Bratislava to go straight to Vienna. I was slightly disappointed by this, but, it has given me an excuse to return to Prague followed by Bratislava and Budapest, these three destination are also known as the Golden Triangle due to their beauty.
After dicing with traffic and rushing to get to the train station for the 1:30pm train we were left without a seat on what could be called a slightly overcrowded train. Some sort of school trip was heading to the south of the Czech Republic from Prague and it wasn’t very enjoyable been stuck on what could only be called some form of pringle tin with air conditioning with many other people. Luckily, we found a seat around an hour into the journey when many people departed and we settled into our journey to Vienna.
The journey from Prague to Vienna was routine taking around three and a half hours, with stops in the Czech towns Of Ceska Trebova and Brno. These cities and towns are what I would call, old fashioned traditional Czech cities that seemed untouched in comparison to Prague. Upon our arrival to Vienna, we found that the public transport system and tourist information was excellent. A very happy middle aged chap, gave us the necessary information we needed to get to our hostel and we jumped on the bus to get there which was around three euro. Our hostel was clean but very basic, also, we had to hand in our passports as security for any damages to the room. This wasn’t something I was very keen on because giving away my personal information and valuables isn’t really what I want to do in a foreign country, however, this was company policy so there wasn’t a lot I could do.
Due to being in Vienna a limited amount of time, we dropped off our bags, jumped in the shower and headed out straight away. Firstly, we stumbled across The Lizard which is a bar that offered sky TV and pool. The venue was in good fettle and we had a few games of pool as well as a couple of Guinessess during our couple of hours there. The barman was super helpful, I can’t remember his name but he was an Irishman who had been living in Vienna for a few years, he told us where the best places to sightsee/visit that evening as well as the following day.
After a couple of hours in the Lizard Bar, we walked towards the Schonnbrun Palace, and the site of this building lit up at night was beautiful. The venue around the building was lively, with a few open bars and some sort of opera festival which was full of locals who seemed quite engrossed in the whole production. Normally, I’m not a massive opera fan but me and Haribo sat for a good half an hour watching this show, surprisingly the whole production was relaxing and pleasant. It most definitely fitted the surroundings we were in with the palace lit up behind us on a warm a summers evening. At around 12pm the atmosphere bean to die down near the palace and with only one night in Vienna we wanted to make the most of it, however, there is one slight obstacle in trying to get around this city at night. The tubes don’t run after midnight. For a major city, a capital city, this was disappointing, especially with it being the height of summer. Luckily, there was a taxi rank nearby the tube station that we tried to enter and we shared a taxi with another two guys who were wanting to head into town too.
Vienna was incredibly lively that evening, and we headed down to the area where there were a variety of different bars with music. Most were quite full, but we found a nice little bar across from the Motto Am Flus restaurant on the opposite side of the Danube canal. For those who haven’t been to Vienna, this restaurant looks brilliant. Its architectural structure looks like that of a boat which is fitting as its stationed on the canal, furthermore, the lighting outside also make this place look chic and upmarket. Although we didn’t have time to enter (or have the budget) we met with a couple at the bar who said the food was delightful, but, prices were expensive due to its location and menu. The day had been superb and the weather fantastic, bizarrely, it changed into what was absolute carnage for the next couple of hours. In the height of summer, no-one expects thunderstorms, hail stones and even snow for the next half an hour. If you are in Vienna, check the weather forecast as this can be normal due to the hot days and moist atmosphere, the weather isn’t as serene as I thought it would be! After a few drinks at the bars, we moved further into the centre of town to try to find some more bars. At this point, we also picked up some food from a little stall that was open late into the night. The food was Turkish and it was delicious, 100% worth a try if you’re a little bit peckish at 2:30am in Vienna! Unfortunately for us, there weren’t really any ‘clubs’ that were open which was disappointing because you’d expect a capital city to be rife with nightlife during any night of the week.
After the previous night, there were a couple of sore heads and it wasn’t brilliant that we had to check out of the room at 10am, however, the hostel provided an excellent service by allowing us to store our luggage safely until we departed for the train station at 7pm. We caught breakfast in a bar close to the hostel and then jumped on a bus towards the centre of Vienna. The city centre was bustling with shoppers and Haribo wanted to buy some new gear for the rest of the trip, but, with no map and a poor sense of direction we ended up walking around in circles. Again. We spent an hour or so walking round Vienna along with a detour to Sports Direct. We thought it would be funny to pick clothes of the rail that looked ridiculous and put them on (we are still boys at mind) although we got some strange looks from the locals. Upon our exit, we took a left turn and opportunely stumbled upon St Stephens Cathedral. The Cathedral is based on Stephensplatz and is Vienna’s most important religious building, the cathedral was built in 1147 for the Roman Catholic Church. In comparison to the Castle/Cathedral in Prague this was miniscule, but, if you see the building first hand you can see a lot of work and effort was made to make the cathedral look as magnificent as possible. Unfortunately, we didn’t enter inside due to; time, the queues, the hangover, and the cost. If I was to visit Vienna again I would look to get up early, to miss the queues and the heat to visit St Stephens. One slight issue for me, was the fact that you were being touted to buy tickets which was quite off putting, furthermore, there were multiple horse carts stationed outside the cathedral and the horses **** on the floor which for one, smelled and two didn’t look appealing either.
After our tour of Vienna, and taking in the various other sites which were left we headed back to the hostel to collect our bags and then headed back to the train station. Wien Haupbahnhof has a variety of restaurants and I was starving with a hangover, so I opted for the Triple Bacon Cheeseburger from Burger King, and that is not a decision you will regret. Following our food, we headed towards the ticket office for our train, if you are travelling by interrail and you want to travel on a night train you must pay a little extra to reserve a seat. The total cost was eight-euros extra for a chair on the night train which is extremely reasonable.
Personally, my time in Vienna was okay. It’s not really the kind of place where a twenty and a twenty-two-year-old go to have some fun and the number of sights/attractions were disappointing compared to other places on the trip. One night probably wasn’t a long enough time to stay over, an extra day would have given us more time and opportunities to plan things out, but we stayed an extra night in Prague and missed out Bratislava completely so Vienna was lucky to see us. If I were to recommend this place to any demographic, it would be couples whatever age, heading there on a weekend break. The city is clean, looks superb on an evening and has excellent transport links to get around. For us, our time in Vienna was done and it was time to take the mammoth journey through Italy to Rome!