It’s said that the best way to get to know a city is by walking through it. Whether you are aimlessly strolling the streets or are navigating your way to a highly rated café, the best way to travel is to hit the pavement with your best foot forward. I toured the streets a few times and each time I got a new perspective of Vienna.
I was alone the first time I walked around Vienna. I had arrived the day before the program officially started so I stayed at a nearby hostel. The next day, I opened up Google Maps and found my directions. The walk was slightly over an hour long, but I needed to move after the long flight. Without further ado, I made my way. Almost immediately I became confused. The street names were so long, unpronounceable, and nowhere to be seen. It wasn’t until I had wandered down a few streets that I noticed the blue signs on the front of the buildings.
As I walked around, I couldn’t help but ogle at the incredible architecture. I knew that I looked like a tourist, but it was worth it. The intricate designs were awe inspiring. There were new and incredible sights with every corner I turned. I walked through the Stadtpark, past the Karlskirche, and turned at the Heldendenkmal der Roten Armee. As I continued walking, I noticed that the atmosphere had shifted somewhat. I had left the fourth district and had come all the way to the eleventh. Here, in the eleventh district, the buildings seemed shorter and grayer.
My next walking adventure was with a guided tour from our program. For an hour and a half, seven of us were shown around Vienna and were given an insider’s perspective. We started at the IES Abroad Center on Johannegasse before we made our way around the Ringstrasse. Vienna is designed as a set of circles that makes it easy for both mindless flaneuring and focused steps. As we walked down the narrow streets, lined with pastel buildings, I tried to imagine all the history. It was made somewhat difficult when there were a few advertisements plastered on St. Stephen’s Cathedral. Nevertheless, it was an awe-inspiring sight. I had seen pictures of Vienna and of the famous landmarks online before, but it didn’t compare to being there in person.
We went down various streets and turns. Martin, our guide, brought us to an international cinema where they show American movies. The narrow streets eventually lead to a larger area. In the middle was a concrete monument in memorial for the Holocaust. Martin explained that many people don’t know what the memorial is since there are not many clear signs indicating its significance. There was a Jewish history museum nearby as well.
Martin, our guide, gave some useful tricks to eating around the city. He advised us to stay away from the noodle shops, except Happy Noodle and Akakiko, because people have gotten food poisoning. He went on to say that the various hot dog and kebap stands around were all really good. Specifically the Käsekrainer, cheese sausage. A few other people and I went to one of the hot dog stands that he had pointed to earlier. We all ordered the Käsekrainer. The meal itself was a cheese infused hotdog stuffed into a small baguette. We were offered either ketchup or mustard. I am not quite sure how the hot dog was made or how it was structured but each bite had the perfect ration of meat to cheese. The mustard was slightly tangy and perfectly offset the cheese.
After lunch, we continued to meander around the central plaza until it was time to go back for more presentations. Although I settled into a comfortable routine, I continued to find interesting little spots. One day, while I was wandering, I came across a very cute candy store. And just earlier today I saw an organic and natural grocery store. Just goes to show that the wonders of Vienna, or anywhere, could be just around the corner.
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<p>I am currently a student at the University of Vermont, where I am pursuing an English degree. I have two older sisters. I I love reading, swimming, and coffee.</p>