On Tuesday, we took a bus from Budapest to Vienna. Originally we were supposed to leave at 11:00 am, but that bus was cancelled so we switched to one at 7:00 am and got to Vienna a lot earlier than anticipated. We were dropped off at the bus stop on the outskirts of the city where we walked to a nearby amusement park, Prater, to ride the ferris wheel that gave us an amazing view of the city, albeit terrifying because it was extremely windy and the ferris wheel is really old. If you walked around inside it, it would tilt to wherever more weight was. I sat in the middle and prayed for the bolts to hold. We then went to the hostel to drop off our stuff and get recommendations for lunch. We ate at a place called Quell that served the best meatball like thing I’ve ever had. Afterward, we went to Belvedere Palace, which is the served as the summer home of Prince Eugene of Savoy and is now an art museum. The museum is home to “The Kiss” by Gustav Klimt. Unfortunately, there was a museum employee staked out in front of it watching everyone like a hawk so it was impossible to get a picture. I did get a picture of a Caspar David Friedrich (my favorite artist) painting just to spite that man. More on him in the Berlin post coming soon. After that we took a walk through Stadt Park to get to the Museum of Applied Arts, which would have made me feel cultured and mature but it mostly made me sad because all these old people were there mingling and I could barely keep my eyes open at 6:30 pm. I’m supposed to be young and full of energy! But instead I found whatever exhibit had a chair and sat there until I was kind of embarrassed then moved to the next exhibit with a chair. Next stop was apple strudel! So good. We then wen to Cafe Hawelka, where we were seated next to a very intoxicated artist who told us all about the history of Vienna and how he went to the States for a snow sculpture competition in very slow, deliberate English. They had great frankfurters and beer though! That was the last stop of the night before we went back to Hostel Ruthensteiner.
The next day we were up and at it bright and early as usual. The first stop was Schönbrunn Palace, a Habsburg palace, that used to be the home of Leopold I, Maria Theresa, and Marie Antoinette. Then we walked through the gardens up to the top of the hill opposite of the palace to where the summer home was. Now it is a cafe, Cafe Gloriette, so we had cake for breakfast overlooking the gardens. Afterward, we went to a different Saint Stephen’s Cathedral to see Marli’s friend from home sing with her a cappella group. We were there for Mass, which was interesting but unfortunately all in German so I just took cues from everyone else around me on what to do. After that we ran over to the old home of Mozart just to see it, though we didn’t go in. Then we went to the Naschmarket, which is a big outdoor market with produce stands and restaurants. Afterward we walked through the Museum Quartier and went to a restaurant that was in an old winery that was recommended by the guy from Cafe Hawelka. We sat and had a couple of glasses of wine in the old wine cellar. It was an excellent recommendation. We left there and walked to the Vienna State Opera to get three euro tickets for the standing only section for the night’s performance of I Puritani. After we got our ticket, we went and staked out our spot for the show with scarves and left to grab a coffee before the opera began. I have to say, the opera was absolutely amazing. I didn’t really know what to expect going in, but I loved it. Standing only was a little rough so we sat on the step behind us for a bit of it since three hours is quite long. Also, luckily there were translations on a tiny screen above us, which was really helpful since the opera was in Italian. This was probably the longest day and I passed out immediately after getting back to the hostel.
Vienna is an amazing city. It felt really livable and I wish I had more time to get wander on the winding streets. While I felt like we did a lot, it felt like a very surface level view of the city. I would love to visit here again.