Saturday 18th August
Rest Day in Vienna
“I decided to join Julian and Heidi for breakfast and we found a quiet little cafe to have a coffee and pastry. I had opted for the traditional Viennese cake called Sachertorte, which is a chocolate type cake with layers of jam and very tasty. We just sat there and talked for a good few hours. Once we felt we could sit no longer, we took a stroll into District 1, the city centre where there are countless sights to see. I remember two things when we visited Vienna on a family holiday. First were the trams running everywhere and second was seeing the two old museums that faced each other. I returned to the spot that I had stood many years ago, and though it was autumn the last time, the image in front if me was so familiar and just as I remembered it as a kid.
Moving on we were stopped by a street seller, who persuaded us to buy tickets for a classical concert happening that evening. Vienna is famous for its opera, something I would have wished to see but unfortunately was not able to since during the months of July and August, the musicians take a break.
I figured that this was a decent alternative and bargaining Besi (the name of our ticket seller) down to 20 euros, who threw in some free champagne for good measure, it was a done deal. We continued to explore a bit of the old town grabbing some ice cream and lunch from vendors along the canal promenade.
We made our way back to the hostel, where I had a nap. The walking had taken it out of me and clearly there has been no improvement in my fitness for anything other than cycling.
At 7.00 pm we made our way to the underground station. Like Munich it works on an honesty policy. I bought a ticket nonetheless. We got off at Stadtpark and made our way to the theatre on Beethovenplatz. The room was small but ornately decorated with wooden carvings and paintings. It felt very much like an old school hall. Once everyone was seated, the lights dimmed and the hustle and bustle died down. The orchestra made their way on stage, of course dressed most smartly, wearing white bow ties. They began to play, following a program of some of the most popular pieces by Mozart, Beethoven and Strauss. Occasionally there would be dancers and singers, who would perform dressed in what I could only assume was traditional Viennese clothing. All in all it made for a great show, one I enjoyed thoroughly.”
Sunday 19th August
Rest Day in Vienna
“In the morning I gorged myself on a buffet breakfast. After my 3rd bowl of muesli, I brought down my bicycle from the open air terrace and struck out to explore Vienna on my own.
It was a hot day and I was feeling lazy. I visited some of the suggested sites on the map given to me when I checked into the Hostel. They were mostly busy with tourists on a Sunday. So like I have done in so many cities before, I found a nice green park to laze in and read. I have started reading Oscar Wilde’s ‘Picture of Dorian Gray’.
I grabbed an ice cream and did some planning for the days ahead. In the hostel I had a brief conversation with two English lads, who were doing Europe by rail. Nice chaps. There are 3 different accommodation types that I’ve used, each with its own unique flair. Hostels offer the opportunity to meet other travellers, have a base to dump my stuff and lots of information about what to see and do, great for big cities. For the more local experience, couch surfing is the ideal option; I like this for large towns / small cities. When I just want some space to myself or want to experience nature, camping is the way to go.”