After two months in Cape Town, I left to finish my travel goals for the year by visiting 4-5 more countries in Europe (It will be a year since I left home on August 14). I felt it was important to get back out there and onto my original plan. I found a very happy place in Cape Town, but I didn’t want to lose sight of my “travel mission.”
I was so excited to be going back to up to the EU for the rest of summer- for more reasons than one. It’s been cold in Cape Town and the itch to hit the road was full on. I craved more passport stamps, the wind in my hair and all the excitement of a new place. I missed the extremely intense feeling of independence that can only come after boarding an international flight on a one-way ticket. It’s safe to say I’ve become addicted to new places- addicted to the high that comes with it- and I’ve always been addicted to flying. I’m a natural born travel addict, and staying still in Cape Town for so long had me itching to move again.
So, I returned to Europe and flew into Vienna.
Austria was always on my list of must-see countries. My mother tells me I have Austrian and Hungarian in our heritage, which made it particularly interesting learning the history of the country. Also, I read too many Marie Antoinette books throughout my life- so I was pretty excited to see the Schönbrunn Palace where her family reigned and she was raised until being sent off to France…and well we know the rest of that story.
I was mostly excited to meet the people and experience the feel of the city. When you have an ancestral connection to a place, you’re naturally curious as to how people are culturally and socially. Maybe you’ll find you have some things in common. Or maybe you’ll just find a new culture that inspires you.
Vienna did not disappoint.
Where I Slept…
Because I planned for a full week in the city, I arranged to stay at two different hostels in completely different parts of Vienna.
Both hostels provided me with everything I needed and helped me make the most of my time.
Hostel Ruthensteiner is just minutes from the city center by foot, tram or metro. I found the location to be perfect for me- just busy enough AND quiet enough. The rooms were super cool, each one modeled after a different famous philosopher, musician or composer from Austria. Mine was modeled after Sigmund Freud with his quotes written on the walls and framed. I loved it!
In addition to the beautiful rooms, I loved all of the people I met at this hostel- staff and guests.
I also stayed with was Hostel Huttledorf, about 30-45 min outside of the city center by metro. Even though it’s a bit out of the way, the location is really beautiful and quiet. Very relaxing and surrounded by green trees and pretty scenery.
This hostel would be considered “old school” in terms of today’s wide array of budget accommodation options. The property is pretty big and has almost 300 beds. My favorite part of the hostel was all of the greenery surrounding the buildings. The back “yard” of the hostel is the prefect spot for a picnic. I found the beds to be really comfortable and the facilities sufficient.
This would be a great hostel for anyone traveling in groups as it is such a large property. As a solo traveler, I found it a bit more difficult to meet people at first. By day two, however, I was in the swing of things again with new friends and out navigating the city’s metro.
Favorite Things to See/Do
On my second day in Vienna, I made friends with my two room mates Ayana and Imelda from Germany. We went and explored the city together, visiting Schönbrunn Palace and gardens together. The palace reminded me the Palace of Versailles (Marie Antoinette must have brought some inspiration over?).
Then there’s Belvedere Palace, adorned with a immaculately manicured lawn out front that makes you think of Alice in Wonderland. I loved this palace before even seeing it, just for its name, Belvedere Palace.
Two of my favorite things:
Stephansplatz (City Center)
Filled with every boutique you could ever want and endless cafes, you could wander around here all day…so I did. It was so hard to resist shopping! Luckily (I guess) the rain started pouring that day I in the city center, driving everyone off the streets and into the nearest cafe. I found wine and a table outside and watched the people go by. It was beautiful.
Much like nearby city Budapest, Vienna has many free water stations throughout their city. Coming from the notoriously draught California, this is something I get really excited about!
Random Awesomeness Like this wave pool full of surfers in the middle of the city (hosted by none of other than CORONA beer…So random…But yes, I had one! When in Vienna, surf in a pool and drink Mexican beer, right?
I could gush for hours, but I won’t keep you. Go book your flight to Vienna now!
It’s so worth it.