No waltzing for Nick
17.07.2013 - 20.07.2013 30 °C
After our ordeal on the night train we were both exhausted, but went straight to our hostel; Wobats http://www.wombats-hostels.com/vienna/ which had been recommended by some people we had met in Interlaken. It was only about a 15 minute walk and relatively easy to find (despite our Google Map directions taking us the long way round!).
Not surprisingly our rooms were not ready for us (it was only 09.00 by this point!), so we dumped our bags and set off. Nick had mentioned early on that we was not feeling that great, but he persevered as we hit the TI and started a long (and free) self guided walking tour of the city taking in the majority of the major sights.
Central Vienna is beautiful with stunning architecture on every street corner and in every direction you look. The city is also famous for its large amount of green spaces so it did not take us long to settle down in a nice park to enjoy our sandwiches and soak up some of the baking heat! The rest of the day was fairly lazy and we ended up crashing and burning and were both in bed by 19.30 and slept straight through until morning - just shows night trains are not the way to go!
Our hostel offered a free walking tour so our intention was to do this on our second morning and see if we could learn some more about the sights we had seen the previous day, however Nick still wasn't feeling great, so much so he was actually in pain when he walked. The walking tour was off - but I had a back up plan! Schloss Schönbrunn was only a couple of metro stops away and is billed as Vienna's Versailles - rightly so! It is absolutely stunning and huge! The gardens are free so obviously this was a winner for us!! We spent a good couple of hours exploring them, although at one point it go so hot (around 33 we think) we had to take a break and sat on a bench in the shade for a good hour. We made our way back into the city and after walking around for a short while Nick was still in pain so we ended up sitting in a park for the rest of the afternoon.
That night we got talking to our roommates, two Scottish teenager (Cameron and Kiera) who were travelling around for a month and ended up talking until the wee-hours! Because of this, all four us did not wake up until gone midday - oops! Just shows how tired we are making ourselves! Anyway, Nick was feeling a little better and was happy to walk into the centre of Vienna. Due to our late start we had again missed the free-walking tour (and this was our final day to do it! - Never mind!). We walked in and went into a couple of the shops en route before heading to St. Stephen's Cathedral which apparently had amazing views from the top of the spire (despite the 366 steps to get there!). There is no denying the interior of the Cathedral is beautiful (all be it packed full of tourist), but as we started to take in our surroundings we realised that you were only able to walk around a very small part. To get into the central aisle (apologies my church terminology is not good!) you had to pay €3 for the privilege, to go into the catacombs was €5, to go up both towers was €5 each, to see the Cathedral Treasury was another €4. So after realising this was very commercial capitalism at it's best and after Nick ranting about the Catholic church being the richest organisation in the world we decided to boycott it. The rest of the day was then spent doing our favourite free activity which you may have guessed by now. Sitting in the park!
Vienna is beautiful and we probably would have had a very different experience (both in the city and our party hostel) if Nick had not been ill, but it is not a city either of us would rush back to. Yes it is nice to walk round and admire the architecture and absorb the atmosphere and if you are a massive music lover you will probably enjoy the many operas, but unless you have very deep pockets to visit every museum, palace or drink at lots of nice coffee shops, there is not a massive amount to do for the budget traveller.
It was then time to jump on our train and head back into Germany with promise of Bavarian beer and Bratwurst!