A Travellerspoint blog

Austria

The Viennese Wetz

Vienna

all seasons in one day 26 °C
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Less than a month after having visited Salzburg, Chris and I were heading back to Austria, and this time to the capital - Vienna. Although I had been to Austria three times previously, this was the first time I would be actually flying in, as all previous times had been en route via a neighbouring country.

After taking an early morning flight, we arrived in Vienna mid morning, and made our way to our hotel, where we hoped to be able to check in early, or at least leave our bags before exploring.

Upon arrival our room was being cleaned, and so we waited for ten minutes, whilst being offered a complimentary drink, despite being two hours before official check in - brilliant customer service!

With the weather at home being terrible (rarely above 20C, despite it being the middle of summer), the hot and sunny 35C Vienna was welcome. However as a storm was to hit tomorrow, this would be our only day with these kind of temperatures, and so we made the most of it going out in shorts. Did we need a raincoat? Not today we didn't!

We headed over to the Schönbrunn, where our first sight was the zoo, where one year old pandas and koalas lived - something unique! Beginning with the panda talk, it became clear that for many of the animals the prolonged heat had worn them out.

Panda Cub

Panda Cub

As we toured the zoo the clouds started to darken and noises could be heard. Hoping it was just lorries, it soon became clear this was impending thunder. Hoping we could avoid it was too much to ask, and as we were almost done in the zoo we headed up a wooded hill when the heavens opened. Without raincoats or umbrellas we ran from tree to tree to avoid the rain, before entering a farm animal building along with many other visitors who had the same problem as us.

After hanging about for 10 minutes, the rain looked like it had eased a little and so we decided to carry on anyway - we were far from the metro station and still had a few things to see.

Gloriette

Gloriette

Leaving the zoo we entered the Schönbrunn Palace Gardens and ran between the trees viewing the Gloriette before heading down towards the Palace building itself. Even in the rain it was pretty but it was a shame the rain prevented us from spending more time enjoying the area.

Schönbrunn Palace

Schönbrunn Palace

After having taken photos between the trees and under what little shelter we could find, we headed back towards the metro station as the rain stopped - typical!

Having grabbed food we headed back to the hotel where we could dry off and have a good night's sleep after the busy long day. However not long after we had fallen asleep, the bulk of the storm arrived and in the midst of over thirty flashes of lightning we went off back to sleep.

As the storm had arrived early, it did mean that the following day would be almost entirely dry, despite being over 10C cooler. After having had breakfast, we headed into the city centre to view the old city.

St. Stephen's Cathedral

St. Stephen's Cathedral

Beginning with the St. Stephen's Cathedral, we then headed via many souvenir shops to the Hofburg Palace, the Royal Palace and where the Spanish Riding School is based.

Hofburg

Hofburg

By now we had made it to the Ringstraße, the ring road where some of the grandest and most important city buildings are located. Beginning at the Burgtheater, we crossed the ring outside the City Hall, where the Vienna Film Festival is held.

City Hall

City Hall

Walking around the building, we then went past the Parliament building and headed down to the Museum Quarter and the Maria Theresa Square, where many of the buildings were in the same style.

Charles Church

Charles Church

We then diverged from the ring road and made our way to the Charles Church, before arriving at our last destination in the city centre - the Heroes' Monument. This monument, a Russian language Soviet War Memorial was completely out of place in the imperial city, but highlighted the mid 20th century reality of this Central European city.

Soviet War Memorial

Soviet War Memorial

Having seen the sights of the city centre, we headed back to the hotel for a rest before we went for an evening walk to the Danube, not far from our hotel, where we could see the UN buildings over the mighty river.

The Viennese Danube

The Viennese Danube


The Prater

The Prater

Heading back our last sight was the Prater, where we would grab dinner in the Rollercoaster Restaurant and tour the amusement park.

Rollercoaster Restaurant

Rollercoaster Restaurant

After a busy day we went back to the hotel and chilled before our final full day tomorrow in Bratislava.

Vienna, like all the other Central European capitals of Prague and Budapest is very grand and has beautiful buildings. However despite it being on the Danube, the river flows on the outskirts of the city and with very little hills I personally prefer the others, who also have the river, bridges and hills to see, whereas the focus on Vienna is simply it's grand buildings. Nevertheless it's a beautiful city, and was a lovely place to visit.

Tips

Posted by kmmk17 11:13 Archived in Austria Tagged rain architecture culture palace zoo city parliament vienna&bratislava Comments (0)

Sightseeing in Salzburg

Bavaria - Salzburg

overcast 19 °C
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After the Côte d'Azur, the next summer trip away was to Bavaria.

Originally Bavaria and Austria were planned to be undertaken as a week's holiday, however after trying to combine them failed due to flight times we decided to separate them into two weekend trips. The first would be based in Munich, with day trips around, before visiting Vienna and Bratislava a month later.

We began by flying out to Munich airport on Friday night, getting to the hotel quite late and going straight to sleep before our first day trip the following morning.

Giving ourselves a bit of a lie in, followed by breakfast, we eventually made it on the 10:40 train to Salzburg, which was pretty busy. Although as it was a Saturday in summer I guess this was hardly surprising. We had bought ourselves a Bayern Ticket, allowing us travel anywhere within Bavaria, a well as neighbouring towns, for €31 for the two of us all day long, including on local transport. As Salzburg was the first place over the Austrian border, this meant our ticket was valid and thus after a two hour train ride, we entered the Austrian city.

Although Salzburg is renowned as the city of the Sound of Music, to many Austrians, this film is unknown, and the city is, well, a city. Much of the movie was not filmed in the city at all, and only based upon sights within it. Therefore, although some of the sights would be seen, it would for the most part not feel like being on a film set. In fact, the city initially did not evoke the Alpine image at all... crossing over the river and border, the first images were of logging and wood chippings, before factories and the urban city station.

The Mirabell Gardens

The Mirabell Gardens

Eventually walking into the city past many urban buildings, we arrived at the Mirabell Gardens - some beautiful landscaped gardens beside the Mirabell Palace, where many scenes from the Sound of Music were filmed. Although busy, we were still able to explore the gardens, before walking towards the Salzach River.

View from the bridge

View from the bridge

Walking past Mozart's home, we made our way to a bridge over the river for views of the city, and our first real Alpine views of the city.

One of the buildings built into the rock

One of the buildings built into the rock

We then walked past the old city towards the bottom of the Festungsberg, the hill on the south side of the river, separating the old city from the suburbs behind it. Attempting to climb up it, we eventually found the footpath much further down than we had expected, and after walking past some of the buildings built into the rock face, we made our way up the staircases to the top for views over the city.

View over the city

View over the city

After walking along the footpath we made our way back down, heading for the Petersfriedhof cemetery, where the end scene of the family hiding inside a tomb is based upon.

Petersfriedhof Cemetery

Petersfriedhof Cemetery

Heading out at the other end of the site, we headed for Residenzplatz, the main square by the cathedral, before walking to the Mozart Bridge, and eventually the house he was born in.

Mozart's Birthhouse

Mozart's Birthhouse

After having explored the city centre, we bought some souvenirs and then headed back to the train station for our return. Eventually getting onto the train itself after the driver stopped for a smoke, we made our way back past views of the Bavarian hills arriving in Munich two hours later.

Lederhosen shop

Lederhosen shop

After a quick rest at the hotel, we decided to go for a quick exploration of the city centre to seek out somewhere for our dinner tonight. Walking through the busy main street, past shops selling lederhosen, we eventually came across the LGBT event in the city this weekend, before returning and finding a restaurant for schnitzel.

LGBT event at the Main Square

LGBT event at the Main Square

Confusing the waiter with my (limited) German, we had a lovely German meal, before eventually returning to the hotel for the evening and tomorrow's adventure.

Posted by kmmk17 04:18 Archived in Austria Tagged hills walking city bavaria Comments (0)

Graz

Central Europe - Graz

sunny 26 °C
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Making it into Austria we were immediately hit by modernity...electronic updated travel information and electronic doors! Once we made it to Graz early than expected we decided to visit the local shopping centre, rather than cramming it into the plan for the next day - however we didn't realise that actually we arrived on a Bank Holiday, and so it was shut...

Uhrturm

Uhrturm

Scrapping that plan, the following day we started with visiting the house in Graz where my great grandmother lived, before climbing the Schloßberg and viewing the symbol of the city - the Uhrturm, and then making our way down into the market place. Being a small city we then had ample time to visit the shopping centre where we ate the classic Schnitzel, topping up our culinary delights after the Paprika Chicken in Hungary!

Posted by kmmk17 17:00 Archived in Austria Tagged history city hill homeland Comments (0)

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