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Vienna & Bratislava

SLOVAKIA | Friday, 3 July 2015 | Views [339]

Greetings from a ferry off the Dalmatian coast! Me and my new travel gal pal Kirsty, who hails from Leicester, England, have been travelling together now for about 4 days after we met in Zagreb and realized we were taking the same route down to Greece. We’re headed back to Split, where we’ll catch an afternoon bus to Bosnia. I can't wait to tell you all about the islands over here! I'm burnt to a crisp, and don't even care, I'm having so much fun. But more on that later…

Anyways, backing up this train... upon leaving Prague, I took a surprisingly comfy overnight bus to Vienna, which got me there promptly at 8 AM. I can't recommend overnight travel enough; it's cheap, easy, usually comfortable, and you save on accommodation for a night!

I met new friends on the bus and hostel, and after checking in, we set off to explore the city, which meant an exhaustive day of walking everywhere. We visited St. Stephen's Cathedral, where we had a fantastic view of the city, the famous Opera house, more churches, a lovely park, the Spanish Riding School, and ended at the Royal Palace, where I later took a tour of the royal family’s home.

I wish I could say I remembered all of this, but everyone was so tired that we kind of walked aimlessly to tourist site to the next in a haze.

Believe it or not, one of my favorite parts of Vienna was my hostel. I stayed at Prime Rooms Vienna, which is essentially a giant house-converted-hostel where about 10 people stay at a time, and has a family-orientated atmosphere. That night, we had a BBQ, cracked open a few beers, and played Cards Against Humanity (Aussie rules, where I learnt what the words “bogan” and “boat people” meant), before tucking into a surprisingly comfy bed. The great part is, if you want dinner, you simply chip in what you think it's worth into a bucket, so grocery shopping is done during the day, and when you return, dinner is either on the table or close to being served.

I have to say, of all the places I've been, I wasn't the biggest fan of Vienna. Sure, it was lovely, had gorgeous architecture and parks, but it did not leave me spellbound the way Prague did.

The following day, we decided to take the 1 hour bus to Bratislava, Slovakia. As I learnt, this city has actually been around since the Stone Age, and has a long history under the Hungarian dynasty. Because we were limited on time, we walked around and decided to do a castle tour by car, which was nice, but the downside was trying to take pictures without cables and traffic getting in the way. I usually opt out of tours that include transport, because walking makes for great exercise, and I tend to pay better attention to a personal guide as opposed to a pre-recorded speech with headphones.

We reached the top of the castle, snapped a couple pictures, and got back into our cute town car to complete the tour. We had just enough time to walk around the Old Town and take pictures before feasting on a pork knuckle (which was AMAZING), and sampling local beers.

The highlight of the trip came when we opted out of a return bus and splurged on a riverboat back to Vienna. Deciding to make it more fun, we purchased 2 bottles of Slovakian wine, and admired the views of castle ruins, churches, and campsites while cruising up the Danube.

As much as I wanted to stay in my hostel another night (it was poker night, and I do love a good round of Texas Hold ‘Em), I hopped on my first overnight train to Kraków, Poland!

Until next time. Happy travels! 

~ Katie

Tags: bratisalva, castle, cathedral, danube, vienna

 

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