Our alarms were set for half three in the morning, not normally something I like to do but it was to get up to catch our flight to Bratislava at 07:20. This time we were off to Vienna for three days and then Bratislava for two.
We flew to Bratislava first and then caught the train to Vienna (the flights to Bratislava were cheaper than Vienna, I am all about the cost). In order to get to Vienna we first needed to make it to the main train station in Bratislava. It was actually very easy to navigate our way around Bratislava: the buses were cheap and had the list of stops on a screen on the bus so you knew where to get off. Just remember like most of Europe you cannot buy tickets on the bus but need to buy them before hand and make sure you validate them as soon as you get on with the machines just by the doors. The train between the two cities only took an hour and was very easy, we arrived in Vienna to grey clouds and little bit of snow on the ground. We were staying in a hotel very close to the main train station, Wien Hauptbahnhof.
The first day in Vienna we didn’t actually get up to much, we had reservations in a restaurant that evening, Das Loft therefore we wanted to get ready. The restaurant is located on the top floor of the Sofitel hotel. We were there whilst it was dark but the views across the city were amazing. The food was also incredible and the service was great. It was expensive so to counteract that we ate cheap for the rest of the trip.
On the second day we had read about this tram trip called Ringstrasse. It was a circular tram route that took you around the whole of the city with audio to listen to. It took about 30 minutes and cost 9 euros. It was a great way to see the city sights and get a little bit of information. We used it as a little introduction to Vienna and then plan what we wanted to see more of and also to get out of the cold. After that we started to explore on foot, we first went to find St Stephen’s Cathedral; it was very beautiful we an amazingly detailed roof. We walked around the outside of the cathedral, the main square was crowded with tourist however if you go around the side and to the back it isn’t and you can get some nice photos. There was a line of horse and carriages for people to ride however my boyfriend is allergic to horses so we gave them a wide birth.
We continued and found Hofburg Palace which from the street appears to come out of nowhere. The close you get to it if you walk down the street directly in opposite it, it starts to appear. You can walk through the palace and get a feel of it if you are on a budget and therefore not have to pay to go into the museum. When you walk through the dome which is called Michaelerkuppel, it takes you to a main square and then if you continue to come the main area for museums in Vienna. We knew we wouldn’t have time to do all the museums and so went to the natural history museum. It is not as big as the one in London but still very interesting. Further up the road if the town hall and also parliament. The town hall is a very impressive, Gothic building with a grand exterior. Having done some reading in the summer it appears that the square in front of the building they have markets and events.
The following day we went to the Naschmarkt which is the best known market in Vienna. As well as the usual market stalls there are loads of small restaurants and cafes that are cheap places to eat and serve up good food. Whilst walking through the market stall owners are very welcoming and will offer you free samples of their produce, we tried some get cheese whilst walking around. After the market we took the u-bhan to Schonbrunn palace, we went into the museum. You are not allowed to take any photos but the commentary on the audio was very good and informative. There was also an Easter market there when we visited so we had a little look around there also.
We also made a trip to Belvedere Palace we arrived not long before closing time and therefore did not have time to go in but we walked around the garden and also sat in the coffee house and had some strudel and coffee. We took a trip in the evening to Prater which is a public park in Vienna that has a small theme park in it with a large Ferris wheel or Wiener Riesenrad. We managed to get a cabin to ourselves due to pure luck and great timing. The views over the city were amazing and it took about 20 minutes to complete a full turn. We unfortunately missed getting to go inside the opera house and also the concert hall where they host the New Years day concert due to the timing of the English tours as it was on the day we were leaving for Bratislava.
We got the train back to Bratislava and were staying for 2 nights. We really didn’t need much longer in the city as we had done the main tourist attractions by the end of the 2 days there. The weather was better in Bratislava, it was sunny, still cold but the sun makes everything seem better. We mainly stuck to the old town with our exploring. The old town was beautiful, full of narrow, cobbled streets that were fun to explore and get lost in. It felt like every corner we turned down was another place for an amazing photo and more things to look at.
We only had one full day in Bratislava so we the first thing we wanted to do was to go and explore the castle. The walk up to it was easy, we decided to take the walk that took you through the small streets, it was more interesting. The views from the top over the city were amazing and definitely worth the effort. We didn’t go into the castle, just walked around the outside and took in the views. It is very easy to navigate around Bratislava as it is not very big, we spend most of our time in the old town walking around the small streets. We took it easy whilst in Bratislava, we mainly just walked around the streets, drank coffee in little coffee shops and ate good food.
One thing to comment on is the food in Bratislava, it was incredible. We had found a few cheap places to eat whilst we were there but the food was presented very well and also tasted great. The food in Bratislava was a lot cheaper than Vienna and the beer was cheaper also.
Whilst away I was using my Canon AE-1 camera with Ilford hp5 400 black and white film. My brother is also a keen amateur photographer that is interested in film and is self taught in developing black and white negatives. I was home over Easter I had asked my brother if he could develop the black and white film for me. I however ended up doing under supervision of my brother and it felt good to actually have input into the developing of your own film. It wasn’t as complicated as I thought it would be but was time consuming. The negatives have been digitally scanned in and have been edited to remove dust and alter the white balance.
- Two holidays in one – the train between Vienna and Bratislava was easy and a great way to see two different places. It only took an hour and cost around 15 euros.
- Wrap up if you go in the winter, it was very cold.
- Vienna is more expensive so make sure you budget for this.