SURPRISE! Bet you thought I was going to Bratislava next… Well, I changed my mind last minute due to the prospects of a wine tour and I have no ragrets*. Before we get to that though, I did some exploring through the city kicking it off with a walk and fork tour. Its pretty self-explanatory really, we walked through Vienna while I rapidly fell in love with the city, and then followed up with a schnitzel and an apple strudel (Yay for being back with Austrian food) at a local restaurant.
With the wine tour being booked out for the next couple of days my non-existent stop in Vienna turned into a 4 night stay. So day one was filled with solo touristing including watching the training of the ridiculously expensive horses of the Spanish riding school. Which was pretty chill, I ended up getting a seat (harder than you think) next to another solo traveller and we had a decent chat. Then then then I went to the St Stephens cathedral, covering all three levels by checking out the ground level church, then underground into the catacombs which was insane with remains from hundreds of plague victims and then up the 343 stairs into the tower for a panorama view of the city and a leg cramp. Topping it off with a dinner out with the girls in Nashmarkt.
So someone mentioned a wine tour? Well I’m glad you brought that up because I have plenty to tell you. Not only was it a wine tour… it was a wine AND bike tour, around the Wachau region just outside of Vienna. Our little crew hopped on the train out to Krems to continue on by bike along the Danube River stopping off at 2 wineries to sample 7 very generous servings of local white wine. Jess and I were quite strategic and palmed off most of my wine to Alice.
We stopped off in Durnstein which is a town that is very Apricot-savy. With apricots growing locally, they have not shy’d on utilising these fruits in every way, from apricot soaps to apricot chocolates to apricot schnapps, sound great right?! Well not if you have a stone fruit allergy. But I did manage to snag a sample of a raspberry vodka amidst the apricot haven. Another schnitzel down and via the second winery in ‘Weinbenkirchen in the Wachau’, we ventured on down to the ferry terminal and across the river for a change in scenery on the ride home. We also made it across just in time to get caught in the rain which wasn’t as unpleasant as it sounds because it was still really warm, and it did prep us for a swim in the Danube later down the track. So that was pretty special, Alice and I were the only ones silly enough to give ourselves hypothermia though it was worth it… and it actually wasn’t as cold as expected… still damn cold… but I didn’t freeze. Winding up our tour with a gelato we were back on the train headed home… and then straight back to the Krems train station for a switch-a-roo because the train broke down 50m down the track… but then we were headed home for realz.
My last day I thought I’d better follow through and do a day trip over to Bratislava. Marking off another country in the process, so tick for Slovakia, yay! It was super cute too and a really good day. I took the time to detox from other humans (in the midst of thousands of tourists) and roamed the streets solo, to the Bratislava museum and up the tower… yep, more stairs. Then I hiked my self up the hill to the city walls and the Bratislava Castle where I chilled on the grass and ate my day old sandwich, mmm the perks of budget travel. Not wanting to make Vienna feel left out I flixbus’d it home early and headed to the Schobrunn Palace and gardens for some happy snaps while the sun set.
pic: streets of Bratislava, looking through to the castle on top of the hill
Oh oh oh and guess who I saw that night?! My housemate from Sydney! We finally crossed paths after both travelling around Europe for a month! So we had more strudel (my second for that day alone) and a little catch up. Just more proof of everything happening for a reason because as you know I wasn’t meant to stop off in Vienna and if I hadn’t I would have seen my Ashleigh. So thanks universe, you win again!
- To Do: oh em Ghee the wine and bike tour was super great! Catacombs were also an awesome bucket list tick, super fascinating.
- Food: if you don’t take Austria as an excuse to schnitzel and strudel every damn day then I would be super disappointed.
- Drink: white wine here is very legit… apparently the red is absolutely awful though so did’t go there.
Next stop: Budapest, Hungary
Annie Charlotte xx
* Not even a single letter