Visiting Vienna

When one thinks of Vienna, visions of Lipizzaner stallions, decadent truffles, expertly crafted coffees, and rich sacher tortes all to a soundtrack of Mozart. Well, as most of you know by now, that is not how we can travel. We wish we could, but 3 months of decadence would be way out of our budget. We try to get the experience without having to break the bank.

First budget saver of the day...S-Bahn! Most tourists get into the main ring of Vienna's core by taking the trams and U-Bahn which get them right in the middle of the action. We decided to stick with the OBB and utilize the rail pass for free transport to right outside the city center. Meant a little more walking, which we didn't mind in the morning, but it was a little bit of a pain to deal with getting back to our station in the afternoon when it was hot enough to fry an egg on the sidewalk. A little sweat never hurt anyone right?!

While we had a lot we wanted to see in horrendous heat, Vienna is pretty centrally located. This allowed us to see everything we wanted and not have to spend money getting to point A to point B. Although there was one attraction we had wanted to visit that charged admission, the Imperial Crypts, we decided to skip them as they had gotten some lackluster reviews online. We figured we would get a better experience visiting the central cemetery (which is free) instead.

We visited St. Stephen's cathedral (another place under renovations!) and strolled down Karutnerstrasse. We stopped for lunch outside the tourist's scope and got to get some genuine wienschnetizel. It was delicious and beat the price tags at the restaurants in Stephensplatz that charged 2-3x what we paid.

Then it was off to Hofburg, one of the main palaces. We peaked at the buildings, opting to skip the museums to hold on to our euros. I watched the video of the Spanish Riding School's presentation and then we headed off. We walked to the Rathaus, checked out Naschmarkt (super cool eating courtyard) then we made our way back to the station. Making sure we peaked in at Sacher cafe to drool over the tortes (not tasting one though) and past the opera and the Hotel Bristol, so Charlton could replicate the shot from a vintage postcard we have.

Once at the station we made our way to the central cemetery to see the graves of Beethoven, Mozart, Schubert and Strauss. The cemetery was pretty stunning, some of the gravestones were so elaborate. Charlton got some amazing pictures. Once again I was getting mauled by mosquitoes and the heat was really getting to me, so we called it a day and headed back to the apartment. We picked up some supplies to make dinner and came back here to weather the heat.

A rainstorm moved in and cooled off the city (thank goodness!) and we have had a nice evening relaxing, slowly packing and catching up on some news on CNN and the BBC. Tomorrow we hit the road again, this time Slovenia!

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