I took another cheap, lush bus (these things are like planes, with your own screens in the head rests and all) to Vienna the day Dad left Prague. Although I wanted to see more of Austria, I’m going to have to leave places like Hallstatt for later on as I can’t fit everything in!
When travelling Europe by land, you don’t go through any sort of border stop or customs check. I took the photo above when my GPS told we we were crossing the border from Czech Republic into Austria; if you didn’t have a GPS or anything you wouldn’t have any idea.
The good thing about being in Europe is I’m able to meet up with more familiar faces as friends of mine travel around. My good buddy Paul was in Vienna on a Con-Tiki tour so needless to say, we caught up for a beer or 12.
Once Paul had taken off to his next stop and I recovered from my hangover, I did what I usually do when I’m in a new place and went for an extended walk around the city. I stopped in at a few places including renowned coffee shop Alt Wien, which served me one of the best cold brews I’ve had.
Even though many of them are destined for use as tour vehicles for tourists, I really enjoy watching all manner of old school cars driving around Europe.
Vienna is full of old Roman buildings, which make a nice change from the modern apartments you’d typically see in a CBD. This city has a lot of charm to it, and it’c clear to see that a certain type of image has been maintained, at least in the city centre.
A couple of days after seeing Paul, my sister and her boyfriend flew in to visit as they were also in The Netherlands for the same wedding my Dad went to. This was super cool, I also haven’t seen them both in 6 months. It’s been a bit of a reunion week!
The day after they flew in, we hired bikes from the hotel we were staying at and toured the city. I’d highly recommend doing this; Vienna is as flat as a pancake and well set up for bicycles, with special lanes everywhere. The bikes cost us 14 Euros for a day and night.
What we did is tour the main ‘ring’ of the city, which is where you’ll find most of the main sights to see. We just took it easy, it was Sunday so we didn’t have to deal with crowds and the weather wasn’t too hot, so it was a perfect day for it.
We pretty much stumbled across this sweet little pop up surf spot just outside of the centre, which was a perfect way to break up the day with a few beers and good entertainment. I wanted to have a go but couldn’t justify the price.
There is absolutely no law against alcohol in public here. You can drink a beer in the subway, outside a police station, pretty much anywhere really. There aren’t too many places where you can get a coffee with Baileys from a guy on a random street corner.
Cassandra and Dan kindly took me out for dinner for my recent birthday, which was rad. We went to a well known Austrian restaurant which serves generous portions of schnitzel, an Austrian favourite.
Now, this shit blew my mind. We popped into the local gas station where a bunch of guys jumped out of a limousine to have a cigarette next to the pumps, which is apparently standard practise when filling up your car here.
So, you’re allowed to smoke in the forecourt, but please put it out before you head inside to pay. What. The. Fuck.
We finished off the day by parking up our noble steeds and drinking a casual beer on a park bench. I felt like I was in Holland, or back in Asia. Good times.
Vienna is well known for its coffee culture. If, like me, you enjoy coffee, you need to visit several coffee houses and cafes. I’d recommend one called Coffee Couture. It’s not on a main road and you need to go searching for it but it’s well worth the hunt.
The good thing about heading out for a big night here is there’s always a Wiener / Hot Dog stall nearby to refill the tank with. Get amongst. I recommend the cheese sausage with extra mustard. Yeah.
As mentioned earlier, I didn’t have time to head further into Austria so I’ll reserve that for next time. However, I thoroughly enjoyed my time here and would definitely head back. Vienna isn’t a cheap place to visit, but it’s a good’n.