Saturday, 11 May 2013

Marathoning through Vienna

Can one enjoy Vienna, Austria on a day trip? Well. we tried to do just that!

On a recent trip to Budapest, we allotted one day to visit Vienna. We were confident we can do it because we had an ace up our sleeves, our Budapest host and UP schoolmate have been to Vienna a few times, so we were not going to Vienna like blind mice running mindlessly through a maze.

We took the earliest train from Budapest and arrived in Vienna at 9 AM. ( Budapest-Vienna return tickets cost about 35€ per person, the earliest train leaves Budapest at 6 AM).


On the morning we arrived in Vienna, planning to marathon from one sight to another, the trams going to the city were stalled for a few hours. The reason? Well, call it serendipity or blind luck, but on the exact same day we were there, the Vienna City Marathon was underway!

A child cheering and high-fiving the runners

Our favorite runner! Spongebob! We called him that because he was wearing a spongebob shirt!

We spent a few hours watching and cheering the marathon runners then decided to eat brunch while we wait for the roads leading to the palace to open.

Brunch at a Vienesse Cafe

The Vienesse pancake, pictured above, was not really our type of pancake. It was a bit bland and mushy.

After a heavy brunch, it was time to explore Vienna!

First Stop: The expansive Schonbrunn Palace

The gently rolling ground near the Roman Ruins is a great place to hangout. We saw some visitors sleeping. Us, we rolled around and chatted

and took to doing the typical Asian thing to do for photo opportunities like this:

Aimed for a perfect jump shot!

The Schonbrunn Palace is absolutely beautiful! One can spend a day just touring its grounds and gardens or going inside the Palace itself. The best part is that it is open to anyone. Unlike some palaces/castles in Europe there is no entrance fee to the Schonbrunn Palace grounds. It's like one gigantic park, complete with flower gardens, beautiful fountains and green, sloping terrains.

Next Stop: St. Stephen's Cathedral

Required Stop: Gelato break

We tried the gelatos at the famous gelateria in Vienna, Zanoni eis Zanoni. Absolutely delicious!

Because we didn't have enough time, we did not see the famed wooden ferris wheel or eat the famous cake, Sacher Torte, at the Sacher Hotel in Vienna. We did however do a lot of walking around the city: passing by the Hohes Haus (Austrian Parliament Building) and the numerous museums near Ringstrabe Boulevard.

The Hohes Haus

Going into Austria, our Budapest host told us to be prepared because Austrians are known to be a bit closed-minded and discriminatory to non-Austrians, but actually I found the Austrians warm and very helpful when we asked for directions and tram schedules. To my mind, that's just a stereotype which was proven wrong by this trip.

At 5:30 PM, after a day of marathon walking, we were back at the station to catch our train back to Budapest. Pewwww, it was certainly energy-draining, we did our very best to fit in as much sights as we can in the eight hours we were in Vienna. Like the Vienna city marathoners, we tried our best! And that's good enough. :)

I still want to visit Austria again, because, yes it was a bit bitin. Maybe if and when I visit Prague, I'll make a side trip to Austria. Vienna is a lovely city and there are still a lot of sights and sounds to see.

Note: Most of the pics above were taken by Ems A., our travelmate and college schoolmate.

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