The previous night I was woken at 3am by one of my roommates returning from a night of partying. The next morning he couldn’t stop telling me about how he had 35 drinks. Congratulations to you.
After eating the free breakfast provided by my hostel I left for Schönbrunn Palace. This enormous estate has a palace, gardens, parks, a zoo, a bakery, and many restaurants and cafes. I took the smaller tour of the palace, which may have been a mistake because it was honestly the best museum tour so far. The audio guide was well written, with good pacing and voice acting, a rarity in audio guides. Usually I get bored and want to skip things constantly, or they only briefly mention something that seems really interesting. This audio guide was top notch.
After leaving the palace I walked through the gardens up the hill to an area that provided a beautiful view of the city. The gardens themselves were very impressive, spanning a vast stretch of land. The climb up the hill wasn’t too steep but it was hot out. Really hot. Vienna has been scorching hot. I believe it was around 35 celsius that day. As a Vancouverite, that is approaching unbearable.
Due to the exercise and eat I was starving so I decided to try some traditional Viennese food, wiener schnitzel. Using a travel guide app I found a nearby place that had high ratings and went in. For just over 10 euros I had wiener schnitzel with potato salad and a coke. It was quite good. Not amazing, but good. I have noticed that Austrian food tends to be dry. Even foods not native to Austria, like kebabs and a chinese noodle dish I had the previous day seemed to be prepared with less sauce and a drier texture. Not sure if I just happened on a few places like this or if it is actually commonplace in Austria.
After my meal I hopped on a tram and headed towards the Technology Museum. Vienna apparently has one of the most extensive tram networks in the world, along with an extensive metro system. It seemed to me to be close to Madrid’s system in size but apparently it is quite a bit smaller. Still, it efficiently gets you where you want to go and is considered one of the top transportation systems in the world. After the tram demo at the Vancouver Olympics I wasn’t particularly sold on bringing trams to Vancouver, but it seems like it has the potential to be a good alternative to the skytrain system for areas that don’t quite have the transit demand to make a skytrain worth it. A study by UBC’s Design Centre for Sustainability estimates that for the price of 12km of underground skytrain, you could get 175km of tramway.
Anyways, back to Vienna. The Technology Museum was entertaining but definitely showed its age a bit. Compared to the CosmoCaixa in Barcelona, a similar science/technology museum, it isn’t quite as good. With that being said, there were still lots of fun hands on experiments to play around with and many exhibits on everything from lighting to how we work.
By this point in the day I was beginning to feel sick. I have no idea if it was something I ate, the heat, or a bug, but after the technology museum I took a tram to the Rathaus where I was going to wander around the core area for a while. I ended up noticing that the Vienna Film Festival started that night with a showing of a recorded Adele concert. I decided I would come back to see that at night and go back to my hostel to take a nap.
With a nap and lots of water I felt well enough to head back downtown for some recorded concert action. Even though by the end I was back to feeling pretty bad, I am glad I went. This outdoor summer event is a pretty cool idea, and it really highlights the high levels of public trust in Vienna. Next to the giant screen there are probably about 20 food booths with food and drinks from around the world ( The U.S. booth was Coca Cola… ). Even though this area is outside, with no security, no controlled entry or exit, or patrolling police, they gave everyone proper glasses, cutlery, and plates. Anyone could have easily walked off with this stuff, but seemingly not here. Apparently crime is really low in Austria as well, and I noticed very few police compared to Spain and Italy where they are everywhere.
The Adele concert was great. I forgot how amazing her voice is and even though I’m not the biggest fan I am glad I went.