Ah! I cannot believe that Spring Break (Or “Easter Break” as it is referred to by Europe) is finally here! Over the next two weeks, I will be traveling through Vienna, Munich, Prague, Berlin, and Amsterdam with my friends Kristy and Rachel.
This trip is an absolute dream come true – we’ve been planning it for MONTHS! We booked a Eurorail pass back in semester and are hopping around cities via the train which is SUCH a relaxing way to travel. I am definitely going to miss the ease of traveling back at home!
A few quick and dirty Vienna tips:
1) Vienna was NOT card friendly! I’m not sure what it is about Europe but each city is so different when it comes to money! Austria uses the Euro so make sure to pick some up at the ATM as soon as you arrive!
2) Getting around is easy! We skipped out on a travel card and were about to walk nearly everywhere from the Wombat Lounge Hostel (such a nice place to stay!)
3) Make dinner reservations!
4) Check out the Spanish Riding School for a super cool and entertaining cultural experience!
Getting punk’d in Vienna
So some of you might have already seen my Facebook post about getting punk’d at our hostel in Vienna! Here is the full story if you haven’t read it already:
After a 20 minute walk in the rain and a long travel day, we rolled up to our hostel fairly exhausted and soaking wet. Let’s just say we were all not looking our best. We struggled to get in the door with all our luggage and then walked up to the counter. I had made the reservation so I told the guy my name and information. Without looking anything up, the guy immediately told us: “I’m sorry, we are actually overbooked this weekend.”
Confused, we nervously laughed and told him we had put down a deposit for a 4-person room reservation.
He proceeded to tell us that if we wanted, we could room in an 8-person mixed room with 5 Russian men. We were extremely confused and assumed he was joking and again asked him to look up our reservation. Then, he told us that if we wanted to dance on the bar we could have our room for free. We started to get angry and frustrated and kept explaining to him that we had made a deposit. He asked us why we made a reservation in a 4-person room when we were only 3 people and started demanding we pay for the 4th bed too. When he saw our American passports, he started making Trump jokes.
We were all extremely confused and starting getting angry when all of a sudden, we looked up and several men with cameras were in front of us with lights and cameras in our faces. We had been punk’d for an Austrian TV show! We all burst into laughter and were all quite shocked. I can honestly say that it was one of the strangest things that has ever happened to me. Our trip sure started off with a bang!
Things I loved about Vienna:
Because my friends and I will be traveling for a little over two weeks, we didn’t want to burn ourselves out on the first stop. We each took charge of planning a city and then met as a group to set an itinerary outline for each place! We focused on coming up with one or two main activities per day with alternate options in case we wanted to do more. Kristy was in charge of Vienna and everything that we did was absolutely fabulous!
After our punk’d incident, we decided to eat dinner nearby and call it an early night. Food-wise, you really can’t go wrong in Vienna. Of course, I had to order beer and Schnitzel!
At the Schonbrunn Palace the next day, they had a special Easter market set up. This was the perfect place to buy some souvenirs for friends and try some cheap street food! I had some spaetzle and Vienna sausage, both of which were amazing!
Tatjana’s sister recommended a place called the 25 hour hotel for their rooftop bar. The view of the city is incredible! We liked the bar so much that we decided to eat dinner at their downstairs restaurant. I had an amazing funghi pizza.
My favorite “tourist” activities were the Schonbrunn Palace, St. Stephen’s Cathedral and the Spanish Riding School!
The Schonbrunn Palace was a great way to start off our trip because you get SO much Vienna history in a short amount of time. We spent about 4 hours here between visiting the market, touring the Palace, and the gorgeous gardens.
St. Stephen’s Cathedral is probably the coolest gothic church I’ve ever seen. It is free to walk inside and an absolute must for any trip to Vienna. The outside is quite impressive but the inside blew my mind. It is so incredibly dark and gothic and does not scream “church” at all to me but yet, it is beautiful. As you may notice, some of the sculptures are covered in a strange silver aluminum blanket that resembles a shock-blanket you might see at the scene of a fire. This is the work of an artist hoping to make a statement – we all need help at certain times in our lives. She also states that it is time to cover up men, too.
The Spanish Riding School has been a tradition for more than 450 years! I had no idea what to expect from the show but even from the nosebleed seats, we were in awe. This was a fun way to experience an important part of Viennese culture!
Other fun things:
While in Vienna, we got to spend time with one of our friends from St. Clare’s, Augusta, who is from Geneva, Switzerland! It was so much fun to see her and spend time with her again.
We were lucky to finally have some good weather on both days of our trip! Walking along the Danube river and checking out the graffiti and grabbing an ice cream can’t be beat. The historic city hall area is also a must-see. We were shocked to see so many Roman elements throughout the city!
Each morning, we swung by a local Austrian bakery to grab coffee and a croissant or doughnut. Sometimes, these casual times with friends are some of the best! As always, our time in Vienna went by super quickly and now we are in Munich learning even more about Germanic culture. Updates to come!