We had 4 nights booked in Vienna and I was looking forward to seeing all of their beautiful palaces and gardens but unfortunately I came down with a terribly bad cold the day we arrived. I wanted to catch the train to Vienna from Budapest so I could see a bit of the countryside, it was also a cheaper option that would get us there earlier- with most planes departing Budapest around midday. The first snowfall for the season fell the night before, which serendipitously was also New Years Eve. It was freezing, I’m talking below zero, cannot for the life of you get warm freezing and we had to stand at the train station for an hour waiting for the train at 5am. No surprises that I got ill. By the time we arrived in Vienna my nose had been running like a tap all day and I was exhausted. I was determined to push through and see something of our new destination at least. We caught the train into town and it hadn’t occurred to us that being New Years Day, nothing would be open except a few restaurants. We discovered a cosy little Italian place tucked away in a side street. After lunch that was it, my body was done so we went straight back to the hotel so I could sleep. Day 1 wasted.
Day 2 was even worse, at least the day before I got to see Anker Uhr (Vienna clock) and eat some delicious food. This day I would not leave my bed. The mere thought of getting dressed exhausted me and I couldn’t bear to face the freezing cold in fear of catching pneumonia. I sent my husband out exploring on my behalf. It didn’t seem fair to make him waste his day as well.
By the next day I had felt much better but knew it would still be a short day as my energy hadn’t returned 100%. Thanks to pharmaceuticals I was able to face some of the day. We started on Ringstrasse which loops around the city centre and contains most of Vienna’s famous buildings including the Vienna State Opera, Parliament, University of Vienna and the Mozart Museum which is located in Burggarten on the opposite side of the Kunsthistorisches Museum (Museum of Fine Art). Snow had fallen the night before which makes Vienna (in fact anywhere for that matter) such a magical place.
A quick stop at the Chocolate emporium Xocolat, which is located in the stone arches of the Ferstel passage on Freyung, gave me enough energy to cross the river and ride the Wiener Riesenrad (Ferris Wheel) at the Prater amusement park in Leopoldstadt. The amusement park was still open to the public although a lot of the rides had shut due to it being off peak season, which made for this eerie abandoned amusement park feel.
Our last day in Vienna was a visit to Belvedere Palace, a baroque style palace which is now an Art Gallery. The gardens are absolutely spectacular and the Art Gallery well worth a visit.
Note: Although Vienna is beautiful this time of the year it’s near impossible to find a genuine and decent Mozart concert. I suggest looking at when shows are available and planning your trip around that. There are certainly still shows on at this time but they are nothing compared to the real thing.