We arrive in Vienna and staying at the Wombats Hostel. Its a big hostel with heaps of rooms. We get to our room and then not long after we get a knock at the door, it was one of the girls from the reception desk. She told us that she made a mistake and put us in the wrong room so we had to move. So off we go into another room and for that we got an extra 6 free drink vouchers and free breakfast each day we are here so that wasn’t so bad after all. As we were given welcome packs twice all up we ended up with 10 free drink vouchers, cool.
For dinner we were given cheap vouchers for schnitzel and chips for 6 euros so we went to this old viennese restaurant and ate that for dinner. This restaurant was quite cute, old, dark and old brown furniture, horns, ornaments and photos hanging on the walls. A little white headed old lady walks in and we are greeted with a big smile and hello, she was so cute. As we were eating our schnitzel which was so yummy we hear the bashing of meat cleavers flattening out those schnitzels in the kitchen, so cool to hear we liked it. After dinner we went back to the hostel and went to the bar to get our free drinks. Troy gets a few beers and Mary had wine, soft drink and also bought a few cheaps B52’s (yum).
23RD JULY 2010 - After breakfast we walked in the city which is probably a good 1/2 hr walk. We took longer than expected because we found a luggage bag with wheels for Mary so I have to ditch my backpack (its just too heavy for my back to walk long distances). We walked back to the hostel, dumped the new bag and then back into the city. We find a photo shop and buy a new memory card and then we find an “Aldi” supermarket which is called “Hofer” so we had to walk in as Troy gets excited (this is Troy’s favourite shop back home). We buy drinks and then stop again at a book shop where we finally get hold of the Lonely Planet guide to the Middle East in English and Troy is happy again. So we have had a great shopping day.
We walked down to the Museum quarter and didn’t really have an idea where to begin. We find Hofburg Palace and saw the Mozart monument and surrounding beautiful gardens
. After this we decided to jump on the hop on hop off bus and do a day trip around Vienna. We got off at the St Stephen’s Church which was so beautiful inside and out. We walked around inside the church and we saw a choir from New Zealand. We then jumped back on the bus parked in between of heaps of horse and carriages for tourists. We walked past the National Theatre, City Hall where they have christmas markets. We went past the Parliament Building, the Museum of Natural History, the Museum of Fine Arts, Spanish Riding School, Hero’s Square. We jumped back on the bus and did the loop up to the State Opera House. We changed buses and then went through the Prater which is a big park, across the Danube River, past the Danube tower and the ferris wheel, past the Danube island and back to the Opera House. This hop on hop off bus system is not the best we have used. We walked home from the Opera House which took a good 1/2 hour or so and then had dinner at the hostel. A cheap meal, Troy had chille con carne and Mary had ravioli (each 2.90 euro) and then a few free drinks and bed.
24TH JULY 2010 - After breakfast we headed into the city to catch the hop on hop off bus to the Hundertwasserhaus. This place is really cool and Mary remembered coming here many years ago and wanted to show Troy this cool apartment block. We jumped off the bus and walked down the street and turned right into the street where we found the Hundertwasserhaus
. Its an old block of apartments which are so funky and old and multi-coloured, just so different and designed by Mr Hundertwasser himself. Its so cool and a popular tourist attraction. There is heaps of souvenir shops around and a cute Hundertwasser village across the road which is full of shops and has the funkiest toilets in Austria, check out the photos. Here Mary gets a “No Kangaroos in Austria” t-shirt. Why? you may ask, just because its so stupid. We jump back on the bus and head back to the Opera House. We wait a while and jump on the green line to get to Schonbrunn Palace. We spend sometime here walking around the gardens. Today its rather cold, the temperature has dropped heaps and its cold, windy and raining lightly. Everywhere has been in the high 30’s and today its only 19 degrees. What a big difference in temperature and we aren’t actually complaining, its a nice relief to walk around in cooler weather for a change. We leave the palace and walk home which took some time but it was nice. We stopped off at a supermarket and bought some snacks and then headed to the hostel to chill out for a few hours before dinner.
We head off to dinner and stop at this restaurant that we saw “XL schnitzel and roast potatoes 10.50 euro”. We love schnitzel so we thought yep we will try this place. We didn’t have lunch so we thought we could do with a decent meal. We sit down at this place which is a pub and restaurant and Mary orders the XL schnitzel and Troy orders the small ribs. OK, as we wait for our meals we sip on our drinks and from where Mary was sitting she could see straight into the kitchen. I saw some ribs getting cooked up and thought oh my god they can’t be for us and then saw the size of the plates and thought oh my god they can’t be for us, saw the size of the schnitzel and thought oh my god they can’t be for us
. Next minute they come out and we couldn’t believe it, they were for us, XL schnitzel alright and small ribs weren’t so small. I think we were both in shock. The others around us were looking at our meals and laughing, one guy says to me in German that my meal is big enough for a family, I got what he was saying when he said “family”. Seriously these meals were massive, both served on large oval chopping boards. Mary’s XL large schnitzel was actually 3 standard size schnitzels (whatever you call standard) and what looked like a kilo or more of roast potatoes underneath it with slices of tomato, lemon and cucumber. I ask for more lemon not realising the sliced lemon is there to use not just for a garnish, you don’t get lemon wedges in Europe. Troy’s small ribs (well that is what he ordered) was again served a large oval chopping board and it was one and a half long ribs with about a kilo of roast potatoes underneath with a small salad and two sauces. Both our meals cost 10 euro each and it was fantastic. Did we get through them, NO! The lovely waitress comes over and has a chat to us, she says “You ordered XL not just large”, we all laughed as I said I didn’t expect it that big. I asked her about the lemon and she showed me how you use them by placing it on the chicken and squashing the flesh into the chicken, odd I thought I told her that we use lemon wedges back home. She was really lovely waitress so we gave her a tip. We both felt we need a taxi to get home which was only a couple of blocks away in the same street. What a meal!
We drove through some gorgeous countryside in Czech Republic and then coming into the Austrian border the scenery got even better. What beautiful countryside we saw which was so nice considering we haven’t seen fantastic countryside for sometime now. Similar to Switzerland it had lots of pine trees, rolling hills dotted with gorgeous chalets.