Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Day 1 in Vienna, Strolling Around the City Center

I left Prague early this morning on a 6:39 am train to Vienna, about a five hour train ride.  I am getting used to the early morning routine, although it is more difficult to get up early now that I am over my jet lag and sleep almost normal hours.

The alarm on my cell phone went off at 5:15 am, I got up, quickly got dressed and finished packing my luggage.  I checked out and I asked the concierge for directions to Prague's main train station.  He gave me walking directions, told me it would take 15 minutes, 20 minutes at the most, I decided to walk it instead of taking the subway like I did when I arrived in Prague. I followed the map and made it to Prague's main train station without any problems, I did not get lost, always a fear in Prague with its confusing streets and constantly changing street  names.

When I arrived the Vienna train's departure platform was not listed, I went to a shop and bought 2 croissants and a fruit cup.  I have not had much fruit and decided I would get at least one serving for breakfast, I have not had the best diet since I arrived in Europe.  About 20 minutes before the train's departure time, the platform was announced, I found the platform and the train arrived shortly after.

My train ride to Vienna was uneventful, I was in first class, mandatory when you are over 26 years old and traveling on the Eurail pass.  First class in this train was not as comfortable, my seat did not recline, there was ample legroom though.  The conductor woke me up, tapping on my legs at one point during the trip, I had my feet in the seat next to mine, with my shoes on, a big no no on European trains.  This happened to me on my way to Berlin too, the German man next to me had his feet on the chair in front of him, but he moved before the conductor got to our compartment, I was not fast enough.  '

We arrived at Vienna's main train station just before 11:30 am., I had copied directions to the hostel before I left Prague and I had no problems navigating Vienna's metro system and finding the hostel's metro stop.  I ran into the hostel walking down the street looking for it, this hostel has several Vienna locations, I went inside planning to ask for directions to my hostel, the man at the desk told me I was at the right place.  I was relieved, finding my hostel in Prague was an exercise in frustration, my Vienna hostel was a short walk from the metro.

I got to the hostel just after noon, check in time was 2pm.  I checked in at the front desk, paid for my room and went to look for food.  I wanted to eat something Viennese, so I went to the Naschmarkt, located conveniently across from my hotel.  I walked around the market, I saw lots of Asian food, etc. then I found a restaurant with Wiener Schnitzel, Austria's National Dish.

My Wiener Schnitzel Lunch at Naschmarkt 
After lunch I went back to my hostel to check in, one hostel mate was already there, a woman from Switzerland.   We talked for awhile, then she went out.  I was tempted to stay in this afternoon, I have been on the go constantly since I arrived in Europe, I later decided to walk to Vienna's center where some of the main tourist attractions are located.  I got the free map from the hostel, asked the man at the front desk where we were located in relation to Vienna's city center and he showed me where to go to see the main attractions.

Vienna is a small city, getting downtown  was easy, a straight shot from my hostel.  I walked to Heldenplatz, hero's square, which was the Imperial Palace until 1918, the center of the Hapsburg empire.  I have been hearing and learning about the Habsburg empire since I arrived in Prague a couple of days ago.  

Lynnae in Hero's Square
I walked to Voksgarten and took a picture with the Mozart memorial, then I walked around to the house of Parliament, which has a statue of Pallas Athena in the front. My map says the placement of Pallas Athena, the goddess of wisdom, in front of Vienna's Parliament has been the subject of mocker, because her back is turned to the building, it must mean there is no wisdom in Vienna's Parliament.

Me in front of Vienna's Parliament & Pallas Athena 
After walking around Vienna's city center, I headed back towards my hostel.  I wanted to get Asian food for dinner, I have been eating unhealthy food lately, I figured with Asian food, I would at least get some vegetable, even if I got a bowl full of white rice.  I did not have much trouble finding my way back to area where my hostel is located, I ran into Naschmarkt and the street my hostel is on accidentally.  I stopped at the first Asian food restaurant I saw at Naschmarkt, I ordered Thai red curry.  The curry was good but a different taste than I am use to getting in the US, Washington, DC is my point of reference.  After I ate, I went back to my hostel, got some Haribo Gummy bears and went back to my room.

My roommate from Switzerland was back from her outing and we talked, she told me two Australians had moved into the room, I met them shortly after I got back from dinner.  We spent the evening talking about our travels through Europe.  Everyone is sleep now, I am going to bed too, now that I have finished my blog post for today. 

Vienna Day 1 Photo Album

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