My trip to Vienna feels like it was 100 year ago already! The truth is that my trip was for selfish reasons - I went there to ask Zanie if she would be my girlfriend. Face-to-face. I like to think that my dad would be proud of that. I'll start by saying this: the Austrian visa has to be the most difficult visa that I have ever applied for in all of my travels. Anywhere. Ever. While I haven't been to many places in my life; I geek out over such efficient public transport. No Lie. They even have an app that updates immediately if there are delays.
There is a ridiculous urban art culture in Vienna. The graffiti and street art is GOOD, and while I'm no connoisseur; it doesn't take an expert to be impressed by it. Nychos, Kashink, Puber, Isa, and Rookie are common, and easily accessible. The easiest place to go and see a bunch of rad graffiti is the canal along Obere Donaustraße. In summer, it's a social area that spans the length of the canal where you can buy beers, and food while you, "soak up the sun". In winter, you'll be lucky if you even find someone jogging along there because it's so cold. I don't get cold. It gets cold. The museums, palaces, and cathedrals in Vienna are astounding! Not just in their grandeur but the maintenance that keeps them nearly spotless. They're specters of the past that have been transformed into contemporary points of interest. I'd recommend Stephandsom, Peterskirche, and the Karl Borromäus Church (if only for the exterior, and the walk through the graveyard) as the best churches to see.
If you're in Vienna you HAVE TO eat a schnitzel with potato salad! The potato salad is not the regular Tannie-at-the-Sunday-braai variety, and the schnitzels are massive. I'm convinced they're some kind of pork Ostrich fillets! A good place to start is Schweizerhaus in Prater. There are a few places that you can indulge your penchant for street food if you're looking to satisfy yourself that way but arguably the very best burger in Vienna is at a place called ...Said The Butcher To The Cow. They also have really, really good gin options (like gin recipes) on the menu as well as a ridiculously good pumpkin cheese cake! That cheese cake changed my life. I make a point of not visiting the same place twice if I'm, "on tour", but I made a massive exception for this place - it's really good! Wow.
When it comes to art, and museums, there is no way you can skip any of the regular attractions. My favourite was the Secession Building, Belvedere Palace, and Leopold Museum. There is so much Schiele, and Klimt - it's paradise! You're going to see bootlegs of "The Kiss" everywhere... Umbrellas, dresses, shorts, postcards, backpacks, hats, socks. You name it. I would gladly go back to Vienna just to see the artworks again because the exhibits are immense, winding mazes, filled with works that I had only seen printed in textbooks as little thumbnails until then. It might just have been the time of year but I never felt overwhelmed or rushed in any of these places. Except the one time when people were touching the paintings in Belvedere Palace and I had to leave.
Bratislava is arguably the odd cousin of Vienna. There's no off-the-beaten-track story it IS off-the-beaten-track - not in a bad way. It feels like cognitive dissonance. Like you're walking into a relic from the iron age, frozen in time, but it has all the contemporary conveniences you'd expect. Sneaker stores, coffee shops, Michael's gate, pizza joints, the blue church, waffle houses, and a plethora of odd bars decorate the cobble-stone paths of the old town. It's loud, and old, and new all at once - the city is a juxtaposition of tradition, and development. Easily the best way to end my trip (I asked Zanie if she'd be my girlfriend here - in an Irish pub - surrounded by men shouting at TV screens while we drank velvet beer). This was where I got to see a piece of Jan Vorman art. Lego blocks stuck into a crumbling wall.
I also managed to sneak in a visit to Salzburg for a day. Just to go and see the home of Red Bull (because I couldn't possibly go all that way and not). It's another spot that definitely needs a few days to properly relish the quaintness of it. There is a tourist route that will take you to the mountain, and then to the castle, but I feel like you need to slow your pace and savour the air. I walked so far that day. Every day actually. After all is said and done; it's not hard to see why Austrians are such proud people. This post could easily have been divided into four parts - and even then it'd only be scratching the surface. I'm immensely grateful that I had the opportunity to travel there and experience it for myself. "Auf den berg hinauf".