And I thought Budapest was beautiful!

Trip Start Nov 15, 2005
Trip End Aug 15, 2008

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Flag of Austria  ,
Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Vienna is without a doubt one of the most beautiful cities I have ever visited! It seems very similar to Budapest in the consistant grandeur and age of the buildings, but even more so, and so, so clean! Not that Budapest wasn't, but everything looks so well cared for here!

Right, enough gushing. I liked Vienna (in case you hadn't gathered), but dear god, is it expensive! One cafe I visited wanted 4.5 euros for a cup of tea! The price you pay for the setting, I suppose. And for some reason, I do actually still prefer Budapest - something about the feel of that city appeals to me more.

Most of my time in the city (and a little out of it) was spent walking around and trying to take in as much of the place as possible in my short time here. There seem to be two sides to the city: the very obvious beauty of the Inner Stadt and surrounding districts, and some very mixed, more modern architecture. Sometimes the more modern areas really seemed out of place, like the huge glass constructions (with a hint of brutalism :) of the UN city, while some seemed to compliment the older structures with their difference, like the wonderful designs of Friedensreich Hundertwasser's buildings. If you can imagine taking Gustav Klimt, Gaudi and mixing them together in a cubist blender, you might have some sort of idea of what his buildings are like. Or maybe not, so I'll get some pictures up sometime.
Much like Gaudi in Barcelona, several of his buildings are dotted around the place, like the Kunsthaus Wien (Vienna art house) and Hundertwasserhaus, a small residential area including a block of flats and pedestrian street. Right next to that is the enclosed Hundertwasser Village, a surreal enclosed shopping centre with the "toilet of modern art". Bizarre. I assume it was here that I picked up a tourist leaflet detailing all the interesting toilets you might like to see around Vienna. Really. Apparently there's a Toilet-Bar somewhere. I really wish I had looked at the leaflet before leaving the city!

Another good aspect of Vienna is the tame forested hills just to the west, that can be reached by a 40 minute bus ride, so greenery is never far away! Also, the sheer volume of museums and galleries is overwhelming! It would take a month (and a very relaxed attitude towards budgeting) to see them all.

Finally, I have to say a huge thank you to my first couchsurfing host Marcus, for his spot on suggestions about what to see, fantastic cooking and putting up with me not being able to communicate at all in the mornings. Some of us obviously need more sleep than others!
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