Sometimes the weekend trips that my friends and I take have been planned for weeks, even months. Many times, the destination is a place one if us has had in mind even before studying abroad. Other times, it's simply the cheapest flight on a certain weekend. My trip to Vienna was mostly the latter. Nonetheless, this trip was one of my absolute favorites thus far.
We took our usual 5:38 A.M. train from Salamanca to Madrid Principe Pio to make our morning flight to Vienna. Through our slightly sleep-deprived eyes, we peered out our windows as we began to descend upon Central Europe for the first time. Right when we got off the plane, we realized we might have made a mistake as it was overcast and raining. Nonetheless, we charged forward, grabbing an Uber, eating a quick lunch, and then heading to our Airbnb in the city. Our lodging was more than we could have hoped for. The large apartment boasted five beds, two bedrooms, a large bathroom, a kitchen, a living room, and a washer.
After setting down our stuff, we took off to visit St. Stephen's Cathedral. We took the metro to get to the cathedral, which was clean, fast, and super easy to use. The outside of the cathedral was adorned with precious gothic architecture, but the inside was something entirely new to us. Rather than the style we had seen in many Spanish and Portuguese cathedrals, the interior of this Catholic cathedral consisted of darker colors like browns and beiges, with chandeliers hanging from the high ceiling and wooden decorations that hailed the Saints climbing up the wall. We even made it to the top of the cathedral, which offered a breathtaking view of the city that we were able to enjoy despite the rain and heavy wind.
Leaving the cathedral, we made our way through the many shops that existed in the cathedral square and adjoining plazas. We were able to find all the souvenirs that we wanted. From there, we walked to a grocery store to buy food for dinner and our next breakfast. We were super excited to have a kitchen to cook in. For dinner, we made pasta with a bell pepper-red sauce and garlic bread. That night, we ate together and planned what we were going to do tomorrow.
The next day, the rain had definitely died down as the sun began to shine on our trip. We woke up and prepared a breakfast of scrambled eggs, bacon, orange juice and strawberries. The first stop on our agenda was Schönbrunn Palace. This summer residence of the Hapsberg family had magnificent grounds and gardens that we were able to walk through, complete with an ornate fountain similar to the Trevi Fountain in Rome. From there, we headed to the Hofburg, another Hapsburg Palace, where we got a tour of the imperial apartments of the Hapsburgs and the lodgings of the famous Empress Elisabeth (Sisi).
After our palace hopping, we got lunch in the city for an authentic Austrian meal. I got the “Kaiser Spritz” which was made with elderberry syrup, Austrian lemonade and schnitzel. We then walked over to the Museum of Natural History. Even just the building itself was impressive. Walking into the museum, you enter a large room with statues of scholars like Isaac Newton and Socrates surrounding you, sculpted in a greed-goddesque fashion. We were able to see almost every room in the museum before closing, and honestly each exhibit was more impressive than the last. We walked through a public market on the way back from the museum before stopping at a pizza place for dinner. We had a 6 A.M. flight the next morning, so we hurried to bed.
I honestly had never pictured myself in Austria, but now all I want to do is go back. The time was definitely made better by the company I had. While staying in hostels is a lot of the time more cost-effective and a part of the whole “weekend traveling experience,” I would sincerely recommend grabbing an Airbnb with your friends for your next adventure.
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Kai da Luz
My name is Kai da Luz and I am a current sophomore at Villanova University who is studying in Salamanca. I love to play volleyball and am a major foodie.