We spent most of May 2015 in Europe traveling around by car that we rented from Europcar. We flew into Munich, drove to Salzburg, Wolfgang, Vienna, Bratislava, Budapest, and Prague. It was an epic vacation and so, so beautiful. The drives were fairly short. I’ve broken up the trip into multiple blog posts because there was simply too much to put into one large one. So, viola! Here is Vienna and Bratislava.
VIENNA (or WIEN ).
WHAT TO DO IN VIENNA:
In Vienna, Francesco had to work so I spent most of my days exploring the city and doing touristy things. It was the first time I’ve ever done the whole “Hop On, Hop Off,” bus thing and as much as I feel ancient in admitting it, it was awesome! For those of you who have never done it, you basically buy a ticket from some little kiosk around the city or in participating stores, hop on the bus (ideally sit on top because down below sucks) and learn via headphones about the city. You can get off the bus at any of their many stops to walk around and hop back on whenever you want. I learned all kinds of crazy things about Vienna that I would have NEVER learned without the tour. Like that Maximillian I from Vienna was the emperor of Mexico. WTF!? Also, when Germany annexed Austria the loudest protest against the annexation came from Mexico. Who knew? Probably everyone, except for me. The bus went all over Vienna and through the Jewish Quarter where I got off to eat some delicious food. Definitely do the bus!
After the bus I headed to the Belvedere Museum to see some Klimpt work. He’s one of my favorite artists so it was important that I stand in front of The Kiss and drool while a group of 17,000 Chinese tourists poked me with their selfie sticks.
I strolled around the first district, as recommended by my super cool friend and reader Scott!
Among Scott’s recommendations:
Visit Prater, a huge park with a carnival. This was fun! It would have been great for a picnic but it was cold.
Yppenplatz area and Brunnenmarkt for a huge a huge outdoor food market (as Scott pointed out, lots of Yugoslavian and Turkish stuff). Outdoor dining was pretty cute except it was freezing while we were there.
Naschmarkt on a Saturday. There were tons of places to eat. I was told to sit outside and “drink sparkling wine and eat oysters in the morning” but I didn’t get a chance to do that. Next time! There was also a flea market at the end but I didn’t get a chance to go that far.
PLACES TO EAT IN VIENNA:
I am lucky enough to have readers with endless recommendations to get me through my trips. Scott P., you were basically my Vienna tour guide so I can’t thank you enough! Here are some of his excellent local recommendations along with some places that I found and loved.
- Grab a Frankfurter at this little stand on Graben street across from the Stefanel store. I was weirdly into the metal dong that they stab the bread with to make a hole for the hot dogs. I probably seemed like a giant perv just standing there staring at it.
- Tafelspitz on at Plachutta Restaurants Wien (official).
- Zum Reznicek in 1090
- Zum Gschupftn Ferdl Heurigenbuffet
- Der Fuchs Und Die Trauben
- [NAME COMING ASAP!] This place was outside of the city by thirty minutes but it was worth it. Pricy, so prepare to pay between £50-£70 euro each but again, totally worth it.
In Vienna we were staying with some friends. One of them owns the company EAT (if you’re into luxury audio, check it out. Her turntables are the jam, and so are her husband’s at PROJECT) and is originally from Slovakia so she recommended we spend a day in Bratislava. Post-communist architecture and adventure? Fuck yes! I prepared for our day trip in the car via my IPhone.
I had never read anything about the city (or the country) so I didn’t know what to expect. I was pleasantly surprised by the sweet locals, the modern architecture alongside remnants of the Soviet Union. Old town was really charming and full of British tourists who were having a glorious time. And of course, there’s this place, the most sexist place in Bratislava.
We ate at the Slovak Hause which I would not consider to be fine dining or even good but it was affordable and they had a nice outdoor area in the Old Town. And who could turn down a restaurant with a menu like this? Nobody, that’s who.
I tried Poppy gelato because the girl working at this particular gelateria, Koun, said that her people “absolutely adore Poppy seeds!” It tasted like cold. But it was a cute place and the locals seemed to love it.
This is me at the castle with a panoramic view of Bratislava. If you look in the distance you’ll see the former Soviet architecture. Really interesting place!
And? The nightlife is insane! The city seemed mostly empty until after dinner where people flooded the streets. By midnight the dance clubs swell, the restaurants dim their lights and turn on the strobes (no kidding) and normal looking cafe’s suddenly have strippers on the bars. It didn’t take long to figure out what the british guys were so excited about. We went dancing at a few different places and I noticed that the guys were very respectful. They’d saunter up and as soon as you shook your head “no,” they’d back away and not bother you again. Aces.
I also did some fun shopping and bought a ton of stuff from this store, In Vivo, that I’m obsessed with. The owners make everything by hand and their shit is weird and cool and sooooo affordable.
Something else that I found really surprising was the coffee. The coffee was amazing! Top five coffees I’ve ever had in my life. And the cafe’s have this sort of old world, depressed but ambitious writerly feeling to them. My kind of place.
For videos of my journeys you can check out my Youtube page. Slowly but surely I’m getting the videos uploaded for little pieces of these awesome place. Also, while you’re there, check out the new COSI video we just did on How To Be A Good Tourist In Italy!