When I got my roster last month and saw that I had a flight to Vienna coming up, I knew I was in for a treat. My school friend Iris sent me a message asking if I had any plans, and we soon made one, for her to come up and stay for 24 hours.
We try to catch up whenever possible, but it’s usually only once or twice a year, depending on how often I’m able to get back to Austria. She had taken the bus from her hometown Klagenfurt (where I also lived for 6 years) to come and meet me in Vienna, and was waiting in our hotel when I arrived from Dubai.
We immediately changed and got ready to head out into the city.
It was around a 30 minute stroll to the city centre, and it was so good to catch up as we walked!
We arrived in the city centre, admiring the Stephansdom, the main cathedral.
Luckily we’d both brought an umbrella, as it started absolutely pouring right as we got to the city! We ducked into the closest shop and waited for the rain to pass. Meanwhile, my brother Matt and his girlfriend were passing through on their way to Klagenfurt, so we arranged to meet for a coffee at a place called Café Diglas nearby.
We all had a coffee and shared a delicious Austrian dessert called Kaiserschmarrn, similar to a thick pancake, chopped up, covered in icing sugar and served with raisins and plum sauce.
After Matt and his girlfriend Miriam left, Iris and I decided to climb up to the top of the Stephansdom, for a view over the city. For 5 Euros you can climb up the 343 steps of the South Tower, which we chose to do, or if you don’t want your legs to ache the next day, you can take the lift up the North Tower, where the viewpoint is slightly lower.
It was pretty cool to see the coloured roof from up close! There’s not actually a balcony once you reach the top, it’s just a small room with windows on each side, and a little shop in case you fancy buying a magnet or postcard.
Once back down, we had a stroll through the city and wandered towards the Opera House.
If you go up to the terrace of the nearby Albertina Museum there’s a great view of the opera house from slightly higher. (As an added bonus – there are free toilets inside the museum, always handy!)
We then walked down towards the Burggarten, where if it was slightly sunnier we might have sat outside at the café for a drink.
Continuing our walk past all of the pretty buildings in Vienna, we ended up at the Hofburg. Once the principal imperial palace of the Hambsburg dynasty, the Hofburg is now the official residence and workplace of the Austrian President.
Once you emerge from the other side, there are rows of “Fiakers” lined up – the traditional Viennese horse-drawn carriage.
Having walked for quite a few kilometres, we stopped for a drink and some dinner. If you’re ever in Austria, make sure to try the “Hugo” – a delicious refreshing cocktail made of prosecco, soda water, elderflower cordial and fresh mint and lime.
The next morning we were up bright and early to make the most of the extensive breakfast buffet at the hotel, and they even gave the generous crew discount to Iris! 😉
Since we had a bit of time before I had to get ready for my flight and Iris had to catch her bus, we decided to go for another walk to some other parts of the city we hadn’t seen the day before. The weather was much better, with bright blue skies and fluffy white clouds.
We ended up at the Karlskirche, a stunning baroque church built in 1737.
Having walked past the entrance to Schönnbrunn Palace on the way there, we decided to stop by for a stroll through the gardens.
The palace was once the summer residence of the Habsburg empire, and is certainly very impressive. The manicured gardens were just perfect for a stroll and some fresh air before our journeys back home.
Before too long it was time to head back to the hotel and say goodbye. Hopefully see you soon, Iris!