Vienna is, in a word, charming. It doesn’t have the stunning cityscape of Prague, nor the young and funky culture of Berlin, but it has charm. Vienna begs you to step into one of its millions of coffeehouses and have a drink or two and spend an hour or two just contemplating life and dreams. One of the great things about Vienna is that a lot of the museums have days where they offer half price or cheap tickets, or sometimes have free exhibits.
We arrived in Vienna on Friday afternoon, dropped some things off at the hostel, and our professor took us on a quick tour. Afterwards, we grabbed some dinner, and then Jean and I made a mad dash back to the hostel to change, and were off to the Opera. We read in our copy of Rick Steve’s that for a mere 3 Euros, you can buy a “standing place” ticket for the Vienna Opera. The view isn’t very great and after 3 and a half hours of standing, I was beat. However, it was great to see an Opera in Vienna, especially for 3 Euros. After the opera we went out for some of the best gelato I’ve ever had, and then back to the hostel.
Saturday morning dawned bright and early. Jean and I headed over to the Naschmarkt, which is basically like Pike Place market combined with a flea market. And when I wandered past the stalls selling fish and seafood, I felt like I was back in Seattle. After spending about three hours there, eating falafel and hummus with fresh fruit and bread. After lunch, we split up for some museum wandering. I went to the Kunsthistorische Museam (The Art History Museum) and spent almost another three hours wandering the halls. it was great, and I only left when I got too hungry that I couldn’t focus on the art anymore. I decided to head to a cafe for a while, since that’s what Vienna is all about. And after a “short” 90 minute stop at a cafe near St Stephan’s Cathedral, I went to see some sights and another museum at Modern Art and Architecture. Then we all met up at the hostel for some dinner and just hung out.
Sunday morning I went to the History of Vienna museum (which is free on Sunday mornings), which had tons of cool artifacts from Vienna’s past. After that, I ran around to see some last sights and spent another hour in a cafe and ate way too much. With a quick, final jaunt to visit the Belvedare Palace, we went to the train station and left for Prague. All in all, I believe that Vienna is a beautiful and charming, but very expensive city. However, I felt proud of myself because I was able to speak German for most the time.