We arrived in Vienna from Zurich rather early in the morning. We ended up having a 9 am flight from Zurich to Vienna which meant we had to wake up at around 5:15 to make our 6:00 am train out of Lucerne to Zurich. Needless to say, it was quite the exhausting morning. We arrived at the airport with luckily plenty of time to spare before our flight. We thought that by this point we were old pros going through security, but those European TSA agents generally have other ideas! Emily was stopped again while going through and had her bag searched. Apparently her makeup bag was a problem so they had to search the whole thing as well as her toiletries again. I bring this up because in the flurry of it all she forgot a very important thing behind in the security line… her entire makeup bag.
Of course we only realized where it was once we had reached our (very cute) Airbnb in Vienna. Now ladies, we all know just how expensive makeup can get- and while it wasn’t all the makeup she owned (duh), it was the nice stuff she uses all the time. AND it doesn’t help that right before the trip she restocked her favorites as well- ugh. Some tears may have been shed, but we dusted ourselves off and thought about how thankful we were that it wasn’t something infinitely more important (aka our passports).
After this debacle we were in serious need of some food and some exploring. We immediately set off towards Belvedere Palace located near the city center of Vienna to grab a bite to eat and to explore the art museum. The museum was lovely and was the perfect place to warm up as it started to flurry a bit outside.
Afterwards we headed towards the shopping district so Emily could restock her makeup and ended up meeting the sweetest makeup counter girl at Douglas (Sephora equivalent in the USA). Her name was Angelina and we chatted for awhile while she did Maggie’s makeup (for fun) and were able to teach her some English slang words and she taught us some key German words.
We headed back to our apartment after this and then stopped for some Italian food nearby to our place. The food we ate was pretty good… but at the end of the meal when the waiter brought over the credit card machines none of ours would go through. With not enough euros in cash to cover the bill, we were getting a bit panicky. The server insisted we keep trying different cards, but we knew that it was his machine and not us. Unfortunately the language barrier didn’t allow for us to convey that, so Emily set out to find an ATM. After walking 1.2 miles round-trip very briskly, she returned and we paid our bill. Only then did the manager stop us and tell us that the machine was not working and that they were working on getting it fixed. Ugh- not the best first day in Vienna!
After sleeping for a solid 10 hours, we woke up the next day and had a quick breakfast at a nearby cafe before we headed to see the famous Nachmarket. This place is so cool! All the eats you could want from sweet to savory, cooking spices like you wouldn’t imagine, restaurants, grocery stores, even clothing stores–needless to say, we wish we had a little market as extravagant as this one, back home!
Soon after our exploration of the market, we took the train to Schonbrunn Palace on the outskirts of Vienna. We’ll be honest, we haven’t spent money on our transportation options recently because no one checks to make sure you have a ticket or validates it! While we are all for honesty and paying your way- but we noticed that we were the only ones actually stopping by the ticket machines, so we eventually gave it up.
Schonbrunn Palace was beautiful even though the grounds weren’t in bloom and the trees were bare. We really enjoyed our self guided tour of the house with the complimentary audio guide. The guide wasn’t boring in anyway- it actually went into depth about the intrigue and scandal of the rulers that once lived there. We wish we had pictures from inside the palace, but it was unfortunately strictly forbidden.
We’ll be honest- Vienna wasn’t our favorite. While the city and palaces were beautiful, it just didn’t offer the same excitement or uniqueness that the other places we had been did. Emily had been to the city two years before during the summer and absolutely loved it. She was able to lounge in the gardens of the palaces and experience seeing the Spanish Riding School at Belvedere Palace. She even stumbled across a livestream of an Opera ballet outside of the Vienna Opera House that had attracted a bevy of locals drinking wine and having a picnic dinner. The feeling of Vienna in the wintertime is quite quiet and closed-off. While still beautiful, it seemed as though there were less people willing to linger around and enjoy the scenery. It is definitely a location to see in the summer instead of the winter. In a few words, we would describe Vienna, Austria as theatrical, architectural, and metropolitan.
As always, thanks for keeping up!