At the beginning of our stay in Budapest, Simon asked us if we would like to spend one night in Vienna. Thirty-six hours in the capital of Austria. We had not planned to visit this country due to the high cost of travelling for a year, but how could we refuse such an opportunity? We said YES, that’s for sure. We booked some train tickets Budapest-Vienna for August 8 and 9. It was a very comfortable and recent train where the 4 seats were facing 2×2 with a table in the middle. There was even a good Internet connection which allowed us to work on this post.
A night at the hotel
With our Marriott reward points, we were able to get a “free” accommodation for the night in Vienna. We all took the opportunity to take a long hot shower and to sleep in a comfortable bed with fluffy pillows. It was all about luxury! It is at this moment that we had our first comment from one of the boys saying that he was missing home and his bed. It felt very good to stay in an hotel for a change and we will repeat this experience in a near future.
The cost of living was much higher in Vienna than what we had experienced in Eastern Europe so far. The Canadian dollar is really depreciated against the Euro and a 10€ meal, actually costs $15 CAN, consequently the bill can get high very quickly for a family of four. We took the opportunity to be in Vienna in order to eat some Schnitzels and we ate those in an institution; Figlmueller, a tiny restaurant that exists since 1905. It’s a super busy place and the first location was so packed that they were sending people to their second restaurant nearby. The food was good and we had the opportunity to taste some amazing Austrian white wine. Apparently, Austria specializes in white wines. The service was impeccable and we don’t have anything bad to say about the restaurant, except perhaps the amount of our bill 😉
We found a new way to visit a city with an audio-guided walk. We downloaded an application by the famous travel guide Rick Steves to learn more about Vienna. It is therefore armed with our ipod and headphones that we walked through the old town to discover it with Rick Steve’s comments. There was a map included in order to not get lost and super interesting facts about the various highlights of the area such as St. Stephen’s Cathedral or the Vienna Opera or even the best places to eat a pastry. We learned a lot in a short period of time and it was super interesting. In the future, we will certainly try to find other audio-guided walks like that. Our walk brought us to the Hofburg Palace, another Castle of the Habsburg dynasty including the Empress Sissi. Since we already had visited the Gödöllö castle the day before, we decided to skip the visit of another castle and spend more time contemplating this magnificent castle from the outside.
When we had done our research to plan what we wanted to see during our short stay in Vienna, we saw that there was an amusement park only a subway station away from the hotel. What a great way to end our first day by going for rides in the oldest amusement park in the world. Arriving at Wurstelprater, we thought it was closed or the closing would be imminent since it was so quiet, but the site is open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. We were disappointed to see that the rides that were suppose to cost between 1.5€ and 5€ according to the website costed more around 4€ per person per ride, which is pretty high for a small ride for a family of four. So we enjoyed our walk on the site and we decided to bring the boys to La Ronde upon our return to Canada. There they’ll be able to enjoy as many rides as they want for a fraction of the price. Anyway, we were glad to have the opportunity to see with our own two eyes the iconic Ferris wheel which dates from 1897.
The next day, we decided to visit the Mozart House Museum located near the St.Stephen Cathedral. This is the apartment where Mozart lived for the longest time and in the most luxury. This was a visit that Kolya wanted to do since he really loves music. It was with great pleasure that we found out that the tour included an audio guide with a shortened and adapted to children program. The tour took us about 1:30 to complete and was appreciated by all of us. We have all learned a little more about the life of Mozart.
Since we were taking the train only around 7pm, we still had a lot of time in front of us to visit an Art gallery for the enjoyment of all. We decided to go to the Belvedere since there was an exhibition on Klimt and Simon love his work. The Belvedere is a former Royal Palace with a great history. The Upper Belvedere is one of the first public museums in the world. We have seen the famous painting Napoleon crossing the Alps and several paintings of Gustav Klimt including The Kiss. The color in this painting are sensational. We could also see some unfinished canvases on which he was working before he got sick.
We all loved this short trip to Vienna. We greatly appreciate what Europe has to offer in travel opportunities. It’s so easy to hop on a train and discover a totally different city just a few hours away. We’re going to have to come back to Austria some day to discover more about this wonderful country.