Callum’s 2015 Adventures: Interrailing pt.6 Vienna, Austria

“Vienna is a handsome, lively city,
and pleases me exceedingly”
– Frederic Chopin

Day 14: Austria 29.08.15

Plan of Action:

  • Explore Vienna
  • Visit the Hofburg Palace
  • Visit St. Stephens Cathedral

Vienna. Mighty Vienna. A place whose beauty is renowned throughout Europe. After a lovely time in Prague, I was really looking forward to being spoilt by what Vienna had to offer and, during the day at least, I was not let down.

We arrived in the midst of a heatwave and, what do heatwaves mean? Mosquitoes. Mosquitoes everywhere. It wasn’t long before I found myself covered in bites from head to toe. Honestly, I felt like I was an all-you-can-eat-buffet.

Our hostel was actually situated in one of the suburban-type areas just outside of Vienna, so we had to take a train from where we were staying into a place called Karlsplatz. From here – according to our map – it was a 10-15minute walk to where all the museums were. However despite me doing Duke of Edinburgh Bronze, Silver, and Gold, my map-reading skills are really truly poor.

Long-story short? I got us lost.

Not that the “detour” was a bad thing. With blue skies, time to burn, and surrounded my extravagant buildings there are a lot worse places to get lost.

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Very quickly I learnt that nearly every building in Vienna is a brilliant, blinding white. It’s strange. It’s a constant display of wealth that I often found to be overwhelming and over-bearing. This feeling was best symbolized by the Hofburg Palace, one of the most stunning pieces of architecture I have ever seen. Although the real gem was the butterfly house within the palace’s garden.

I really didn’t want to go to begin with but I am delighted that Faye basically forced me. Butterflies are truly magnificent creatures and the colours of the ones here were absolutely breathtaking.

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Following this our attention was stolen by two near-identical buildings; the Museum of National History and the Museum of Cultural History, divided by an elaborate statue that looked like someone had tried to do too much. The afternoon saw us head back to the hostel and take a nap in the shade so we could have some shelter from the sun before heading back out in the evening.

With Vienna proving to be such a delight during the day, we hoped that similar would be the case at night. Unfortunately it was at night when Vienna proceeded to disappoint. In the worst sort of way as well.

As we had expected the buildings were lit up at night, but it wasn’t the visual spectacle we thought it would be. It was, well, plain. Even St. Stephen’s Cathedral, Vienna’s centre-piece, failed to inspire.

I had such great expectations as well. Vienna was one of the cities I was most looking forward to visiting but, after falling in love with the city during the day, I quickly fell out of love with it at night.

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