I finished my finals on December 18th. My friend came to visit and explore Vienna with me on December 19th. We flew home on December 23rd. The few days that we were together were sumptuously filled, as I showed her some of my favorite places and places I’d wanted to go the entire semester, while simultaneously kissing Vienna goodbye (for now). I’ll share some of those spots here.
1. Spittelberg Christmas market
Of all the Christmas markets I ventured through in the city, this was the one I ended up visiting nearly every day. I bought the most personal handmade Christmas presents here, and the food and punsch were tasty. The most enchanting asset to this homey market is the hovel-esque opening off to the side of one of the streets lined with stalls. There is a wooden door that’s cracked open, and right through it, there is a punsch counter. Lights are strung above chattering friends’ heads in waves. People with beards and beanies are surrounding you on all sides, but you don’t mind because this is just more evidence that Christmas is approaching.
Getting to this point is a little lengthy, but you’ll know it’s work it as soon as the bus slows to a stop. The view is sweeping. The Danube, the tallest parts of the city, the rolling vineyard land, and the residential pockets are all visible from this sweet spot atop and away from the bustle of the city. My friend and I gathered up the view as best we could and then trekked down to Grinzing for coffee to chat and enjoy.
3. Belvedere Palace
My friend and I sauntered through the palace grounds at night and then wandered into the Unteres Belvedere gallery. Each room is artwork, even without the oil paintings gracing its walls. We gazed at Klimt’s “The Kiss” in all its gilded glory, there.
This place is very dear to my heart. It is a stylish stationary shop on Neustiftgasse. During my time in Vienna, I visited this store at least 7 separate times and spent far too much money here. I don’t regret it for a second. The walls are white, and the vibrant merchandise is selected and placed in such a way that the small space feels like the inside of a children’s nursery or a some sort of dancing kaleidoscope. My excitement for this particular place could be due to my love for the intimacy that a pen and paper allow, but I firmly believe even those who don’t share my same passion can find joy in this spot.
5. Ferrari Gelato
Hands down best chocolate ice cream I’ve tasted in all my days. This place is just a street over from the IES Abroad Center, and I’m just going to leave it at this: I am 96% sure their chocolate flavor is actually whipped and frozen brownie batter. Unfortunately, it is closed during the chilly winter months, but go when you can, as often as you can!
6. Attic Bar (Dachboden-Bar)
I am no bar hopper, clubber, or “party girl," and I think I found my nighttime niche. This bar is ideal, in my opinion. It’s located at the top of the 25hours Hotel, that one that has “We are all mad here” beaming red in its window. The ambiance is interesting, with drums and cymbals hovering over the bar and dynamic seating throughout. There are comfy little couches dispersed in every corner, there’s a long table for the socializers, and there’s a mini cluster of old school barber stools at the back. The music is tasteful, and the crowd is too. I love it here most of all, because the entire front wall is composed of glass that opens wide to an extensive view of the city.
Here are just a few of my favorite places to visit in Wien. I sincerely hope you visit them all for yourselves and enjoy them in a new way!
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<p>Hello, hello! I'm Lauren Franklin, and I'm a junior at the University of San Diego. I'm an English major with a minor in psychology, and I'm trying to squeeze in as many theology and art classes as I possibly can. I would love to be the sort of student who's constantly found in the library studying away, but that's not always the case here: What bring me the most joy are grand stories, fresh produce, the green rolling outdoors, and creating and learning with friends who want to venture out together.</p>