We woke up for our first day in Vienna slightly more refreshed, (if still a bit sweaty) but ready to explore the city. We were disappointed to discover that unlike every other city it did not offer the free walking tour we had become accustomed to. All of the tours Vienna did were more than we were willing to pay. Instead, we would have to establish our bearings on our own, we decided to rely on Harrie’s phone and google to tell us about the grandeur of Vienna. It seems everywhere you turn in Vienna there is another architectural wonder steeped in history. We began in Heldenplatz square build, which is vast full of huge grand buildings, it was built to be part of the imperial palace during the Habsburg monarchy.
It is also notorious as the site of Hitler’s speech from the Neue Burg.
Across the road are two of Vienna’s main museums the Kunsthistorisches Museum Wien and the Museum of Natural History.
Never too far from the random and obscure in Europe, sat outside was a horse playing the accordion.
We were already struggling with the price of everything in Vienna, it doesn’t seem to be the kind of place to be living on a shoestring budget like we were. Entry to the museums was more than we were willing to pay and with the weather being so idyllic it seemed a shame to be inside at any rate. Luckily what Vienna does excel in are public parks and gardens, they seem to be everywhere. It is by far the most green we have seen in any city thus far, so we spent a while strolling around the Volksgarten park and rose garden in the extreme Austrian heat.
Continuing on our self-guided tour, we visited more of the famous landmarks in Vienna like the parliament and the opera house. I wish we had the money to see an opera, previously this statement would never have come out my mouth, but being here you can really see why, the building itself is an event.
After all, our walking around we had a well-deserved rest in the Burggarten just outside the imperial butterfly house. Which I also really wish we had gone in but at the extortionate price of 6.50 euros for one room, seemed a too much. Instead, we decided to relax, sunbathe and take in the scenery.
Our next stop was the Rathausplaza, this square is full of life and always seems to be busy. The Rathaus in Vienna’s city hall and a very impressive building towering over the rest of the square. There were lots of things going on in the square, with an evening open-air cinema and food market we decided looked too good to not try. Starving and wanting to spend our money on the right food we walked from stall to stall trying to decide what looked most appetising. We eventually all decided and sat down to eat in the square.
With still more of Vienna to explore, we went to visit the Votive Church, which thankfully was free to enter and definitely worth it.
Returning back to the hostel we decided to explore the Naschmarkt, after our initial confusion yesterday it was live and booming today. I think we had anticipated it to be a market square when in fact it’s more like two long rows of raised stalls on a raised pavement so that you can’t see the extent of the market from the ground. If you are ever in Vienna I would highly recommend a visit, what it lacks in visual appeal it massively makes up for in its amazing food options. It is predominantly a food market but has a range of stalls from souvenirs, every herb and spice to little cafes and traditional Austrian food. I was thrilled to finally get hold of a traditional Austrian strudel.
Finally arriving back to the room in stifling heat we noticed the boys dorm room opposite had windows that were fully open. As we loudly exclaimed to the corridor, ‘omg you can open the windows further!’ Resulting in a rather intense debate as to who had tried them yesterday and said they didn’t open any further. This was quickly brushed aside by our relief at being able to let in more air into our current sauna.
We never actually found out what the cooking facilities at Wombats were like as you will discover our dinner plans got altered. After relaxing in the room for a while we decided to make the most of the hostels happy hour and play some card games and do some food shopping later. Although what happened next I’m not too sure as the bar was fairly busy I went up to the room to get some more money. When I arrived back Harrie, Beth and Lucy had befriended two Dutch girls and were all pretty tipsy. The Dutch girls were teaching us new drinking games and the alcoholic beverages were well underway. We decided to recruit more people for our games so Harrie and Lucy went to ask a group of French boys. At first, they declined our invitation but then realised we were having far too much fun to not join. As the hours passed away we quickly went to the shop to grab some food before it closed, as delicious as a dinner of crisps and hummus is, it wasn’t exactly the nutritious meal we had planned. Our games were hitting a few difficulties with language barriers, never have I ever was just becoming impossible. So we compromised playing ring of fire with a mixture of English, Dutch and French rules, resulting in hilarity until a rule was made that we could only speak in French. This for me was a nightmare having learnt German and Spanish at school and never done a day of french in my life. I was rendered a relative mute relying on whispered answers from the others. Our games also attracted another English traveller who weirdly enough have connections to three of us, he lived in Leeds, was the son of Beth’s doctor and went to the school that Lucy lifeguards at.
Fuelled by alcohol and our new found friends, we abandoned our previous plans to stay in again and pack. (as Beth was leaving tomorrow) and we were moving to a different hostel. As we still didn’t really know Vienna we got a map and some general directions from the hostel staff. We ended up walking through the streets of Vienna lead by a group of drunken French guys singing football songs. While the Dutch girls were the only ones who spoke both excellent French and English attempted to mediate the conversation.
After walking around for about half an hour and failing to find the so-called bar. We stumbled across an Irish pub. This would do for now as we decided to order drinks. But as Vienna has very strict noise laws and everyone was being rather rowdy, so the bar staff were keen to help us find a club and move along. With Beth’s flight home looming her and Lucy decided to try and find their way home, while me Harrie, five french guys and two dutch girls embarked on another adventure across the streets of Vienna. Having only one map, no phone battery and very loose directions, Harrie and one of the french guys got into an argument about who should lead, which Harrie thankfully won or who knows how long we would have been walking. It turned out the club was another forty minutes away, when we arrived we were instantly aware it was probably one of the dodgiest places I’ve ever been in my life.
The club was right on the river and after searching the next day I believe it was called flex. On the stairs down to the river bank, we were greeted by a host of terrifying men, half of whom were trying to sell us drugs and the other half soliciting sex. If you want to know more of what this club is like then read some of the reviews on TripAdvisor they are equally colourful. Inside the club was no better it was equally grungy, dark and damp, but hey lots of clubs are, despite it being pretty terrifying and many questionable characters. The atmosphere in there was great and reminded me of the warehouse project. The music was however unlike any I have heard at a club before it was rock and electronic which separate I have no issue with but combined was too heavy and a bit crazy. Trying to dance to it also encountered some issues, one that the Dutch girls didn’t share as they complained it wasn’t heavy enough. They seemed to have developed their own style of dancing the just kind of involved throwing yourself around. The club also had an interesting policy that I think clubs in the Uk should adopt where you had to pay for your cup as well as drink, so when you went back to the bar it was cheaper.
I spent most of the time trying to ignore the unsettling feeling of being in this terrifying place, which wasn’t helped when Harrie returned from the toilets, saying that a girl in there was crying to her friend about some creepy guy and bleeding on the floor. The outside was a small improvement and at least in the light felt a bit safer. The French guys had enough and were ready to leave so we negotiated with them that if they were leaving four girls on there own in this place we were allowed to keep the map. So we let them wander off on their own with the hour walk through the streets of Vienna ahead of them, wonder if we’d ever see them again. We stayed for another half an hour than when it was starting to get light decided to head back as well. After walking along the river bank we managed to find a taxi, luckily the Dutch girls also spoke adequate German for us to negotiate a price and get back to the hostel.