I can’t help thinking of the Ultravox classic when I think about Vienna, the gorgeous Austrian capital. For many, many years Vienna has been at the top of the ever-growing list of places I want to visit, and I finally got there! Our first full day began at St Stephen’s Cathedral which, once again, was covered in scaffolding (woo!). Upon finding out that the Archbishop of Vienna was seated in the Cathedral, we found it fitting to light a candle inside out of respect. A short walk around the corner saw us facing the Catholic Church of St Peter and its recognisable green dome. Many horses pulling carriages trundled past and I remember saying to Bex that ‘this is Vienna, this right here’ because it was so classically Viennese.
All day, I was so overwhelmed by all of the gorgeous architecture that I got so snap-happy exploring the Hofburg Palace, Austrian National Library and Maria-Theresien-Platz and my memories of the day all blur into one! Our short walk through the courtyard of the palace was particularly memorable as we passed the entrance to the infamous Spanish Riding School – the horses were stunning! We then began to walk around the Ringstrasse that encases the city centre of Vienna; you can easily see most of the landmarks by walking this road.
After passing Museumsquartier and the Austrian Parliament Building, we sat down in the park surrounding the Rathaus (City Hall) for a relaxing breather. It didn’t take too long to realise that there was some sort of concert rehearsal going on – there was a large sculpture of a man wearing a top hat decorating the scaffolding around the stage. Suddenly, the large screens beside the stage lit up and music started playing…it was Conchita Wurst. My heart started doing flips. Now, I’m quite the Eurovision nerd, and Conchita is the well-known drag queen who won the competition for Austria back in 2014 with her song ‘Rise like a Pheonix’. Immediately, we took to Google and found out that the Life Ball was being held the following night and that we could get free tickets, so we grabbed some…obviously (I’ll explain more about the event later).
We then boarded the metro to the old amusement park – Prater Park – to dine in the famous Rollercoaster Restaurant. We didn’t know what to expect, but we’d both seen the restaurant featured on Facebook so we knew we had to check it out. The concept is this: you’re seated beside a number, you order your food on an iPad and scan your allocated number, your food and drinks are delivered to you by robots and a series of rollercoaster tracks which fill the room – mindblowing. We both had a pulled pork and coleslaw burger with fries, the prices were decent (ish) totalling €16 for the meal and a drink, but the portion size and taste were amazing!
Our second day saw us grabbing an SBahn to Belvedere Palace. We’d seen online that we could get under 19’s tickets for free (Bex and I are both aged 19), so we purchased some just in case we could get away with it…and we did! Unintentionally conned the Palace out of €50 there…woops! The Upper section of the palace was where all of the main attractions are, including Gustav Klimt‘s famous painting – The Kiss. The foyer of the palace was something that I’d seen many pictures of in the past and I was so overwhelmed when I saw all of the marble sculptures in person! Reiterating what I said in my previous post about Prague, Bex and I don’t appreciate the art nearly as much as we should do, it was stunning but I didn’t understand a lot of it. Conversely, seeing The Kiss was breathtaking! It is a painting that I’ve studied in the past in School so it was incredible seeing it in person, it’s so big!
We then walked through the gardens being amazed at the fountains and getting gravel stuck in my sandals (eugh). We approached the lower part of the palace but we stopped for strawberry gelato just before and ate it in the gorgeous gardens. The lower palace itself isn’t something that I’d recommend getting an individual ticket for, there isn’t much to see and isn’t anything in comparison to the upper palace. There was some sort of weird exhibition going on in the Orangery which was just a load of paintings and sculptures revolving around the theme of genitalia…there was even a cat with penis – we knew it was time to leave as soon as we saw that.
The evening rolled around and it was finally time to visit the Life Ball. The annual event is held as a fundraiser for those suffering with AIDS and attracts many well-known celebrities; it is broadcast on Austrian TV! After facing language barrier struggles trying to get our tickets accepted, we were positioned beside the red carpet! Although we couldn’t really see the dancers along the red carpet, we had a gorgeous view of the colour-changing Rathaus which was more than enough for us. It was then when I got told off for having my GoPro on a selfie-stick so I had to give it to a security guard…consequences of ‘getting the shot’, damn it! My Eurovision heart did another flip when this year’s Austrian entry, Nathan Trent, performed and he was incredible!! Of course, seeing Conchita host the event was overwhelming and was a perfect end to our time in Vienna.
If you have any questions about my general Interrail experience, feel free to check out my FAQ post here!
See my videos from Vienna here: