Travel To Vienna And Bratislava

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!

Vienna

#Vienna Austria. Parliament building.

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Vienna

#Vienna inner city center near the Spanish Riding School.

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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.

Vienna

Vienna Museum

The Kiss by Klimpt

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.

Vienna Street Food

The best food I ate in #Vienna. Plachuttas Gasthaus Zur Oper. I could live on the asparagus soup.

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#Vienna lunch at the Plachuttas Gasthaus Zur Oper.

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Coffee suggestions from Scott included: Kaffeemodul, kaffeefabrik, Balthasar Kaffee Bar, POC “People On Caffeine”, Caffe Couture, Kaffee Von Sascha.

BRATISLAVA

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.

Bratislava Vocab

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.

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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.

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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.

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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!

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My day in #Slovakia #Bratislava

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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.

Bratislava VIVO

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.

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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!

Munich, I Am Coming!

Munich Germany Travel

In less than twenty-four hours I’ll be on a plane for Munich. I’m excited. I’ve never been there and it kicks off a three week vacation of epic awesomeness where I’ll get to see Munich, Vienna, Prague, and Budapest and holy shit it’s awesome. And? There’s a lot to do. There’s packing, remembering underwear, and the seven-thousand creams that stop my face from falling off. Makeup, tampons, a hairbrush (which I almost always forget somehow), and my phone charger. I watch youtube videos on packing to help like this one on Packing Light For Travel (minus the taking photos of my outfits. Who has time for that shit?).

And? And I’m fucking stressed out. Excited and stressed is a weird combination.

I never used to stress about travel until I had Oliver. Oliver, you’re awesome, but you make life stressful as fuck. Thanks for that. I have to find him a sitter, make sure they understand the full extent of his insanity, prepare for every possible bad scenario, and then some which is terrible for me because I have OCD and “bad scenario,” for me is probably not bad scenario for other people who are less crazy. My brain goes worst scenario, then to a dark place that is traumatic like, “What if someone forgets to lock the back door and there is an alien invasion and the aliens exclusively eat Poodles?” My “what if’s” are terrifying and weird. So, I’ve spent all week thinking about scary things WHILE trying to learn German, and study the history of the fun places I’m going.

Speaking of German, I’m pretty much fluent at this point. And by fluent I mean I can speak two sentences that are probably all I’ll ever need if I’m trapped in the movie Legend and/or feeling confused about my vagina.

“Where are the unicorns?”

“I am a woman?”

Thank you, Duolingo, and my friend Thomas for helping me master this whole language thing. I give it two days before the staff of our hotel begin avoiding me. Oh jesus, there’s that woman that aggressively declares her gender. And? Everyone knows unicorns are SCOTTISH. Asshole. 

In preparation for my trip I’ve been reading blogs about living in Munich. I’ve found some really fun ones with some great info like wahlmuenchnerin. I have no idea what that means, actually, but she’s an American who writes about living in Munich. Pretty fun. I’ve also been slowly putting together of things to do and things to see. Anyone from Munich that has some fun tips for me? Put it in the comments below! I asked for some ideas on Facebook and you guys had awesome advice.

THINGS TO DO IN MUNICH: 

1. Englischer Garten with Biergarten with Chinesischem Turm and watch the surfers on Eisbach. If the weather is fine you will find a couple of nude people on the great lawn taking a sunbath.

2. Deutsches Museum

3.Augustiner Keller – original tradtional brewery with restaurant. Better skip Hofbräu Haus

4. Vktualien Markt – fantastic farmers market.

5.Marienplatz with Rathaus and close by one of Germany’s finest department stores : Ludwig Beck.

6. BMW Museum

7. Asamkirche

8. Neue und Alte Pinakothek

What would you guys add? Put it in the comments below? Any of you currently living in Munich? Share your blogs with us below! I’d love to read them! Packing tips? German phrases? Help a ME out!

7 Things You Didn’t Expect Before Moving To Italy By Marta R.

Ah, Italy! The very word fills us with romantic visions of white-sand beaches, medieval villages scattered amongst the Tuscan hills, wine-filled evenings and all in all la dolce vita. While Italy has all this and more to offer, it’s not always all sunshine and roses. If you’re thinking of moving to la bella Italia, you may want to learn more about the everyday side of living in this beautiful, but at times rather confusing country.

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Italians take their food very seriously.

Italians don’t pay much attention to rules of any kind, but this surprisingly changes once food is involved. If you’re ever at a restaurant and begin receiving surprised looks verging on pure disgust, it’s probably cause you’re not having your food the Italian way.

Rule number 1, never, ever order a cappuccino after midday. It’s a major offence and you’ll get stared at and labeled an ignorant tourist before you even have the chance to have your first sip. Cappuccino is considered a morning drink to be had with a sweet pastry (if, God forbid, you decide to have a savoury breakfast, don’t order a cappuccino or any other kind of coffee with it – have water or juice instead).

Other no-nos which you want to avoid are: having wine with pizza (I’m still puzzled by this one), ordering coffee with a meal unless it’s breakfast and you’re having something sweet to eat; assuming that Americanised versions of Italian food, such as pepperoni pizza and chicken Alfredo’s, are authentically Italian and asking for them at a restaurant. Just don’t.

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Italians don’t do queuing

The concept of queuing simply doesn’t exist in Italy. There, I’ve just made your life easier. Next time you’re patiently waiting your turn while the crowd begins to drift along from all directions, with a very liberal use of elbows and occasional screaming, do yourself a favour and do as they do if you want to get things done.

The only exceptions are post offices, hospitals, and government buildings – these places use a ticketing system to keep things in check. This isn’t necessarily a good thing – a lot of the time the ticketing system is so overcomplicated that even Italians get confused by it. Which brings us to the next point:

Italians love overcomplicating things

If something can be done quickly and efficiently, Italians will find a way to overcomplicate it and make it extra hard. Whoever’s in charge of the bureaucratic side of things in Italy appears to love red tape, which would explain the never-ending amount of papers and stamps for any purpose you can imagine. If you’re lucky enough to get to the right place and line at the right time (irregular opening times are notorious), you will then have to deal with a completely unfazed worker who will most likely tell you that you need additional documents to sort out whatever it is that you’re trying to get done.

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The concept of personal space doesn’t exist

Bad news for those with any kind of a social phobias: Italians don’t do personal space. Blatant staring, intense eye contact, expressive hand gestures, standing or sitting unsettlingly close to you while the rest of the street/bus/train is empty…all this is perfectly socially acceptable in Italy. The lack of personal space isn’t necessarily a bad thing – it shows that Italians are simply more open than other European nations.

It’s Expensive

When I moved to Italy from the UK, I was expecting everything to be significantly cheaper, at least based on the exchange rate. I was right to some extent (at 2-3 euros per glass, wine is practically free; coffee costs next to nothing, and instead of splashing out on dinner you can spend 8-10 on an aperitivo buffet), however, overall, Italy is expensive, especially if you live in a city. Accommodation will be a major setback; shopping isn’t cheap either. What will set you back the most, however, if the fact that once you’re in Italy, you always want to be out and about, travelling, exploring, dining outAll this fun comes at a price!

You won’t get anything sorted at lunchtime (or on Mondays)

Italians are very passionate about their food culture. In a country where no Sunday could pass without a 3 hour long family lunch, it’s no wonder that meal times dictate the daily routine. The majority of privately owned stores (including letting agencies and some cafes) will be closed around lunchtime, between 12:30 or 1pm till 3pm or 4pm. Similarly, most privately owned stores are closed on Mondays. No one really knows why, but just take it as a given that urgent matters won’t get sorted on Mondays or at lunch. Relax and have some pasta instead!

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Nothing ever happens according to schedule

The Italian way of life is much more slow-paced compared to the Northern European countries, which could potentially be the reason why Italians are so inefficient at time management. If something, whether it’s a concert, a tour, an event of any kind or even a doctor’s appointment, is supposed to start at a certain time, chances are you’ll still be waiting 30 minutes in. Just take it as a given that things don’t happen according to schedule and embrace the chaos – it’s actually fun!

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Author Bio

Marta

Marta is a digital nomad and a travel blogger, currently based in Italy. She’s the creator of A Girl Who Travels, a blog aimed mainly at female travelers, dedicated to solo travel, location-independent lifestyle and travel advice. Marta hopes that her blog will inspire other women to follow their passion and discover the joys that come with travelling. You can follow Marta’s adventures on Instagram: a_girlwhotravels.

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The words of guest bloggers are their words, and theirs alone. Opinions, perspectives, etc., do not necessarily reflect those of Surviving In Italy or M.E.

What To Expect When You Travel Abroad: How To Mentally Prepare In 11 Steps

Obviously when you travel to another country you know that things are going to be different. You’ve most likely read about your destination, you’re excited, you’ve packed, booked tickets and learned how to say a dozen words or so. If you’ve done any research you know the food will be different, you know you’ll find different art and different houses of worship, but have you mentally prepared for the other things? The things that nobody prepares you for. Those things are the ones that travelers don’t always prepare for and those are the things that will often make or break a trip. What can you do to mentally prepare for your vacation abroad?

Napoléon Bonaparte by Andrea Appiani (1754&nda...

Napoléon Bonaparte by Andrea Appiani (1754–1817) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

1. Get rid of the notion that you’re country is number one. This is important for everyone, but especially those of us from the United States. No other country has accepted that their country is inferior to the US. Everyone takes pride in their own country for one reason or another. If you go abroad expecting to get treated like a God because you’re from ‘Merca, you’re trip is going to suck. If you want to enjoy your trip, leave your ethnocentrism at home, and accept that all countries are equal in their differences. And please, try to avoid saying things like, “We saved your ass in World War II,” because not only do you sound ignorant, you also sound like an asshole.

Continue reading

Blogging About Italy Is Hilarious: Comments, Emails, And Humans

When you have a blog you know that there is a slight bump in traffic on days when you get a lot of angry comments or really fun, enthusiastic ones. On this blog I’m extremely lucky in the sense that our little community is fucking awesome, people are sweet and fun. Most of my comments and emails are simple questions about traveling to Italy or moving abroad. The number one question is: How do I find a job in Italy? The answer is: You don’t. I address most of these in my FAQ section. Check it out! And feel free to ask me anything, anytime, I try my best to respond to everyone. Sometimes the comments I receive are so nice that I’m elated for days (thank you so, so much). Almost everyone who arrives at Surviving is part of a really fun-loving tribe (except for that lady that just called me a liar, she’s just an asshole). Now, you guys know me, if I get a particularly mean comment I have a tendency to post it here and comment back for fun (I can’t help myself, remember that crazy misogynist?). Luckily, I don’t get too many jerks here.

My favorite comments/emails are the really personal ones where I get to learn about my readers (seriously, please share about yourself, I love it), or the really random or really unique emails that leave me smiling or mildly confused. Come to think of it, a lot of my unique or random emails/comments are also important life-lessons.

Can You Spot The Garden Gnome?

Can You Spot The Garden Gnome?

TOP FIVE MOST ENTERTAINING COMMENTS/EMAILS I’VE EVER RECEIVED: Continue reading

How Being An Expat Is Exactly Like Sex

1. You meet during a family vacation, in a movie, or online. You like what you see. You dream about being inside of it, absorbing it, letting all that culture and complexity inside of you. A week, a month, isn’t long enough. You need to bind yourself to it forever. You decide to go for it. 

2. You arrive. You’re nervous and you can’t believe it’s really happening. You’re really doing it. Your senses are heightened, you’re excited and scared all at the same time. 

3. You feel amazing. You’re not there yet but you’re close. Everything seems possible, your entire life was leading up to this moment. 

4. Yes, YES, YEEEESSS! I DID IT! I DID IT! HOLY SHIT I’VE DONE IT! I’M AN IMMIGRANT! I’VE DONE IT! I’VE ACCOMPLISHED MY DREAMS AND IT FEELS AMAZING. THIS FEELS SO GOOD I CAN’T STAND IT. HOLY SHIT! 

5. You feel overly sensitive. Tired. There is a wave of mild regret. How did I get here?

6. You need a cigarette, possibly a shot of whisky, and to escape. Thanks for the hospitality! It’s been fun! It’s not you it’s me, I’ll call you sometime. 

And you sneak away with nothing more than bragging rights, high-fives from envious friends, an emptiness, and occasional pang of longing in your loins that you try to ignore, lest it happen again. 

Cruising In My Hood: Campo Di Marte

Dramatic Newspaper

Dramatic Newspaper

Chianti. Winning!

Chianti. Winning!

Espresso Cup With The Symbol Of Florence

Espresso Cup With The Symbol Of Florence

The Church Tower By My Apartment. Ding-Dong, You're Going To Hell (the bell is judgy).

The Church Tower By My Apartment. Ding-Dong, You’re Going To Hell (the bell is judgy).

Mini-Aperitivo

Mini-Aperitivo

My Local Bar. They Keep Treats Behind The Bar And Give Them Out Generously To Oliver

My Local Bar. They Keep Treats Behind The Bar And Give Them Out Generously To Oliver