On Monday morning I hopped on a train to Vienna, the capital of Austria, and about 7 hours away. The train systems here are really good and so it was a very easy, direct ride to Wien Westbahnhof where I locked my suitcase and went and met Camille and her French friend at Stephensplatz. It was the national day of Austria so there were quite a few festivities on – large bratwurst, bretzels, men walking around in uniform etc. We walked around a bit enjoying the festivities, farewelled Camilles friend, went and got coffee in one of the beautiful Autumn parks, walked around some more, saw an Australian pub and then went out to dinner. It was really nice to be able to finally see the capital with Camille. Late that night I caught the train to where I was staying – with some ex-Dornbirn students at their beautiful apartment. Although not having had met them, I’m super thankful to Adam and Maike for their generosity in putting me up.
On Tuesday I wandered around Vienna some more in the morning, going to the Naschmarkt and buying roasted chickpeas. I then jumped on a train at midday to Bratislava, the capital of Slovakia, where I met up with Jan from last semester! It was super super nice to see where he lived (despite always talking it down it was very beautiful). We wandered through churches, up hills and ended up at a Slovak pub before I caught a pretty scary train back to Vienna that night.
Wednesday I met up with Garrett in Vienna who had also decided to do his capital trip this week. We went to various palaces ate paninis and drank much coffee. A particular highlight was Schloss Schoenbrunn – a beautiful, huge palace with amazing autumnal gardens at the moment. Every building in Vienna is huge to the point where you need to look up all the time. It is really a beautiful city and the buildings are immense. The architecture is phenomenal but it begins to hurt your neck. Wednesday night I caught a 4 hour train to Prague, found my apartment and went to bed.
Thursday and Friday morning were spent doing various walking tours, strolling through shops and eating pastries. I’d never really had much interest in Prague, thinking it to be quite small and dull but man oh man how wrong I was. It’s much bigger than I thought and it’s stunning. There’s so much history of which I got to learn a little about from Tijo on my walking tour. The food is impressive and it’s not a particularly expensive city at all. I was there much too short but will definitely head back at some point, if possible!
Friday afternoon onwards was a day of travel, a bus from Prague to Munich, then Munich to Dornbirn. The buses were comfortable and clean although I downed 2 L of water before going on the first one, hoping to stay hydrated. Later found out the toilet was out of order and was in for a very painful (traffic filled) ride.
Saturday back in Dornbirn, I hung around for a bit then Wim and Maddy and Garret came over for dinner and we watched the RWC final at 5pm (sorry for the perfect convenience Sydney.) Afterwards we headed to Sebastianstrasse before cycling (with Wim sharing my bike seat) to Project X, a halloween party special a bit out of town. There were 5000 people (mostly under 8 years old) but the music was great and we made our own fun.
It was a really great week.