These guys are one of my favorite travel bloggers. I was thinking about posting my own blog post about Vienna, but once I saw theirs I knew that I would never be able to write one that was as good. My only suggestion which would differ from the blog post would be to take the OBB train instead of the CAT train. The OBB train ticket would be for under €5, while the CAT is €15.
Vienna. The beautiful capital of Austria is said to be the “city of dreams”, for being the birthplace of Sigmund Freud. To us, Vienna was the start of our epic train trip through Europe, and it couldn’t have been a better place to kick things off.
Without surprise, Vienna has often been voted the most livable city in the world, due to its high quality of life ratings, as well as culture, infrastructure, and many markets. The city is often cited as a leading example of urban planning and we can totally see why. It was such a lovely city to walk around!
We are in awe of the St Stephen’s Cathedral
Although we managed to see everything in 2 days, we would suggest a full 4-day trip to Vienna. Here are our recommendations for what to see, where to go, how to get around, and where to stay.
“A Christmas market, also known as Christkindlmarkt (literally: Baby Jesus Market), Christkindlesmarkt, Christkindlmarket, Christkindlimarkt, and Weihnachtsmarkt, is a street market associated with the celebration of Christmas during the four weeks of Advent. These markets originated in Germany, but are now being held in many other countries. The history of Christmas markets goes back to the Late Middle Ages in the German-speaking part of Europe, and in many parts of the former Holy Roman Empire that includes many eastern regions of France. The Christmas markets of Bautzen were first held in 1384.Dresden‘s Striezelmarkt was first held in 1434. Frankfurt was first mentioned in 1393, Munich in 1310, and Augsburg in 1498. In Austria, Vienna’s “December market” can be considered a forerunner of Christmas markets and dates back to 1298.
One of the things that I miss about America, is celebrating Thanksgiving. Thanksgiving is an American national holiday which occurs on the third Thursday of November.
According to the History website, “Thanksgiving Day is a national holiday in the United States, and Thanksgiving 2018 occurs on Thursday, November 22. In 1621, the Plymouth colonists and Wampanoag Indians shared an autumn harvest feast that is acknowledged today as one of the first Thanksgiving celebrations in the colonies. For more than two centuries, days of thanksgiving were celebrated by individual colonies and states. It wasn’t until 1863, in the midst of the Civil War, that President Abraham Lincoln proclaimed a national Thanksgiving Day to be held each November.” To learn more about Thanksgiving, click on the attached link.
Last year I hosted a Thanksgiving at my apartment, but it was super complicated. This year I decided to host a dinner at Tamu Sana, an East African restaurant in Linz. If you go with four or more people, you can order the family style meal. You can tell them whether you want vegetarian or meat.
Two years ago I imported my cat from America. Before I looked into it, I thought that I would have to quarantine her for 3 months. Luckily this wasn’t the case. Essentially, what I had to do in short (for the detailed version please see here at the Austrian Embassy’s website.
1. Get the cat microchipped. A lot of vets have varying opinions on whether to inject a topical pain killer into the area for insertion of the microchip, since the width of the microchip needle is much thicker than normal needles. The vet I went to in Texas told me that it was not necessary, and just prolonged the stress of the cat, so I went with his expert advice. From the reaction of poor Katzie (eyes bugging out in surprise, and what I can only imagine was pain), I regret listening to the vet. I should have gone with my gut and given her the painkiller. After insertion of the microchip she was very scared (another indication that it hurt her).
In theory, the microchip is supposed to be scanned at the border control upon your first entry into the EU to verify it is the same animal as described in the paperwork, but in my case they didn’t do it.
2. Rabies shot after microchip insertion: The rabies shot had to be given after the microchip was implanted (even if only a few seconds). I thought it was a dumb rule at the time, but what can you do? The rabies shot has to be given more than 21 days before entry into the EU, otherwise it is not valid — unless you have proof that the animal has had routine rabies shots at regular intervals.
In February, 2016, I was temporarily living in Texas for work. I was having a particularly hard day. My boyfriend was living in Austria at the time, and my jerk of an ex-husband had custody of our cats, who I had raised since kittens (its a long story). I was feeling very lonely.
I was coming back from a run, when I spotted a little black and white cat walking around and crying piteously. I walked up to her, she rolled on her back, and the rest, as they say, is history. I wasn’t ever lonely again after that.
Almost three years later, she is living with my boyfriend and I in Austria, and she is loving every moment of it.
The hungry cat alarm woke me up today at 5:30 a.m. (because, well, she knows I will always get up for her). She is now fast asleep on “her” chair (I told my boyfriend he needs to find a new one), and I am blogging. I guess waking up at 5:30 a.m. tired her out.
Brew kombucha like normal, and wait until it becomes vinegar.
Place 1/2 cup of yellow mustard seeds in a jar, and cover them with the kombucha vinegar. It is possible that the seeds will plump up slightly as they soak. If the mustard seeds start popping over the top of the kombucha vinegar, cover them with more kombucha vinegar.
Let the seeds soak for at least 3 days (I waited 6 days).
After waiting the sufficient amount of time, pour the whole jar into the blender
Add 1 1/4 teaspoons tumeric and 1/4 teaspoon salt. I added 1/2 a clove of garlic, but at the end of the day I didn’t like the taste of it in the mustard, so I would say to not use it.
Add 5 teaspoons of honey
Blend. If the consistency is too grainy, keep adding more kombucha vinegar until smooth.
I remember the exact moment when I first tried kombucha. I was in the passenger seat of the car in the parking lot of a Whole Foods in Long Island New York. My ex-husband had bought a rather expensive (something like $3) green carbonated drink, which he said was supposed to be really healthy.
I took a sip and was like, “uck, that’s disgusting!”
It was super sour and the base flavor was not that great. It would be my first taste of G.T.’s, one of the the biggest kombucha brewers in the US.
Since it was supposed to be good for me, when we went back to Whole Foods the next weekend, I tried it again, this time the Passionberry Bliss flavor. My second try went much better, and I was soon hooked!
Since I was on a limited budget (damn law school loans), spending $3 a bottle a day on kombucha (x2 people), was just not in the budget. I was seriously bummed out. However, after doing some research online, I was delighted to discover that I could brew ‘buch at home for a fraction of the price!
Since I have some extra kombucha vinegar laying around, I decided to get creative. Eric and Jessica Childs (founders of Kombucha Brooklyn in New York City) in their book Kombucha! had a really interesting recipe for kombucha mustard. I like mustard, so I decided to give it a shot.
A little more than an hour from Linz is a small village in Styria (Steirmark). During the winter time it is a great place for skiing, but during the rest of the year it is possible to hike up the skiing trails.
It is a wonderful little place for a day hiking trip. There are many trails to chose from for all levels of fitness.
It is also possible to stay for the weekend and there are several hotels in the area. I have personally not stayed in any of these hotels so I cannot make any recommendations.
If you are in the mood for a bite to eat at a cute Austrian restaurant, I would recommend the Passhöhe. Family owned and operated for more than 100 years, this place will not disappoint. However, there are not so many vegetarian or gluten free options as it is very traditional Austrian food.
March 14, 2000: Breakfast is so much better in Österreich than in Italy. The bread was excellent. After breakfast we went to Salzburg. We had a tour with this really nice German lady. I got a 3rd hole in my ears! I think that my mom will probably kill me. Unfortunately, they didn’t have any rubbing alcohol at the pharmacy.
March 15, 2000: It’s snowing! The flakes are huge and so much bigger than at home! Last night it was raining…awful weather. We are going to Vienna tomorrow. Hopefully we get to go to the disco tonight! The Mondsee Church (Mondsee Abbey) was so large it makes American churches seem insignificant. The Monastery was huge! It was as big as 20 High Schools put together, some stacked on top of each other! The place we ate at for lunch was a total rip off! They charged us 50 cents per packet of ketchup! Last time we got ketchup it didn’t cost us anything! We just got back from the pool. We had to pay 60 shilling (to put my 17 year-old self’s annoyance in perspective, this amounted to about €4.40). We just got back from the disco. It was so smokey that sometimes I thought I was going to die.
March 16 2000: We just got back from seeing the palace of Maria Theresa (a.k.a. Schönbrunn Palace), the mother of Marie Antoinette. It is so cold! The wind chill makes it even colder. The palace was huge! It had something like 1,444 rooms in it (actually 1,441, but close enough).
Still March 16, 2000: We are now having a bus tour of Vienna. We just passed a really big porn/erotic dancing shop. We are talking Cherry and Web big (I have no recollection of how big this is). We have just passed the winter palace of Maria Theresa (I believe this is the City Palace). It had like almost 2,500 rooms. There are so many churches here! The ones back home are so plain in comparison (thanks 17 year old me, you already said that). And none of them are less than a few hundred years old.
We just got back from seeing this really weird house. It is called Hundertwasser. Don’t ask me why it is called that. Oh wait, I was just informed that the last name of the guy who built the apartment building meant “hundred waters”. They named the building after him.
Still March 16, 2000: I am back at the hotel after a nap and a shower. Everyone went swimming, but I didn’t want to pay the 60 shillings again (get over it 17 year old me, it was like literally €4.40).
March 17, 2000: Last night we went to a Strauss concert. It was really good. The only problem is, was that we missed the first half of the concert because we went to the wrong Lichtenstein Palace. But I really liked it. I thought it was going to be boring, but it wasn’t. Our teacher told us we had to get up this morning at 6:30 a.m., but I was like, yeah, right. I got up at 7:00 a.m. (what a rebel I was back then). Last night before bed, !”§$% dyed my hair brown. I think it looks good. Everyone likes it here but I wonder how people are going to react at home. We just crossed the border into Slovakia…(to be continued…)