Through my teaching internship in Romania, I met some really fabulous people. When it came time for one of my fellow volunteers to leave Romania and leisure travel throughout Eastern Europe, she said was going to Vienna, Austria. Without asking her, I told her I’d meet her there. This past Friday, I flew out to Vienna from Bucharest. The flight was only an hour and a half long and the time zone was an hour behind, not enough to get me in the jet-lagged mood. After I got settled into my hostel, Burgh Hostel, whose staff was super friendly and funny, I wandered off on my own before my friend arrived. While wandering, I discovered the sacred Austrian soda Almdudler; it has a slight apple taste to it but it’s simply delicious. I am usually not one for carbonated drinks, but this I could drink every now and then. Of course, if it was available where I lived. When my friend finally arrived, we explored old town Vienna. Since it was our first night in Vienna, we wanted traditional Wiener schnitzel. We were in the homeland to schnitzel after all. We went to this restaurant called Wustenrot and I got the Weiner schnitzel. Words can’t express how simply delicious this dish was; it was also served with potato salad as a side dish. I think I could die happy now after eating that meal.
The next day we didn’t have an itinerary set – we simply woke up, got ready and headed out in town for the day. First and foremost, we got our caffeine fix at a cafe called The Juice and ordered cappuccinos. If you’re into healthy eating, I highly recommend eating breakfast or brunch at The Juice. They have smoothies, fruit bowls, and acai bowls, along with a variety of fruits and vegetables to choose from. After our caffeine fix, we went to Vienna’s tourist information center; there we decided how we were going to spend our day. We first went to St. Stephen’s Cathedral – it was simply mesmerizing with its fine architect and interior. If you’re on a budget, don’t worry – the first floor of the cathedral is free of charge. After visiting the Cathedral and walking around for hours, we decided it was time to eat. In Brasov, Romania it’s hard to find good sushi restaurants and we were both sushi deprived. We went to a Japanese restaurant called Akakiko – I recommend it if you need some authentic Japanese food. I ordered the sushi bento box, the sushi was simply fresh and the sides that the bento box came with were delicious. There’s no reason to order sides if you ordered a bento box at that restaurant.
Then we took a bus to the Belvedere Palace, which contains the world’s largest collection of Gustav Klimt’s painting. For me this was my favorite attraction that I saw during my stay in Vienna. If you were to ask me what symbolic images I have from my childhood, it would be Klimt’s most known painting “The Kiss.” My mother had a mimic of the painting in a stain glass form, and when I see that painting, I always think of that image. To me it represents love, which the majority of families are built upon on. Not only you will find Klimt’s art collections but you can also find paintings from Picasso, Kupka and other artists. I highly recommend visiting Belvedere Palace if you enjoy art; it’s divided into two parts – Upper and Lower Belvedere. After visiting Belvedere Palace, we decided to go on a guided tour in Vienna’s Spanish Riding School, since we missed the performance earlier that day. I am not an equestrian, but thanks to my first college roommate, who is studying Equine Business and Management, I had some knowledge of how stables are kept and the different types of horse breeds. (Taylor, if you’re reading this: thank you for informing about me this whole different type of world) It was a great tour; we explored the stables and riding arena. The Lipizzaner were absolutely gorgeous and it was nice to hear that the school still takes care of the horses after they’re retired from performing. Also, it was great to learn that the school has been accepting female riders since 2008, and they are being recognized in the riding world. I really enjoyed the tour, and for someone who’s not an equestrian, I’m sure you will as well.
Our last stop for the day was the famous Hundertwasser House. The artist of the house was named Hundertwasser. He believed that Vienna was filled with too many classical buildings and thus created an apartment building against the city’s architect rules. It’s very colorful and exotic; if you’re into “bizarre” art then check it out. However, keep in mind, you can only visit the store and cafe. They have video tours of the apartments inside the store as well. After visiting the Hundertwasser House, we decided to go for dinner at a restaurant called The Room. The food was great – I recommend trying the white wine called Gelber Muskateller-Hagn; it’s a dry wine yet semi-sweet. For dessert I ordered apple strudel and it was a great way to end my day in Vienna. The next morning I left the hostel to catch my flight at the Vienna International Airport. Public transport is easy to get around, so there’s no reason to spend money on a taxi. My adventure is not over in Vienna – one day soon I will pick up where I left off because there’s still soo much more that the city has to offer that I must see. Until next time Vienna!