Austria is the country of the Alps, the yodelers and the calm cows eating grass. It is the home of beautiful landscapes and clean cities. The capital is in Wien, Vienna in English, which is a city who looks back at a rich history and is nowadays a place where people meet from all around the country, the continent and the world.
Vienna is a great city that I forgot how much I liked. I have been there before, and I must say, it’s a city you want to go back to. When I arrived, I was being waited by snow (even though it was spring) and a clean train station.
I had to buy one of those one-week-public-transportation-card which costs about 15 euros. The bad part is that it goes from Mondays to Sundays, so if I stay from Wednesday to Wednesday, I need to buy two. You can’t have them all.
On my first day I ate a falafel on a subway station, I went to the bathroom at the University and went to a bar. The falafel was OK, but I had better, the bathroom had no bizarre messages on the walls and the bar was nice because the music was not too loud.
Of course I went to Austria’s capital most touristic sites: the Stephansdom, the Albertina, the MQ and so on. I don’t think I need to mention that they are all in a great shape.
One of my first notes of this visit was that here you can hear all languages being spoken and all accents. For the second day, I don’t have many plans, but I want to find out why I could not find a local drink I knew, the Almdudler.
On the second day I spent here, I can say I lived a premiere for me. It was the first moment of my life that I saw a rhino! And a panda! I also saw some local animals, like horses carrying touristic carriages. Of course, when I saw the rhino I thought of Dürer’s 1515 rhino.
The city of Vienna was and still is famous for the Schönbrunn castle, located somewhere further than the city center. It’s a great place and it kind of reminded me of the Versailles gardens in France. The castle is watched upon by a beauty of a building, called the Gloriette. If you go there, you see a great panorama of Austria’s capital. Vienna, like many European capitals, develops on the horizontal more and on the vertical less. But probably in the future they will have more skyscrapers too.
During my stay in Vienna, I also visited the Votiv church, which I feel is one of the undiscovered attractions of this Danube town. The Votiv churc is the home of some amazing gothic colors and vibrations.
On a cold April Austrian morning, I was taken to the Augarten, which is a garden or a park, in which there are two towers which were used in WW2 as pots from which they used to fire canons. It was quite impressive, as I had never seen something similar before and brought the horror we know about the war from TV to life.
There are many things that go unnoticed here but actually have a great impact on life as a whole. Looking back, the immigrants, the all-you-can-eat restaurants and the small kebab places create a whole new definition of what Vienna is.
As night falls, people get ready for the week-end. They turn on the lights, put on designer clothes and go out to the movies, get-togethers and parties. I actually went out a couple of times with a bunch of people I didn’t know and weren’t much planning on getting to know. But they were all different, some were German, others Austrian-Romanians, others Romanians, some had lived in other EU countries, some lived in completely different cultures. It’s interesting to see how everyone has their own story.
I found a Almdudler, the juice I was looking for and I also found other “Alms” which had quite a racist package: a blond Austrian drinking a juice in the Alps, but it tasted quite well.
I noticed that I really liked my stay in Vienna because of the Austrian way of doing things and the culture clash that is so present there: I went to an Indian store, had Asian food and met people from other countries.
If I can have a say, I can say that this Danube city is a very lovely place to find yourself in and I’m not going to say no to traveling there again, as it is very lively and constantly changing.
Have a look at some photos I took in april 2013: