Honestly, I don’t know anything about Vienna. Except maybe… sausages? Those teeny weenies in a can I used to eat when I was in college and buh-roke as a joke. Sometimes they wouldn’t even make it out of the store and I’d have to hand the cashier the tiny, empty can. We’ve all been there, don’t even lie. I’ve seen you with the Oreos.
Vienna, the city? I know nothing. For this reason I’ve enlisted another traveling friend of mine to tell me all about his first impressions of Vienna. I need to know what to expect so when I do make it there I’m not disappointed by any lack of weenies. That’s never a good surprise.
This is my friend Josh. We’ve never actually met in person but Josh is a loyal Twitter buddy who is on the constant globetrot. Vienna, Austria is one of the places he visited for the first time in 2015.
I started First Impressions as a way of gathering opinions from different travelers (specifically about places I haven’t been myself). Everybody experiences locations differently and I find first impressions to be particularly interesting. If you’d like to catch up, check out First Impressions // Prague.
WHAT INITIALLY BROUGHT YOU TO VIENNA?
Knowing Vienna was only a quick train ride away from my first stop, Prague, I knew this place was next. Initially what brought me to Vienna was the historical center and of course Schönbrunn Palace. Ever since my first big trip to Scotland four years ago, castles, palaces, museums, art, etc. have fascinated me.
HOW LONG WERE YOU THERE?
I was in Vienna for 5 days which, as we all know with traveling, is never long enough!
WHAT WAS YOUR VERY FIRST IMPRESSION OF VIENNA?
My first impressions of Vienna were fantastic. When getting off the train I could instantly see a bustling city filled with old world and new world features. A quick cab ride to the flat I had rented gave me a great perspective of the city from above. Needless to say the lights at night enticed me to throw my bags down and start seeing what this city had to offer.
WHAT WAS SIMILAR TO YOUR EXPECTATIONS?
My expectations of Vienna were to see amazing places, take in some of Vienna’s history, and eat delicious food! Needless to say all three were easily met.
- St. Stephen’s Cathedral – There I am walking on Stephansplatz and look to my right and see just some shops and then I look to my left and I’m like WOW, “What is that?” Upon further investigation I learned of this great place and took a tour. It was fantastic!
- Schönbrunn palace was paradise. With older, gold filled interior rooms mixed with antique furniture, this place had it all. The gardens were just as nice, comparable to the Palace of Versailles in France. The view at the top did not disappoint.
- St. Peter’s Church – the view from the top and hand paintings on the wall speak for themselves.
- Vienna’s History: seen through museums and casually walking the streets. The museum quarter is something I have always wanted to see in Vienna. Everywhere you look – left, right, front and back – there were museums and, for people like me who love history, it was a dream.
- Ah, Vienna’s Food. The theme of this trip besides lovely deserts, good appetizers and different alcoholic beverages was ‘wienerschnitzel.’ I had this dish the most, fried and in soup which was just so good! Never tried anything like it or if I did I never thought twice about having it again until I came to Vienna.
WHAT WAS DIFFERENT?
Of all the countries I have been to, Vienna had a great mix of things while walking through the city center in terms of cultures both local and abroad. In many other countries I have visited everything in one area kind of looks the same. In Vienna, walking down the street and seeing gothic architecture mixed with modern shopping in industrial buildings, and one offs like the Spanish Riding School mixed with every style of food from all over really was amazing.
WHAT WAS YOUR FAVORITE THING ABOUT VIENNA?
My favorite thing about Vienna is simple, Schönbrunn Palace. I will never forget this view, walking the gardens, and touring the inside. I would categorize this as just overall natural beauty and diversity.
WHAT DID YOU LIKE THE LEAST ABOUT VIENNA?
- English was not spoken nearly as much as other European cities I have visited.
- The nightlife is not the easiest to find for those like myself who like to mix things up with the locals.
- Some places close too early during the week.
BEER & FOOD – WHAT WAS GOOD AND WHAT JUST SUCKED?
The Beer & food were on par. From breakfast to lunch and dinner Vienna definitely had a way of making food in their own unique style.
Most of the beers I had were lighter than what I am used to (being from San Diego, one of America’s craft beer meccas). Lager seemed to be their beer of choice and it did not disappoint.
My favorite overall place for food and beer was the Naschmarkt. It was amazing! Dr. Falafel was, by far, my favorite food there. Grab a beer, walk around and try different foods, can’t get much better than that!
I can’t really say anything bad about the food. I am a foodie and nothing I tried killed me or made me sick.
WHAT SURPRISED YOU THE MOST ABOUT VIENNA?
How big the city actually is and how much there is too see. Hah, for someone that was only there five days I definitely need to go back. If you take into account all the museums, shops, small hole-in-the-walls, I don’t think I even covered 50% of all Vienna has to offer.
HOW DOES VIENNA COMPARE TO OTHER EUROPEAN CITIES YOU’VE VISITED?
I didn’t find this city as exciting in terms of what I have experienced in other European cities. It’s clean and safe but not as fast paced as I would have liked.
DID YOU SEE ANYTHING WEIRD?
Nothing weird, sadly. This means I should have gone out more later at night. I’ll add it to my list for the next time I am there.
DESCRIBE VIENNA IN THREE WORDS.
Enticing, Stunning and Timeless
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HAVE YOU BEEN TO VIENNA? WHAT WERE YOUR FIRST IMPRESSIONS?