At the beginning of November, most hockey teams over here in Europe get a week off for the “National Break.” Jeff and I were pretty excited since he didn’t get the time off when we were in Copenhagen, and there are so many parts of Europe we have yet to visit. We perused maps trying to decide our destination. Florence? Prague? Amsterdam? The possibilities were endless. In the end, we decided on Vienna, Austria, and Budapest, Hungary due to their relative proximity to us and their fabulous reputations. We started off in Vienna with our dog, Gia, in tow.
Each day of our trip started off with a long walk with Gia. In Vienna, there was the perfect park by our apartment for this called Augarten. Since she wouldn’t be able to accompany us to castles and churches, we made sure she had enough exercise to hang in the apartment for the majority of the day. During this particular walk I soon realized that my fall clothing wasn’t going to cut it for Vienna’s chilly temperatures. When we dropped Gia off at the apartment I bundled up. We took the subway into the center of Vienna and were in awe of all of the beautiful gothic architecture. There was so much detail put into everything. Next to St. Stephen’s Cathedral sat horses with their carriages – it was the perfect touch to a romantic city.
We spent the day exploring the main sights in the city which are mostly located on a street called Ringstraße. Jeff and I love learning about the history of different countries, so appropriately my favorite place on the first day was the Hofburg Palace. We learned all about the history of the Habsburg Empire and the beautiful Empress Sissi (whose sister married the prince of Thurn and Taxis here in Regensburg). I seriously learn more about history living here than I ever did in school. I’m not sure if that’s due to my lack of paying attention or what.
An area where I definitely failed planning for this trip was packing appropriate clothing for cooler temperatures. Since I knew we would be taking the train in and hopping on various subways, we limited ourselves to a small carry on-sized bag. I threw in a 3 sweaters, 3 jeans, 2 scarves, and my 8 year old A&F puffer coat (“just in case”). Both days in Vienna I was freezing, and had no suitcase space to shop for warmer things. I survived with the occasional stop for coffee.
We ended our first day perfectly at a local pub by our Air B&B called Fischer Brau. We enjoyed their house made beer and some traditional Austrian food that was very similar to the grub here in Bavaria. It was a perfect, relaxing ending to a full day of sightseeing.
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