Romancing Austria

2 days in Austria: 1 for the country and 1 for city and culture.

Austria, the most beautiful land till date, started with a fun stint. The train reached Vienna in the morning and just as we were out of the compartment admiring the scenery, the train halted and a gentleman asked me if it was the Westbahnhof station. With all confidence of an Austrian I said “Yes” and the man got off. Then we screamed that we had to get off too. But you know, by the time 5 girls get going with their bags, the train obviously started off. And the next station was Westbahnhof station. Anyway, I am glad I never had to meet that guy again to encounter the consequence of my over-confidence.

Our day at the hostel started just as the previous hostel, using common bathrooms to get fresh. Like other gora backpackers I started the trend of stealing the hostel breakfast to pack our lunch. These are real fun stuff we had forgotten after college and just reliving them on a backpack trip J

We went to Wachau valley, an hour’s train ride from Vienna city. It is a valley of the Donau (Danube) river. When we reached Melk, the city of Donau valley, it seemed like a totally deserted station and a scene out of some fairy tale or some old fashioned novel. A peaceful village with a few school kids walking near the bus station and a café nearby where definitely no one understood English. But in all senses Melk fascinated me. As we took directions from a school kid and walked the stretch that lead to Donau, we stopped by a beautiful Chapel. The walk to Donau was good. Donau river had cruises back to Vienna. The river flowing from Alps had a nice pure icy feel and some really strong currents. The riverside had a lone café where some senior citizens enjoyed a meal on the sunny afternoon. And we joined them for the lazy weekend meal as we relaxed and savored our vacation. I could only think of one thing. Totally worth!!!!

In the evening we went to the Opera House in Vienna. How could we miss an Opera being in Vienna, the city of music? It was a very different yet nice experience for the discounted 28 euros.

Next day, Pun joined us to the Schonbraun Palace. The Palace is not very old, operational till about 1600 AD and very well maintained. It was a nice experience. I was still not bored of the museums and palaces, considering I am a very outdoorsy person. The palace history of the king Franz Stephan and queen Maria Theresa was interesting on the audio guide. May I iterate, visiting palaces and listening to audio guides is the IN thing. The UNESCO world heritage center outside the palace was also very scenic and nonetheless we had a great time. A good half day to spend in Vienna.

The next half, we just sat in the tram and took a city ride. Pun and I got off the tram at some arbit point near a shopping district and hit the malls in Vienna. Malls in firang land are a good experience. First of all, they are definitely bigger than Bangalore malls and the discount sales, and the “made in India” tags … wow…

We went to a Saturday morning bazaar. It had loads of painting stalls, with lovely paintings sold for peanuts (in euros though). Well the bazaar also had a lot of Indian good on sale, the OM stoles, bags etc. We went to a fair in the evening as well. And hit a Turkish restaurant for dinner. Food was cooked, tasty and satisfied most of our tastebuds which were only used to bread for a week. Vienna was overall fun! But the biggest fun was running for the train in the last few minutes before departure.

Me says:
- Do atleast 1 palace in a city. It gives you a feel of the history and a few hours of history wont really bore you even if you are a fully party type.
- Buy a day pass for the public transport in any city. You can use it for metro, tram and bus. Better, just sit in the tram that goes around the city and have fun just looking out of the window for 2 hours.
- If you ever visit Vienna, do the Wachau valley.

If you are visiting Vienna for the first time, here:
Places to stay:
Wombats City Hostel Vienna- The Base
Grangasse 6
1150 Vienna
p. +43 1 897 2336
f. +43 1 897 2577

This one is reputed but their branch on the main road leading from Westbahnhof station is closer to walk for backpackers. I would suggest that one as this is a longer walk from the station
Food: Try the German bread from local bakery. Just beware of the hardness.
Souvenirs: Best place to buy good books on Art and Music. Vienna is the cultural capital, remember! I bought a old masters painting book for 1 euro 20 cents.
Average budget for the shoe string traveler: 30 euros per day.


  1. hey...nice post!..we areplanning to visit vienna and ur post is really helpful..can u give more info on the did u find it? we have to book tickets in advance and what about musical concerts..did u attend any?


  2. Hey Shwetha
    We looked up city info on the net and also brochures in the metro stations and hostel. These give a fair idea of city events. Was easier for us because we wanted to pick cheap operas
    Just call up the event you want to attend. We went there and bought tickets

    Good trip!


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