09 Agustus 2014

Vienna: Not Only about Mozart

After spending roughly two days in Prague, I left the beautiful city and headed to Vienna. I was surprised by the Czech train, because it was really empty. I remember when I booked a seat on the train several weeks ago, the train I wanted was already full. So, I booked a seat in the train 4 hours after, and was really happy to get a seat. Well, that was good, though, because I could use the whole 4-seat area next to me to put my suitcase. 

A train to Vienna.
You know what was even cooler?
Although the train was 75% empty, the seat in front of me was also booked, and there was this British man whom I talked to during the full 5-hour journey to Vienna. He lives in London, has his own consulting company that works in human resources area, and was supposed to fly to Vietnam for his holiday instead of Prague. There was a new regulation about Vietnamese visa-on-arrival that he was not aware of, so he needed to cancel his trip on last minute, and decided to go somewhere else because he already took some weeks off. He told me, “Prague is beautiful, so I did not regret it.” I totally agree with him.

He is an interesting traveler. The year before, he went to Thailand, and even took a trip to a less-touristy place.

“You should come to Indonesia. I’ve never been anywhere else in Southeast Asia, but I can guarantee you that Indonesia is more beautiful, well, at least from what I heard.”

“Definitely, I really want to go there. But, if the bureaucratic procedure gives me a headache like Vietnam, then, we will see.”

“Don’t worry, you are a British. Your passport will let you pass the immigration control even without a visa.”

“Haha, sure thing.”

I sometimes looked outside the train as well. I realized how the terrain changed when we passed the border between Czech Republic and Austria. Czech Republic has more hills, mountains, and greenness; Austria is more ‘flat’, just like Northern Germany, and has more farms.

I arrived in Wien Meidling, then took subways (U-bahn, that’s how they called it), and arrived at my hostel. This hostel, was the best one during my whole trips. I shared room with 5 other girls (yes, new lesson, Titan, booking a female-only-room is better, but you need to deal with long line of bathroom in the morning), and the hostel was really clean (with really nice and clean en-suite bathroom).

Yay, clean hostel!
Since I arrived in Vienna late in the evening, and the rain was pouring, I decided to just walk for a little bit and look for dinner. My hostel was near Naschmarkt (night market) area, where they had different types of dinner: Asian, Western, Fusion, and ranging from fine dining to kebab/ fast food. However, since it was raining, it was not too busy. I decided to eat Chinese food, which I did not regret, because it was really good.

The day after, I woke up early, fresh and ready to explore the city. My first stop was Stephansdom, which was a cathedral. I am telling you, it was huge, and its roof had a beautiful pattern. I have seen so many cathedrals in the past two months, and this one is on top of the list in terms of its beauty, after Kölner dom and the one in Prague Castle area.

Stephansdom.

This cathedral was also close to Mozart apartment when he lived in Vienna, after moving from Salzburg. I listen to some Mozart songs (thanks to Nodame Cantabile dorama), but it felt different when I was actually in the room where he composed his best compositions, or where he had a pool with his family and friends, years ago. Knowing more about his private life helped me to understand some of his pieces.

Around Stephansdom area, there was also a long street with different stores for you who is looking for merchandise from Vienna, or clothes from designers. Then, I visited Hofburg palace area. Apparently, Austria used to have king and queen, but they were dethroned years ago. I bought a ticket to enter Silverware Museum to see the collection of silverwares that the royals used to have. They were amazing, from porcelain, to silver and gold-layered one. I also visited the royals apartment to see where the king and queen used to live, and also Sisi museum. Sisi was one of the queens, and her ‘formal’ name was Elisabeth. She was a controversial, but most-remembered queen; she was born and grew up in Bavaria (Bayern) area, before she got married with the king. She used to be a happy and free girl, before all the royal courts and rules tangled her and limited her move. She was quite unlucky; her son commited suicide, and later on, she was killed by an Italian professional murderer. In the last years of her life, because of her son’s tragedy, she only wore black gown and dress with the same color accessories.

Hofburg Palace.
Taking a subway to suburban of Vienna, I found Schloβ Schönbrunn, the royal family’s summer palace to be really fascinating and beautiful. Although it was cloudy and raining, they did not stop me from exploring the palace museum and the garden. This place somehow reminded me of Herrenhauser Palace in Hannover that I visited before.

I also went to Naturhistorisches Museum in Vienna, where they had a special exhibition in Chernobyl photographs, and also Albertina (a painting/ fine art museum), where I saw some Monet’s paintings. The Chernobyl exhibition was my favorite, and I learnt a lot how the tragedy affected the people in Ukraine, and also other European countries. I wish I had more time to explore the Museums Quartier area, since they had a cool Museum of Modern Art there. I wanted to go to one in New York during spring break a year ago, but unfortunately, I didn’t have time (well, I ended up going to one in Paris, which I will tell you more in details in next post).

Naturhistorisches Museum: filled with preserved animals.
Museum of Modern Art. Maybe in the future.
I know, you would rather see the pictures than just imagining what I told you above. Here you go!

Another side of Hofburg. 
Mozart Statue.
The parliament.
Schloβ Schönbrunn view from Gloriette.
Gloriette in Schloβ Schönbrunn.
I took a train to München Hauptbahnhof, to take a train to Mannheim, then to Paris Est, at midnight, so I was waiting for a while in Wien Meidling Hauptbahnhof. Another cool thing was, I met another man who apparently lives in Worcester, Massachusetts! So, we talked for a while, while we were waiting for our trains. Unfortunately, he realized later on, that the last train to Prague for the day already came one hour ago, so he left and told me to wish him luck in finding place to sleep. Well, I hope he actually found somewhere to sleep.

One thing that I realized during this trip was, there were so many travellers around me with their own unique stories and backgrounds. Talking to them is definitely one of many things on the list of what makes me grateful in my Eurotrip. Their willingness to help each other in a foreign country, also made me believe in humanity (faith in humanity: restored). That’s why I think everyone should do Eurotrip at least once in their lives, not only because Europe has rich history and culture, but also because of the travelers’ attitude.

The last, but not the least, place I visited before flying home was Paris. I will post this soon!

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