So I’m a little behind on sharing about my trip to Prague, Vienna, Bratislava, and Budapest. It’s a lot of pictures to get caught up on!
I know it might not interest all of you, but for those of you who like to travel vicariously or even explore without having to purchase a plane ticket, I’m going to continue! Also, I’m going to continue for myself. It was a fabulous trip on so many levels and I want to commemorate it in some way. Putting it here kinda makes it more real I guess!
Last time I shared about our time in Prague. I really liked it, but it was very touristic. It was more of a medieval city and had quite a bit of history that I had never heard about before. I’m a total history nerd, so it’s always interesting to me, but I wish I would have studied a little more before I went to be able to get a better grasp on it.
Vienna I knew a little more about. I read a biography on Marie Antoinette and as you probably know, she was Austrian and grew up in Vienna. Until the age of 14, of course, when she was married off. Obviously there was quite a bit of history of the Hapsburgs as well so I knew a tiny bit. That definitely made it fun to tour around their residencies. Marie Antoinette’s mother was one of the most prominent figures in Austrian history (if not the most) and there’s quite a bit of information on her everywhere.
It was such a pleasure to take this trip with my brother. We don’t get to see each other too much because he lives up in Portland and I am in France most of the year. But we share a love of travel and adventure and that’s a perfect fit! We want to do The Amazing Race together, we’d totally rock it!
We started off the day grabbing some cash & heading out to the center. Apparently American wallets weren’t made for European cash…
We started at the church which was magnificent. I am always amazed by the churches in Europe. They are so extravagant and detailed. And to think they were built something like 300 years ago!! Incredible. I also always compare them to Notre Dame in Paris, which as it turns out isn’t the prettiest church in Europe. Not even close in fact. I really think it’s only famous because it’s in Paris and it’s old.
Incredible, right? Look at all that detailing everywhere! Where are the things that we make like that today? Do we even create such masterpieces anymore? This was a big topic of conversation throughout the trip, comparing the times and what we’re doing now that will be incredible in 300 years. Or will it still even be around in 300 years?
Then we climbed to the top. What an amazing view!! I really enjoyed the city of Vienna. It was the perfect balance for me. It had enough history to make it interesting. It had tourism but wasn’t too touristy everywhere (probably helps we stayed with friends). It seemed like a European city I could definitely live in.
We used this picture to find our way back to the metro we needed to get to. Turns out we were totally off and that didn’t work out at all… Thankfully our friend Chris, who lives there, came to the rescue.
Here we are in front of the national library which was a Hapsburg residency. We toured it expecting to see a lot about the family and it turns out it’s just a general museum. Lots of interesting things, just not what we were looking for. It’s also pretty magnificent. It was built during the reign of Franz Joseph, probably the next most famous figure in Austrian history. He basically started WWI as it was his nephew that was assassinated and that set it all off. He was a good man though and is mostly well liked throughout Austria. His picture is everywhere!
The architecture is pretty incredible everywhere. Like I said above, the fact that they built this all so long ago and we are still enjoying it today!
The next day we went out to see the Hapsburg Schönbrunn Palace. To say that Maria Therese was opulent would be an understatement. Check it out:
I took this with the panorama option on my phone. Cool, huh? It’s relatively plain from the outside, but as soon as you step foot inside you see all of their opulence.
For example, Maria Therese wanted a place where she could entertain guests and have tea. So on the top of the hill in front of the palace she had a tea house built – that still operates today! Here’s us with the view from the tea house behind us. Beautiful view of Vienna, I could see why she wanted to build it there!
And that grand building on top of the hill? That’s her tea house. I’d say her guests were properly entertained, dontcha think? We came on a beautiful day and it was actually relatively warm! Or at least after climbing that hill.
Marie Therese was really interested in ancient Roman culture and had a team set about the property to find old Roman ruins. When the team came back empty handed, she asked them to build fake Roman ruins. Talk about privilege. “Make me ruins!” And voila! This is what they came up with.
Here I’m taking a stroll in the palace gardens. Because that’s what we royalty do. (Hey, a girl can dream, right?)
One of the best parts of this trip was hands down the food. John and I were so very careful to choose the restaurants specifically for as authentic of food as we could find. We wanted to taste typically Austrian food. So what a better way to do that then to have some apple strudel?
About 8 years ago my brother was traveling through Europe with our cousin and they made a stop in Vienna. It was rainy and they only really had an afternoon there, so the spent it in a lovely little cafe. Well, as we were wandering around town, we found the little cafe! We decided it was only appropriate that we spend some time there as well. And we actually did spent quite a bit of time there!
Our last day in Vienna we headed out to Bratislava. It’s about a 45 minute train ride from Vienna. We both really wanted to do it because, for me anyway, I was all about adding another country to my list. Also, I love seeing how even if they’re so close, the cultures are so different. Bratislava is a small city, so we really only spent one afternoon there.
In the city square. It’s just so interesting to be in the capital of this country and my small city I’m from in California is probably bigger. It was old and beat up, a little more Eastern block than the other countries at the train station but once we got into town (which we missed the bus stop so we had to go farther, get on another bus and turn around to go back) it was a lot more medieval.
The city square. I love city squares. Aren’t they just something out of the movies? I think so. It looks like Rapunzel could have danced around here at some point, ya know?
We asked a local where good Bratislavan food was and she sent us on a little hunt. About after a 15 minute wall and we had almost gave up, we found The Slovak Pub. And you guys – it.was.GOOD.
I had a beer as suggested by my cousins who had set foot there before me – to Bratislava, not the pub. And although I don’t like beer, it wasn’t so bad. I only drank a bit and my brother happily finished it for me. But that plate sitting in front of John? From another world, you guys. It was potato pasta with a sheep cheese sauce. The sheep cheese they used is from a local farm in the hills of the city. It was so good I contemplated heading out to the country to buy some for myself!
It was Halloween when we were in Bratislava and on our last day in Vienna and on the way home from Slovakia we saw the joker in the subway!
It cracked me up because he’s in full makeup and the rest of his normal clothes, headphones in his ears, just doing a Sudoko puzzle. You know, the regular thing the joker does on his subway rides.
We had a small Halloween party that night with some friends of our friends from Vienna which was rather fun. Then the next morning we headed out to Budapest! I’ll share some of those pictures later since this is already long enough!
I still can’t believe I got to do this trip and say I’ve been these places! I’ve always wanted to go and I’m so thankful for an awesome husband who made it possible. Also for my brother accompanying me although I’m not sure he was too bummed on that one!
Stay tuned for Budapest!