After a pleasant 4 hour train trip on OBB from Innsbruck complete with air conditioning, wifi, and plenty of space for Deuce, we checked into our hostel in Vienna around 5pm. After enjoying our amazing hotel in Innsbruck we had to slum it a bit in order to afford Vienna. Even staying in a hostel there costs 50 euro per night for 2 people and a dog… It is a very expensive city! Up there with Paris, London, and the Northern European capital cities.
After checking in and getting situated in our private room (toilets and showers were shared in the hallway), we headed out in search of some food. We walked down Mariahilfer street to the Ringstrasse and then entered the city center for beers and food at 1516 Brewery. The place was packed for a Wednesday night! After waiting 20 minutes to order, we finally received our beers and I ordered a burger while Joey opted for the Viennese classic, Wiener Schnitzel. Overall, the food and beers were average (nothing to seek out or go across town for), but the location was perfect for walking across the street to the Haus der Musik at 8pm. We also thoroughly enjoyed the conversation between two young working professionals obviously on a date from an online platform. The girl was Austrian but the guy was from Asia so they communicated in English… There were lots of awkward silences and interesting subject matter, much to our enjoyment.
Admission to the Haus der Musik is half price from 8 to 10pm. Which means 6.50 instead of 13 Euros per person. Big savings and night time entertainment? Yes please! The best part of the Haus der Musik is the many interactive displays which make learning about music and Vienna’s musical history much more engaging. Right after entering the museum we walked up the staircase keyboard. Each stair you step on makes the corresponding keyboard sound. The museum features an interactive exhibit about how our ears hear sounds, historical memorabilia about the Viennese Orchestra, and detailed displays about each of the famous Viennese composers, including Mozart, Beethoven, and Haydel. There is also an interactive game where you can throw dice in order to compose your own symphony, since apparently many famous composers would roll dice to help them come up with new patterns of sound. Another interactive exhibit allows you to direct your own orchestra by waving your hands in all directions in the air. We spent about an hour and a half in the museum and I enjoyed all of the touch screens and headphones which made it more interactive. I would recommend going at night to take advantage of the half price tickets!After visiting the museum, we strolled around the city center at night, which is much preferable to during the day in summer. During the day, temperatures soar and hoards of tourists descend upon the pedestrian streets at the city center, but at night it is cooler and less crowded. We walked to see the light up tiled roof of the St. Stephen’s Cathedral, the lights on the tall spires seem more magical in the evening.
After some rest, we figured out how to use the City Bike system so that we wouldn’t have to walk all the way back down Mariahilfer street on our second day in Vienna. The system is really easy (and cheap!) to use. We only ran into problems a few times when 1) the station we went to was completely out of bikes and 2) the station we went to return our bikes too was completely full and had no empty spaces available. We picked up bikes a 5 minute walk from our hostel and rode them to about 5 minutes away from the Naschmarkt, one of Vienna’s oldest and most famous markets. Once there, we purchased fruit including flat peaches, blackberries, and figs. We also at lunch at Neni in the market, where Joey enjoyed chicken strips breaded with almonds and I had a hummus plate with falafel.
From the Naschmarkt, we picked up City Bikes near the Opera House and rode them to a drop off spot near the Kunst Haus Wien – Museum Hundertwasser. More about this funky artists and architect in my next post, as well as our visit to the Momak museum of modern art!