Australians in Austria

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Apr 302009
 
Staatsoper, Vienna

Staatsoper, Vienna

Our one stop in Austria was Vienna, a city where nearly every building in the centre is worth looking at for its amazing architecture. Modern Vienna’s buildings are ínspired by various periods, so it can be a bit like a walk through architectural history.

We spent our first afternoon touring the royal apartments in the Hofburg castle, gaping up at the art in St Stephen’s cathedral and wandering the streets of Vienna. We then walked 20 minutes from our hotel to have an amazing dinner (as Julian has already mentioned).

Day 2 saw us visit the Naschtmarkt and spend a ridiculous amount of money on olives (very persuasive staff at the stall)! We then took our picnic supplies and headed our of the city to the Viennese woods. We caught the bus up to Kalenberg and then walked down the hillside to Nussdorf, past vineyards and poppies. We had planned to sample the sturm (new wine, made in Vienna) at a Heurigen (wine garden) in Nussdorf but we must have been too early in the year, as none were open. Instead we enjoyed our picnic in the sunshine, before heading back into the city. Sadly, no opera was showing, but we did duck into the Opera House to see some ballet (Romeo and Juliet).

Walking through the vineyards from Kalenberg

Walking through the vineyards from Kalenberg

St Peter's, Vienna

St Peter's, Vienna

Some of you may recognise the artist’s work in the photos below. Julian first saw Hundertwasser’s work in Kawakawa, a small rural town in northern New Zealand. An artist and an environmentalist, Hundertwasser (1928-2000) was born in Austria, but made several visits to NZ to paint and is buried there (after passing away on the QEII). He has even designed new flags for Australia and NZ that do away with the Union Jack. His work is on display at KunstHausWien and scattered throughout this neighbourhood in Vienna.

HundertwasserHaus, Vienna

HundertwasserHaus, Vienna

St Stephen's, Vienna.  Notice the scaffolding!!!

St Stephen's, Vienna. Notice the scaffolding!!!

Apr 272009
 

My camera informs me that it is day 56 – that’s the halfway point of our trip!  In some ways it seems to have flown by, in others it seems that we have been away forever.

Day 56 saw us awake on the overnight train from Zurich to Vienna.  We departed Zurich at 22:40 and arrived in Vienna just after 09:00, managing to get some sleep on the hard beds.  We shared the tiny couchette with an lovely older Swiss couple.  Fortunately we booked a 4-person couchette – the 6-person one is the same size, they just stick another two beds above the four!

On the EuroNight Train

On the EuroNight Train

We celebrated the halfway point in Vienna at Das Biedermeiercafé-Restaurant.   Very reasonable prices, a friendly host, good local wine and excellent meals – no wonder it’s a Michelin-recommended restaurant.

Fiaker - beef goulash with fried egg, sausage and dumpling

Fiaker - beef goulash with fried egg, sausage and dumpling

To end this post, I thought I’d share ten of the things we can’t live without in Europe:

1 – Eurail pass, timetable and map
2 – Combination lock on my daypack
3 – Technology (camera, laptop, unsecure wireless connections and tripadvisor.com)
4 – Laundry detergent in a tube
5 – Jeans
6 – Wizard Mastercard (no annual fee, 55 days interest free, free cash withdrawals, good exchange rate and no currency conversion fee!)
7 – Rick Steves’ Best of Europe guidebook
8 – Bi- and tri-lingual Europeans
9 – Glasses (to see sights and read signs from as far away as possible when carrying a backpack!)
10- Our blog readers. Thank YOU 🙂