24 HOURS IN VIENNA
I experienced Vienna on a short overnight trip from Budapest. Even on a dreary November day, I fell in love with this picturesque city.
I arrived via the train station, Westbanhof. The ride from Budapest was beautiful and I wished I had driven so I could stop for photos! The train station connects to the Metro system and it was quite easy to navigate to Vienna’s most famous square, Stephansplatz, which also happened to be the closest stop to my AirBnB for the night.
*A little note about my AirBnB - I highly recommend this chic apartment not only for the prime location amongst the pedestrian streets, but for the super airy, Instagram worthy interiors!
After checking in, I set off on foot to wander and photograph - my favorite activities upon arriving in any new city. I had done my research before heading out and decided on Makro 1 for a mid-afternoon lunch. This cozy little restaurant sits at dead end of a quaint pedestrian alley and they have the cutest seating area. This may have been lost in translation (my German skills are rusty and/or non-existent), but I believe they offer one meal of the day and you have the option of adding on soup and/or dessert. Of course, I said yes to the soup thus leaving no room for dessert. My vegan meal was absolutely fantastic, especially the pumpkin-apple-sauerkraut.
After lunch I continued my wandering. I didn’t have any particular sites in mind, as all the streets radiating out from Stephansplatz are lovely. I especially appreciate a pedestrian-only city center, as I often find cars to be distracting in my photos! :p
After a few hours, I worked up enough of an appetite to stop for a sweet treat. I settled on one of the many cafes in the main square. You know the ones- a total tourist trap and their menu consists of multiple languages and a picture of every single item? I normally try to avoid these places (if for no other reason than because of the inflated prices!), but on this rainy November evening, wine/dessert in the square under a heat lamp, all while people watching, sounded enticing.
The wonderful thing about traveling alone is that you're much more approachable than you are with a group or even one other person. First a young guy sitting to my right noticed my medium format camera and began chatting about photography and film. He was German, but living in Wien, and shoots black and white film on a Hasselblad. He also develops it himself. Major props. After he left, an older gentleman to my left began chatting with me. Maybe people feel sorry for me that I'm alone?! Whatever the reason, I'll take it. Its so fun connecting with locals and other travelers.
By the end of my dessert, I’d had more food than I could handle in one day, and since it was too dark for film photos, I headed back to my AirBnB for a quick cat nap and to research my options for my one and only night out. I did extensive research before selecting Weinfach Vinothek. It was a short walk from the city center (maybe a mile or so), but I got to cross the river and see a little bit of the neighborhoods outside the tourist hub.
I had an amazing experience at Weinfach! I sat at the bar, and Peter, the owner, made it such a great night for me. He offered me a flight of 6 or 8 Austrian wine samples (of course, I went for 8!) and he put together a cheese plate to compliment my selected wines. He patiently explained each wine and entertained me with conversation all while doing that same for every other patron at the restaurant. I left deliriously happy, mildly intoxicated, and with two bottles of Austrian wine made with a specific type of grape found only in Austria, and not available for sale anywhere else in the world. In fact, Peter informed me that if I did happen to find any Austrian wine of that grape sold outside of Austria, it would be complete "rubbish" as none of the top wineries can afford to export their product. I’m not a sommelier, but I’ll take his word for it!
The next morning, I woke early as I wanted to check the Naschmarkt. It was raining yet again, but I still enjoyed wandering up and down the aisles and dined on a fantastic sweet cheese croissant. Austrians really know how to do pastries.
I had to catch a noon train back to Budapest, so after an hour or two wandering the market, I headed back to my AirBnB to grab my bag and jump back on the metro and back to the train station.
Til next time, Vienna!