Today was a busy day! But to finish off yesterday…I did go out and find dinner at a Turkish restaurant just around the corner from the hostel. It was delicious!! I had a falafel sandwich and hummus with a Turkish tea. The hummus may have been the best I’ve ever had! It ended up being a lot of food though so they packed it to go for me so I’m having it again for dinner tonight.
After dinner I came back and went to my room and just messed around on my computer/phone for a few hours and finally fell asleep around midnight.
This morning I finally made it out of bed before breakfast ends (breakfast ends at 1030, whoops) so I grabbed breakfast at the hostel, which wasn’t great…just cereal, bread/butter, fruit and tea/coffee for 3.50 Euro. I guess you’re paying for convenience? Oh well, it did its job. I had decided that today would be my walk around and see all of the major sites day. I used two really cool maps that the hostel provides to figure out exactly what I wanted to do. The headline on both maps is “free map for young travelers made by locals.” So it has all this great info on the coolest sights, restaurants, bars, coffeehouses and shopping. Before you read all of this, keep in mind that I walked over 22,000 steps today! Here is what I saw today and some info provided by the handy maps…
- Now called Haus des Meeres, this tall building was one of the air defense towers from WWII. It sits in the middle of Vienna as a “colossal” reminder of the war. It has been converted into a zoo/aquarium. Entrance to the zoo/aquarium is almost $20 but you can buy a ticket to the observation deck on the 9th floor for $5. You have to climb 192 steps to get to said observation deck but it’s definitely worth it! You get 360 degree views of the city. It’s incredible. Definitely one of the coolest sights I’ve seen. here I love that they took this old building with a not so great past (WWII wasn’t exactly kind to Austria) and made it this cool new spot in the city with a new life. All of the corners of the observation deck are rounded and they look like helicopter landing pads (to me at least). On the descent, I noticed you could see through the glass into some of the exhibits (the stairs are on the outside of the building). So I did get to see some cute little monkeys and iguanas. The rock wall you can also use to get to the top of the air defense tower…I chose the stairs. The stairs up to the observation deck with the rounded corners (don’t they look like helicopter landing pads?).The logo of the aquarium/zoo.This is written on the side of the building on one side in English and the other in German (or at least I’m assuming). I don’t know if it has anything to do with it’s history from WWII but that’s what I’d like to think. Views of Vienna from the observation deck.More views.
- Naschmarkt is a public market with sit-down restaurants, flower stalls, spice stalls and all kinds of food stalls (including lots of fish!) so basically it’s Pike Place Market. It’s also very touristy but still a cool experience. A fresh fruit stand at the market.
- Karlsplatz square is a really cool park in front of St. Charles’ Church. Lots of people hang out here and there are a few cafes.
- Musikvereinconcerthall is the home base of the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra.
- Burggarten is a park next to the Imperial Palace where a lot of locals hang out. It has statues and a pond throughout it.
- Lunch! One of the maps recommended a place called Soho Katine that is in the Imperial Palace. It had a really cool atmosphere (the map likened it to a New York atmosphere) and a set menu. Of course, I didn’t exactly understand the set menu, but from what I could understand menu 1 had cous cous and menu 2 had schnitzel (which would most likely be pork). I decided to get menu 1 and it was delicious! It was cous cous with vegetables in a tomato sauce. And you got a dessert which I can best describe as rice pudding. It was orange flavored and pretty good.These were my options (there was also a printed menu inside that was easier to read ;).My meal! I ate all of it 🙂
- Walked around and saw the State Opera House, Der Steffl (impressive cathedral), Volkstheater (2nd oldest theatre in Europe!), Imperial Palace, Museum of Art History, Museums Quarter, Parliament, City Hall and the University! Luckily these are all conveniently located within a few square blocks.
Imperial Palace. The Volkstheater.
- I bought a ticket to the Spanish Riding schools performance on Friday evening entitled, “A Tribute to Vienna.” There will be an orchestra playing while the Lipizzan horses do their thing. I’m pretty excited!
After all of that, I walked back the hostel and now here we are. I had my leftover dinner from last night, which was still delicious! I’m going to ask the reception about going to Wachau tomorrow- it’s a little valley on the Danube river about 1.5 hours away from Vienna with picturesque towns and wine tasting! I wanted to do a biking tour of it through “Vienna Explorer” but they don’t have a tour tomorrow and I wouldn’t be back in time on Friday to make it to the Spanish Riding school performance. So I’m going to attempt to go on my own sans bike.