One thing that I am absolutely loving about being here, is the ease in which you can discover so many other places! (And for such insane prices!) So last week a friend and I decided to head to Vienna, the capital of Austria, for a couple of days discovery!
A return to Vienna by train was only about €30 and that was last minute really, but if you get the tickets in advance you can get them for as little as €9 each way if you have a railcard. if you are heading on a year abroad I would highly recommend getting a rail card when you are here, because it can save you up to 50% on train tickets, so you save a heck load of money (which is always good as an erasmus student!). The railcard I have is a Vorteilscard for under 26 years, and it was only €19 for the whole year! Link to all Vorteilscards: (http://www.oebb.at/en/Customer_cards/VORTEILSCARD/index.jsp)
As we were only staying the one night we really wanted to make sure we got there early to fit in all that we wanted to see. After getting up at 6.30am, we got the train from Graz Hauptbahnhof at around 8am, which with all the excitement and after a coffee or two, wasn’t so bad! Speaking of the train though it was just so much nicer than trains back in England! Proper comfy seats, magazines, a restaurant carriage (with posh tablecloths and all!), and even a little kids cinema area, which I totally wasn’t temped to go and sit in…. 😉
Anyway the journey was very pleasant indeed, it only took two and a half hours to get there and we got to see some lovely scenery on the way up to the city. Through soaring hills and the cutest traditional villages with beautiful little houses in bright colours, window boxes filled with fresh flowers and balconies with ivy wrapped round the spindles.. oh just dreamy! Not even going to deny the fact that I then spent a large amount of time then looking at the house prices! (Talk about planning ahead.. haha)
Upon arrival at the train station we head off straight to check into our hostel, which was, well, an experience in its own. I mean it was only €14 for a night, so I guess I can’t really complain, but being in a rather small room with 7 other people, and one toilet and shower between us all, which made the morning routine rush so very interesting. It has to be said it was not the most luxurious place I’ve ever stayed but for the sake of one night, we managed to try and see the funny side of staying in a room with so many strangers, not sleeping so much due to people snoring, and people’s alarms going off at 6am the next morning.
Vienna itself is a great city! There were so many historical buildings integrated with the modern city, and statues, beautiful churches and fountains all over the place! After leaving the hostel we took some time to explore and find our bearings round what is a massive city in comparison to Graz! The map was a must have! We made our way through the center to find some food, and ended up in the Hard Rock Cafe (I don’t care that this isn’t exactly so Austrian, we no less than jumped at the chance to have a good burger and chips).
Wondering around the city we saw lots of lovely architecture, and in an avid attempt to be more cultured, avoided the temptation of the high street shops! Which doesn’t mean I’m not heading there again soon to shop.. 😉
We found the Donau River! (Eventually, after the longest trek ever and a detour through a fairground.. casually)
Hundertwasser Haus. Yet again spot the tourist…
Pretty view of Palais Epstein at night, some kind of parliament building I believe. (Clearly well informed tourist..) Haha
And of course a beer or two to finish off the evening!
Up and off out early the next morning, not just to simply get out of the hostel, but also because we wanted to make the most of our day there before heading home on the late evening train. First port of call was to the train station to drop off our luggage and lock it up for the day to save carrying it around, then next we headed off to Schönbrunn Palace, which was surprisingly very close to the center and didn’t take us long to reach on the bus. For transport we got a ticket for 24 hours for buses, trams and underground, and it was only about €7 for unlimited travel.
The palace and grounds were absolutely stunning, despite the impending winter breeze that prevailed that morning. Entrance fee to the palace was only around €13 for a student price and this included an audio guide (incredibly useful) to tell you about each room and the history, and it was all very interesting indeed. Even Mozart himself played at this palace as a young boy.
After lunch and more wandering round we went into the Kunsthistorisches Museum (Art history), and it was incredible! To be honest I think the building itself was worth paying the entrance fee to go in and see. Obviously the collections were great, especially the Ancient Egyptian one, which was really interesting!
Later on in the evening we resided to have a much needed coffee break, and before long it was time to head back to Graz! The journey back wasn’t so scenic as it was dark and to be honest it wasn’t long after we got on the train that we fell asleep! Which in a way was great as it seemed super fast!
Overall it was a lovely trip, but there was sooo much that we didn’t get round to seeing! So another trip will definitely have to be organised!
TYA tips: If you are staying in hostels, make sure to take a padlock with you, we didn’t and ended up paying for one in the hostel. Also you might want to invest in a travel towel if you plan to stay in hostels, we were only given a hand towel, which isn’t much use if you want to shower!
Thanks for reading and following my adventures! 🙂
– ErasmusExplorer –