Vienna# 12 August 2012
We only scheduled Vienna (Wien) for a night and day, since we’d spent longer in Slovenia than anticipated. The ‘railjet’ train proved to be even better than the German ICE trains. It was the only train I’ve seen which has free wifi (albeit patchy in coverage) in the second class area. After arriving in Wien Meidling we found a succession of very friendly Austrians who spoke perfect English and told us where to find our hotel (only 2 star, don’t get excited this is still a hostel trip). From the bus we could see that the streets were markedly wider than those in the German cities we’d visited – it felt more airy, and despite having a lot of traffic, not as bustling.
The ‘Hotel Cyrus’ didn’t prove hugely easy to find with the given directions. In case anyone comes across this, we think it would have been better to take the S-Bahn from Meidling to Südbahnhof and then it is one tram stop away (within walking distance). During the journey I had the mind blowing revelation that ‘Wiener’ refers to Vienna – Wiener Schnitzel would be forever changed. The hotel was very spacious (our double had four beds in it) and had Eurosport in English on the room TV which allowed me to hypocritically watch the olympics I had formerly been slagging off.
We went on a quest for food which after some argument about whether we could be bothered to find the restaurant from the guidebook (no) ended up at an Italian restaurant opposite the Apollo Kino (IMAX cinema). However Italian food is currently embargoed pending our visit to Italy; we have noticed there are a lot of Italian restaurants all over Europe and eating it can get a bit samey after a while. Therefore we ate another Wiener Schnitzel. The restaurant’s attempts to charge for extra ketchup were thwarted by me paying with card and them not caring enough to change the bill.
Next day after cursing the slowness of Viennese trams we went to the ‘Haus der Musik’ which is a great museum all about sound and music. There are a range of interactive exhibits about everything from digital signal processing to the lives of classical composers. We thoroughly enjoyed it and would definitely recommend a visit there. We spent an interlude at ‘Wienerwald’ but instead of the usual Schnitzel I got a burger which came with crisps in place of chips, this actually works pretty well.
Lastly we took a puffing trip up 343 steps to the top of the Stephansdom, the spiral staircase makes you dizzy but it’s worth it for the view. I felt a bit sorry for the man working in the gift shop at the top who must have a long way to go for a toilet break.
Only too soon, it was time to leave Vienna. It is definitely on the return visit list along with Bruges. Next we were going to Prague which turned from 1 night into 3 nights as we realised we couldn’t stomach an 8.5 hour train to Poland.