Now go on read and enjoy the virtual trip...
We checked out of the beautiful house amidst the valleys with a view, and quickly accessible to the city of Salzburg. Already missing Salzburg and the house! We headed to our next destination - Vienna! The train travel was more than two hours, and we spent the time trying to learn some German. I translated the Apfelstreudl recipe from German to English and noted it down for me to try it back at home.
We reached Vienna.. took an underground train to a station near our hotel. Then strolled to the hotel, there was a complete difference in the city style from Salzburg. Vienna is busy and hustling.. youngsters and children having fun on the streets. Lots of people walking, cycling, skating, some on segways, and what not. It's totally hippie culture.. cool graffiti and art on walls of every building. And the buildings are so traditional.. 17-18th century architecture.. closely built buildings.. like the New York City. We checked in to our apartment.. freshened up and stepped out for lunch. Most of the shops were closed today, since it was the Austrian National Day Holiday. We had our lunch at KFC and just walked across the place. We visited the Haus de Meeres - a zoo which houses more than ten thousand aquatic creatures and reptiles.. in a eleven storied building which was previously used as dormitories during World War II. They had a fabulous 360* panoramic view of the city from the top. After that we just walked around having a look at the city's architecture and designs, everything was closed and nobody on the road. It was so silent.. packed some dinner from an Indian restaurant and went back to the hotel. Had our dinner peacefully and slept early.
We got up and got ready pretty quickly since we had our city tour planned for the day at 9. Had some breakfast and grabbed a coffee. Vienna has all the history intact along with the city mordenization. Too many architectural monuments and buildings in one place and for me to understand. We just visited inside the Schonbronn palace, the top spot here to cover. It's Royal in the true sense. Every room had a theme, like the one in gold theme, one in black for the mourning queen, etc. We saw all the historical buildings on the Ring road and came to the opera theatre place. We wanted to taste the famous Sacher torte from the original Sacher cafe, which was also in Salzburg. So we did not want to miss a chance here, so went to the five star hotel and had the original torte which is a decadent thick dark chocolate cake with a layer of apricot jam and covered with dark chocolate on the sides and top. We also tried the Vienna einspanner coffee.. when the waiter served me the coffee and called me "The Lady", I was already flying up in the clouds...! Everywhere people addressed me as my lady..! :D
We had planned to go around the Danube river in a cruise.. we took the trip in a bus to go around the place. Vienna has 50% of its land covered in greenery and trees. Lots of parks and kid play areas. We saw the Morden part of Vienna with tall sky scrapers, technology parks and towers. Then we took a cruise ride on the Danube river for an hour.. there are 4 parts of Danube river in Vienna. Then we went up the Kahl hill, which had a lot of wineries and grape yards.. lot of lit up houses which serve fresh wine. We reached the top and just had a glimpse of the city's view before it became dark. Then we were dropped back at the Opera. We picked up some Indian food for dinner and then walked back to our hotel. Too tired to shop, so rested at hotel with some nice dinner and drinks. Slept peacefully.
Today was our free day and we did not plan anything on purpose.. wanted to take it slow. So got up a little late.. freshened up and got ready slowly. Grabbed some coffee and donuts on the way for breakfast. We decided to visit the Hellbrunn/ Belvedere palace.. which is a bit far away, but quite a nice journey in the underground sub, then the ring tram. It's a huge place.. took us literally 5 hours to cover the whole place. There was the upper belvedere, lower belvedere, parks, etc. They had a huge collection of paintings.. and the history behind them. We already started to behave like local people, drinking coffees instead of lunch or food because we can find only coffee shops everywhere which served only coffees, beer and usual food like schnitzel, fries, etc. Nothing else. So our usual meal became some coffee with fries or schnitzel. Then we came back to the Opera square.. decided to visit the MQ - Museum Quarter which is a famous and cool hangout place in Vienna. Went into two of the museums inside, pretty costly for the entrance tickets.. and they have thousands of paintings and artist history. If you are interested in art, this is the place you have to be. You will learn about how the paintings have evolved in different time periods, the medium they used whether water paints on canvas, oil on canvas, oil on wood or metal medium. You will see famous artists and their precious work. There is a museum for architecture as well. Many more but we had the patience to cover only two and it's pricey too. We then came out to the famous shopping street of Vienna, Mariahilfer street... you can see all the branded shops here. Mostly they were selling either luxury items or winter clothing. Saw my favourite brand shops H&M, Mango, Zara and Veramoda. Shopped a little.. had an awesome food from a roadside Chinese restaurant. The noodle box concept rocks! It's all that you need when you are on the go.. loved it and wish it comes to Bangalore too. Then we went back to our hotel, completing our final day at Vienna with satisfaction. Packed our bags for the next trip and Slept off.
Some of the painters or artists who I liked and developed an interest for their work from Vienna:
Ferdinand George Waldmuller
Today is Diwali in India.. I'm here in Vienna missing out all the colourful festivities and Indian sweets back home. But it's ok.. this happens once in a while and I can celebrate the next Diwali. We got ready to check out from Vienna and catch our train to Munich, Germany. Our final stop in this Europe trip. Had our breakfast at the hotel with the ready made stuff we brought over from India and reached the station. It was a long train journey for about 4 hours, but with beautiful views all along the way.
Reached Munich and checked into our apartment. It's a small one but just enough for a couple of nights stay. We were tired to go out immediately, so rested a bit. But all the places close out very early here.. may be 6. So we could not go and see anything.. went for shopping again, had a look at the local shops and supermarkets. Had dinner at a a very nice cozy small place called Holy Burgers. Then back to sleep!
Today we have a castle tour planned for the whole day.. because we were more interested to see the castles and outskirts of Germany rather than the city center and museums. We were already done with them in Vienna. These castles were so beautiful and serene.. like the ones which we have read in childhood and in the fairytales. We both like nature and adventures, than the city side. We grabbed a quick breakfast in the station. The trip started with a train journey to Fussen, which is about 2 hours. And again the views are amazing... dairy farms, horses, country side houses, lakes, and all things so beautiful. We had a mixed group of people in one whole bogie of the train and it was my first double decker train experience. We had a honeymoon couple from Italy, two girls from America - middle aged women, another couple from Europe itself, a couple with a kid from Kerala, a perfect old couple from china but they were really fit and seemed to be from US by their English accent and many more. Each of them were so unique and different from us. The train reached and we got down to see the beautiful Neuschwanstein castle on top of the mountain. It's a perfect fairytale castle as you would have dreamt in your childhood with white and blue hues in a fall background. Our tour guide was Danny from US, she was an inspiration to me. She was so energetic, excited, and interactive though she would have done this tour almost every two days. She was a very good storyteller, she narrated the story of King Ludwig who built this castle. His lonely childhood, his interests, war during his time, and why he built the castle. It's a very interesting and mysterious story if you would like to read about him.. he died so mysteriously. And the whole castle was so weird or fictional for a real world king.
We hiked our way up the castle which took about 40 mins, there were these beautiful horse carriages too if you could not walk up. Again punctuality is very important, you have to be there on top of the mountain at your exact show timing. We were shown around the castle hearing to stories about Ludwig. The views from the castle were stunning and so beautiful. We clicked a couple of photos and were ready to walk down the mountain to our bus. On the way down, we had the famous donut holes made by a handsome guy.. he had a simple donut batter, poured into hot oil using a icecream scoop. Fried it golden brown, dusted with some powdered sugar and they were just out of the world. The queue of customers were so long, that the guy would be making hundreds of euros a day! All you need is a simple recipe!
I forgot to mention about a girl from Philippines I met in this tour, she must be 22 or 23 and was so happy touring Europe. I finally asked her where she works and I was shocked to know that she was a teacher in Philippines but now she works as a nanny in London with a family for 6 months. She gets 10 days off every two months or so to go around Europe.. she was so happy doing the job and to have a chance to see Europe. After the trip and contract, she will head back home. How simple right? Not overthinking like most of us.. just living the life to the fullest!