vienna – stop 2

This post is the second leg of the three city trip. April 2016.

The train from Prague to Vienna is about 4 hours so the three of us arrived by mid-afternoon. Vienna is the most expensive of the three cities, so because of that, we chose hostel accommodation for this leg of the trip and headed straight there from the station.

I had stayed in a Wombats hostel once before in Munich right after college and was really surprised to see how far chain hostels had come in 5 years. It was very trendy, had a big bar in the lobby, and rented out tons of stuff (like bikes). We were in the roof room and luckily, had it all to ourselves until the last night.

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After dropping bags and settling in, we went downstairs to the lobby bar. The drinks were really cheap and we talked about what to do for the evening. Our only lead for the night was a tip from a friend about a district of Vienna to check out, but other than that we were free agents. This, coupled with the fact that it was Easter left few options.

We followed our lead and had dinner at a pub called Highlander. While there, I came to find out that one of Vienna’s specialties is spare ribs. Like Texas roadhouse style ribs. And they were incredible! So tender, salty, delicious.

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I tried to look into why spare ribs are all over the city but came up with nothing. A deep-web search (and by this I mean I went to page 5 of Google) offered no explanations, just restaurant recommendations.

Being Easter weekend and all, we couldn’t find any open bars so feeling defeated, we went back to the hostel bar but even they were closing down! The bartender told us to go across the street to a gay bar called Mango – they were always open. And it was perfect! When we walked in, there were only three other people there and the bartender was playing whatever music you asked for.

Vienna is fairly bike friendly, so the next day we rented some from the hostel to go sightseeing. We had brunch at a cool spot called Ulrich in the Neubau district.

Next we headed to the Habsburg family crypts (Kaisergruft) where 12 Emperors, 18 Empresses plus another 145 family members lie in ornate tombs.

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Before riding to the next landmark, we made a stop at Cafe Pruckel, a beloved Viennese cafe. Instead of walking into an updated interior, you’re transported back to the 1950s. The decor is still intact – even the older woman reading a paper who looks like she hasn’t moved in decades. You can get a wonderful coffee and cake here while sun pours through the large windows.

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From there, we rode past St. Stephen’s Cathedral and headed up the hill to Belvedere Castle.

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Our last stop that day was walking through Naschmarkt, directly across the street from our hostel. This vast collection of food stalls has 16th-century origins and we found lots to snack on.

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On our last night, we went to the Museum of Applied Arts (MAK) because it was free and they had some kind of Star Wars exhibit. We wandered around until we came to a dark room filled with bean bag chairs and a variety of gaming consoles (from Atari 2600 to XBOX), all set up to play video games from every Star Wars episode.

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We kept it calm that night and just had pho noodles on the way back to the hostel. Tomorrow, we were headed to Budapest!

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