We got to Vienna via night train from Kraków Glowny Station. We had a 2 person sleeper cabin which was very private. We slept fairly well except for the train jerking to a holt at every stop through the night and waking us. The train goes through the Czech Republic to reach Austria and takes approx 9 hours.
We dropped our bags at our hotel and went exploring. It was actually such a treat to see Vienna at such a quiet time of day (7.30am) but a coffee break (or three) were definitely needed.
We visited one of Vienna’s coffee houses (something they are known for, apparently) and the coffee was indeed one of the best I have had. On the other hand, the service was the worst I had ever seen. The waiter barked the menu items at us and upon paying the bill he threw the change down on to the table and then said ‘the service is not included’… Well you’re too rude to benefit from a tip anyway Mr.
We explored the Hofburg and went inside the Kaiserappartments of Emporor Franz Josef and Empress Elizabeth. I usually don’t enjoy this sort of history as much as more modern history but this I found surprisingly interesting and would recommend to anyone visiting Vienna. This was as an alternative to the very popular horse training that occurs at certain times each day. After seeing a video clip of this we decided it actually appeared more cruel than entertaining.
On our second day in Vienna we had exhausted all of the central monuments bar one so we payed the obligatory visit to Stephansdom and went to the top of the bell to see the view of the city. This was really lovely but I realised I am growing increasingly unnerved by heights.
The Stephansdom was crawling with tourists, almost uncomfortably so, so we got the Metro to the Naschmarkt. The Naschmarkt is on the other side of the city and is a market selling fresh food and fruit and veg. We picked up chorizo, cheese, rolls, olives, and other antipasti and headed to a nice park I had seen on the map which had a long thin offshoot of the Danube running in to it.
When we found this we realised it was mostly dry except for a few swans desperately trying to have a swim and a drink in the hot Vienna sun.
That evening we ate at Vapiano, a chain restaurant but nonetheless a great one. It is a new concept (for me anyway) whereby you choose a pasta type and a sauce and they prepare it all fresh in front of you. It was really cool and the food tasted great.
Vienna was definitely one of the best cities I have visited in Europe.