Vienna’s public transport system isn’t on Google maps (which we didn’t know – we just assumed there was no public transport from the drop off point to our hostel), so we were planning on taxi-ing.
Turns out there was, and it was very easy to use and to get to our hostel!
We didn’t do much that first afternoon. We went shopping because the next day was Sunday and all the supermarkets are closed on a Sunday. We also went out for dinner: I had noodles with teriyaki chicken.
Day #2/our only full day involved rubbish weather and us traipsing around in it.
First we trammed to Schönnbrunn Palace (which I’ve been writing everywhere else as Schlossbrunn, whoops). We waited in line for about half an hour (at least we were undercover) – trying to decide on which tickets to buy.
We ended up getting just the Imperial Palace tour (22 rooms) tickets and were planning on getting the Privy Gardens one at the garden, but we were told there were free gardens for our viewing pleasure.
They give you a time for your castle ‘tour’* so we wandered the gardens for just under an hour.
They were quite beautiful and whilst it was cold, it had mostly stopped raining.
Our *tour involved an audio guide that told you about each room as you went into them. There were no photos allowed, and there were guards around, but I managed to sneak a few rubbish ones.
It took us about half an hour to go through the rooms, and post castle visit, we went back to the gardens to go up on the balcony.
By that time it had started raining again/the weather was just miserable, so we were strongly debating whether we wanted to go to the Gustav Klimt exhibition then or leave it for when we came back to Vienna.
We eventually decided to just do it (and in true Lauren and A style, we got a lil lost on the way and walked quite far). But we got there and being the student I am, asked for a student price. I showed my INTERNATIONAL YOUTH CARD and the lady says no ‘I want your student card’, and because I haven’t started at uni yet I have no uni/student card (my license was not useable either apparently); so I had to pay full price.
We only paid for the section of the Belvedere where Gustav Klimt’s pairnings were. We also saw other artwork (once again, no pics, but we’ve had practice).
Klimt’s paintings were amazing!!! Especially The Kiss!!! But the way he uses gold and makes it work so bloody well is quite astounding and incredibly clever. I was the distracter and A took photos because his phone is better.
I sped through the next section of the galley – Renaissance art and realism – because I am so sick of Renaissance art, but I paid for the ticket so I thought I’d pretend to get my money’s worth.
We trammed home, had a small break and then started cooking our feast!
It was Jewish New Year – Rosh Hashanna – that night so we’d bought ingredients to make a big meal for us.
Entree: Apple dipped in honey (to represent a sweet, round new year), round ‘challahs’, pomegranate and gooseberries (for our new fruits).
Main: chicken with sweet and sour sauce and rice
Dessert: pastry with cheese (quark) and a kinder surprise ‘ice-cream’.
During dinner, we hung out with a girl I’d met at the hostel (Prue), and with 2 others: a girl (Christina) we kept bumping into (this was he third place), and a guy (Devin) she’d met. I also had a Bahamas Punch – coconut and pineapple juice with rum, which was quite yum.
It was all so good, and I was so full afterwards.
Day #2, we finished our cereal (which was a lil gross after that much – but we didn’t feel like carrying it), packed up our bags and walked to the tram stop. We trammed to the main train station, where we took a bit of time to find our platform (C1), but we found it eventually.
I had a mini panic when I thought I’d left my lanyard with all my keys for all the locks of my bags at the hostel (but they were indeed in my bag, hidden very well).
The bus ride was cramped and uneventful. We got there in an hour and a half, and then had to take 2 buses and walk to our hostel. As we were struggling to find our hostel, an Australian guy asked us where we were going and we told him the hostel name and turns out he was staying there too so we just followed him! We definitely would’ve gotten lost, so that was nice of him.
The first day, we just walked around the town (I had a really good tuna bagel for lunch), visiting all the souvenir shops and of course we saw the famous statue!
Walked back to the hostel, did some washing, internetted and got ready for shule (as it was 2nd night Rosh Hashanna and we were only 7 minutes walk away from one).
On advice from A’s parents, we rocked up at 5, ready for some shofar blowing. It was completely closed and we were completely confused so we decided to make some Tesco purchases and then come back.
Bought a banana and milk. Walked back around 5.30 – there were people there! I hid the banana in my coat pocket, and we left/hid the milk on the street (because we weren’t sure what else to do with it).
Quick service – about 45 minutes (and we heard the shofar!) Understood bacially nothing – the service was in Hebrew and the sermons (and anything else usually in English), was a in all Slovak! We were invited (again) – this time by the rabbi – to come for dinner to his house (and we still didn’t know how to say no).
So much food – all very delicious!
Course 1: salads (great lettuce one with avo and this weird thing with fruit that tasted like off grapes) and apples and honey and rad fish loaf.
Course 2: chicken soup and kneidel
Course 3: meat, small boreks/pastries, roast poatoes and Apple cinnamon cake (which was weird for a main course).
Course 4: 2x chocolate biscuit things with icing and cherries on top.
We sat next to each other and fielded questions for the rabbi’s eldest daughter about Australia.
After an unexpectedly good night, we left at around 10-10.15pm.
Day #2 had a slower start. We went shopping for lunch (3x pastries) and I bought ingredients for baking (no-one was sure if the flour I bought was normal or self-raising).
Came back, made the Nutella** brownies (after realising the oven hadn’t actually been on for 20 minutes I fiddled around a bit). Let them cool, cut them up, put them into a container and got ready for the walking tour.
It went for about three hours, and it was bloody freezing.
Our tour guide explained the history of Bratislava, showed us what was left of the old Jewish Quarter (not much) and took us up to the castle.
We also went into a cat cafe (!!), and got all our guide’s recommendations to eat and drink.
Day #3, A and I went up St. Michael’s tower and got a panoramic view of Bratislava’s rooftops.
We walked along the streets – taking our usual approach: going into all the souvenir stores and buying nothing.
We went to a burger place for lunch and I had the best burger I’ve had since I’ve been away! It also came with chips and coleslaw and I was so full by the time I finished.
We walked around a bit more (getting caught in a hail storm); went back to the hostel for a bit and then out again.
We went out for ice-cream to a place recommend by our tour guide and it was so good!!!
Day #4, we went out for breakfast at another one of our guides recommendations (PANCAKES) – and it turns out they were more like crepes (but very excellent nonetheless).
I had a strawberry milkshake (which should’ve been called a strawberry smoothie).
For breakfast I had two crepes/pancakes- 1) snickers: chocolate, walnuts and caramel;
and 2), mozzarella, pesto and tomato pieces.
A and I took a bus to Devin Castle after breakfast (where, at the bus shelter, we met two American couples).
Devin Castle is a ruins castle and whilst it was freezing cold and raining the entire time, it was pretty incredible and it had some ace views!
A and I went out for a traditional Slovak lunch at a restaurant at the bottom of the castle. We ordered two dishes and shared.
We took the bus back to Bratislava and walked to the cat cafe for some much needed warming up!
I had some litchi and cucumber lemonade and took photos with the only cat that wasn’t sleeping (he was a lil grumpy).
Back at the hostel, we packed and ate a ‘spaghetti explosion’ for dinner (cooked by the hostel and very good).
The hostel has a signing wall, and they encourage you to write something on there before you leave.
I’d had the same plastic drink bottle since Israel and it was leaking/dying so unfortunately I had to get rid of it.
In true Lauren and A style, we left very early to walk to the bus stop. Also in true Lauren and Asher style, we went the wrong way for about 20 minutes; once we realised/asked we got off, crossed the road and waited for the next bus.
Since this journey was only meant to take us about 10 minutes, we bought a 15 minute ticket. When we got into the next bus (which came soon after), we didn’t even think about new tickets. Just as we were arriving at the station, ticket inspectors came on and as soon as I saw one behind A, I realised that we didn’t have valid tickets.
Of course, we got fined an obscene amount of money (I thought he said 5 euros and handed over a 10 – I thought this seemed too little, but we’d been fined 5 before for forgetting to validate. I was wrong and he laughed).
I was grumpy about the fine (although technically it was my own fault); but what made me feel a lil better was that there were a group of girls that got fined on the next bus we went on.
Our bus ride (and subsequent train ride to the hostel) – was easy.
We dropped our bags off, chilled our and went for a walk along the Nachmarket (where I bought a baklava and a spinach and cheese borek for dinner).
We went for a walk around the area, and then spent a good few/too many hours planning our UK trip: transport and accommodation etc.
Hung out at the bar for a little (had my free orange juice), chilled on the couches for a bit and then went to bed, ready for an early wake up.
(I was going to do one blog post for my trip until we left for the UK but I can’t post more photos, so it looks like I’m going to be splitting it up).
**I bought 750g Nutella in Switzerland and was struggling to finish it, so I decided to throw most of it into a batch of brownies!