My last post presented to you the program of my little trip in Central Europe, between four cities of the former Austro-Hungarian Empire: Vienna, Bratislava, Budapest and Prague.
The idea is to tell you about this trip day by day, focusing on places, moments, delicacies, attractions, etc. Don’t hesitate to share your observations or your favorite places with me!
Let’s start now with the first day, that I spent mostly travelling from Luxembourg to Vienna. But the journey is, on my opinion, an integral part of the trip. The adventure begins on my doorstep!
12:00 P.M. – 03:00 P.M. – Transportation
I bought my plane tickets in April 2014 – that is to say, four months in advance – on the national Luxembourg airline – Luxair ‑ website. About 158€ for a round-trip ticket; departure from the airport of Luxembourg – Findel, a human-sized airport, well served and close from my place.
Indeed I live in the East of France; going to Luxembourg will always be less expensive for me than going to Paris or Roissy by high-speed train, from Nancy or the rural railway station of Lorraine-TGV. If I lower my travel expenses this way, I can have the pleasure of travelling with a national airline and its inherent services as a baggage allowance (20kg of hold luggage and 7kg of cabin luggage), for example. You can bring back some souvenirs! A free snack is served on board.
Think about the Luxembourg if you’re in the East of France! Now, Luxair serves regurlarly a few European destinations: Copenhagen, Dublin, Lisbon, Stockholm, etc.
Departure at 12:40 P.M and arrival at 02:30 P.M, Vienna International Airport. Few solutions to join the city-center from there, except cabs or chauffeur-driven cars : buses and trains. I prefer to avoid the cab when it’s possible, especially in a very expensive city as Vienna. I usually choose public transportation. I discovered the website of Wien.info thanks to Google before I went, and there you can find the best solutions to join the city-center from the airport.
Two trains, for example: the CAT (City Airport Train), a special high-speed train (16 minutes from the airport to the city-center) and the regular trains of the ÖBB, the Austrian railway company, slower (26 minutes) but a little less expensive. I chose the CAT and bought my ticket on the Internet before my departure (17€ for a return ticket to print at home, and 34€ with a 72h Vienna transport ticket). A good option when you know that a one way ticket in Vienna costs 2€ in everage for the bus / subway / tramway.
Arrival at the station of Wien Mitte / Lanstrasse, and change for the line U3 of the subway to Ottakring, stop to Volktheater. From there, I could join quickly my accomodation for four night: the very conveniently located Rathaus Wien & Design Hotel, to which I will devote a future post.
04:00 P.M. to 07:00 P.M. – A typical Viennese snack
Therefore, I was operational from about 04:00 P.M. and I could take advantage of this nice afternoon to explore the Rathauspark, in front of the Burgtheater, where the Film Festival took place during August, as every year. For this occasion, the place is particularly bustling at the end of the day and on evenings : dance, pop, jazz or classic concerts, outdoor cinema or opera, from the 1st to the 31st August. Have a cocktail and enjoy the Viennese summer!
07:00 P.M. to Midnight – The blue Danube…
The evening begins to fall and it is high time to swap our Viennese coffee for a trendy cocktail by the Donaukanal’s edge, an old Danube’s arm. The city was a long time suspicious of the Danube, and the river doesn’t run across the historical Vienna: you can walk hours without seeing the river, which is a very different situation from Paris, Rome and London, for example!
Speak of cosmopolitism: do you know the Tel Aviv Beach? A summer place in the sand, under the heat lamps which give again some radiance to the fresh nights of the shy Viennese summer. Lounge atmosphere, perfect to discover the Hugos, THE Austrian trendy cocktail of the summer, we will discuss it again later!
The menu also offers some excellent Middle-Eastern snacks to soothe every hunger. The owner of the restaurant NENI, to which the Tel Aviv Beach belongs, is Israeli; it is possible to find the NENI products in her design brasserie in the Naschmarkt market, a famous place in Vienna that has known how to preserve its popular soul.
The menus are an ode to the Mediterranean flavours, also developed in a vegan– and gluten-free way. Taste the hamshuka, an home made hummus with olive oil, minced beef and chili. A delicacy that confuses our compasses : Tel Aviv, Danubefront!
The curtain falls soon on the Danubian beach of the Tel Aviv, the last orders are taken, the heat lights are turned off… It is time to return to my hotel by a thirty-minutes happy walk through the streets of the Austrian capital, less intimidating by night and whose the proud past allows itself to be tamed more readily by the street lights.
Please forgive the bad quality of my personal pics, taken with an iPhone 4S…