Well, it took me almost four months, but I’m finally going to start blogging about my original three week Europe trip. The reasons why it has taken me so long are numerous, but for right now, I’m just thankful that this is finally getting written and I can finally start sharing more details of my trip with you.
My plan for the next several blog posts are to walk you through what I did during my time in Europe, chronologically. There are some things that I am dying to write about, but I am a type A personality and need to do this in a somewhat organized fashion. So, first things first, Vienna.
I didn’t not like Vienna; it’s just that I didn’t fall in love with it. I’ve fallen in love with many different cities over the years, and even some countries, but Vienna wasn’t one of them. This always surprises people because unbeknownst to me, everyone loves Vienna. It was voted as having the highest quality of life for young people in the world, and there is a lot of stuff to do.
There could be a few reasons why I didn’t like Vienna as much, not including the city itself. The first day I was there I was entirely sleep deprived. I had no sleep on my transatlantic flight from the US to Serbia, and about one hour of sleep on the overnight bus from Serbia to Vienna. And the last day in Vienna it rained, like torrential downpour rain.
But I think the real reason I didn’t jive with Vienna was the people. I didn’t make any friends at my hostel, although I tried. And I tried running into the same people at local markets, eating at the same restaurant a couple of times, going to the same bar a couple of times, and I saw the same people, but nothing. I tried making conversations with locals, but nada. A lot of people seemed like they didn’t like tourists. I wandered Vienna by myself, researching exactly what I had to do and doing it.
I like to think of Vienna as my trial period for traveling solo. I wasn’t exactly sure what to do, where to go, how to do this whole traveling solo thing. When you travel with a group everything is planned for you and you don’t do a whole lot of thinking on your own. But when you’re alone everything is up to you. You decide where you want to go, how long you want to stay somewhere, ect. If you get lost in the middle of the city, you have to figure out how to get unlost. It’s incredibly daunting, and incredibly empowering at the same time.
Solo traveling in and of itself is an incredible experience, one that I intend to write about later. But the first time is a bit of a learning experience. And I think Vienna was just that, a learning experience. But I did some really cool things in Vienna, all by myself.
I visited the Naschmarkt. This is a wonderful market, where you can buy all sorts of fresh food. Even if you don’t buy anything, you can walk through it and sample all different kinds of fruits, vegetables, meats, cheeses, dips, crackers, nuts, and sweets. By the time you walk through it you will have eaten a whole meal for free.
Went on a free walking tour. A walking tour picked me right up from my hostel at 10:30. It was about three hours long, and at the end I gave her 10 euro. I took a walking tour in every city that I visited. It is important, for me, to know the history and culture behind a place. And a walking tour is a great way to do that. Plus, you get to get a feel for the city. I saw a lot of things on the walking tour that I came back to later, on my own, and spent more at.
Visited the museum quarter. It is a wonderful place to just sit and relax, read a book or have a meal. I only went in one museum (I’m not big on museums and they are rather pricey in Europe-I’m spoiled with all of the free museums in D.C.).
Saw the baby Limpizaner stallions. I’ve seen these guys put on shows (well, not the babies, but the adults) and they are magnificent. I would have gladly paid money to see a show, but the stallions were on vacation. And, the opera was closed when I was in Vienna, it sucked.
Visited Pratar amusement park. You can walk into the park for free, but it costs money to ride rides. I did a couple of the rides, but once again, money held me back from doing any more.
Also explored a bit of Danube Island. I don’t think many tourists make it out here, as it was rather empty, which I liked. I would have liked to come back at night to go to some bars by the river, but it just didn’t happen.
Saw a Mozart and Strauss concert at Schonbrunn palace. This was a bit of a splurge. I like classical music, and I wanted to see the palace, so this killed two birds with one stone. The music was wonderful, and the gardens around the palace were breathtaking.
But my favorite part about Vienna, or traveling in general? Walking. I walked everywhere. And you get to see people and restaurants and buildings. You get a feel for the city. My Serbian friends once told me that when they drove through New York City they turned the music off in their car to listen to the city, and when they walk, they don’t talk to each other and just absorb their surroundings. This is what I did for every city that I went to. You have to. It is the best way to get to know a city.
Vienna was beautiful. If I had more time I would have liked to visit some places from the Sound of Music, as I am a lover of musicals. But I don’t think I will visit Vienna again. Yes, it was nice, but I didn’t feel any kind of a connection with the city. Now the next city I visited, Prague, was completely different. I considered moving there, and I probably would have if I could have gotten a teaching job. That is the next post. Until next time!