After walking every day for a little over a month, we were ready to settle down. For the past three weeks or so, we’ve been renting an apartment in Loosdorf, a small town in the middle of Austria. To get here, we flew from Santiago de Compostela to Barcelona where we spent another lovely night in the airport. From there, we flew direct to Vienna.
Vienna is the “city of music”. We gave ourselves three days to enjoy the big city before heading to our new home town (for a little while anyways) and checking into our apartment.
For those budget minded folks out there, our Vienna cost per day was $80.01 CAD for the both of us.
St. Marxer Friedhof & Zentralfriedhof:
If you ever wanted proof that Vienna deserves to be known as the “City of Music” just head on down to the graveyards. There’s a whole host of famous composers buried here including: Mozart, Beethoven, Schubert, Brahms, and a few Strausses…
Mozart’s actual grave can be found in the St. Marxer Friedhof. A monument to him, along with the graves of the other composers listed above can be found in the enormous Zentralfriedhof among over 300,000 graves and crypts (and over 3 million “inhabitants”). There are no entrance fees.
After walking 800km to see the Cathedral in Santiago de Compostela, Spain, it was kind of nice to be able to take the metro to see this church. We were lucky enough to walk in during the middle of a choir/symphony rehearsal. We stayed there for most of an hour listening. There’s something really quite special about hearing live classical music being played in a stone vaulted roof church. The ambience was fantastic, and it satisfied our need to buy tickets to one of the many, many nightly symphonies, operas, or chamber music sessions that Vienna is famous for (they all seem to cost between 35-45 euros for the cheapest tickets if you’re interested).
What better way to get a feel for the local cuisine than to check out the largest outdoor market in the country. The Naschmarkt is held every day of the week except Sundays. For the most part, it seemed a bit more expensive than the numerous supermarkets we stumbled into, but there was a very good selection of vegetarian and health foods at reasonable prices. The vendors seemed more than willing to give out free samples, so we indulged our taste buds a bit. In the end, we stocked up on various grains and beans, sampled the dried fruits (the dried apples were simply amazing!), cheese, falafel, and a spinach stuffed pastry.
On Saturday, there was a “flea market” attached to the Naschmarkt. We walked through it quickly, because there was nothing too exciting. There were tables and tables of “junk” on sale. The type of stuff you expect to see left behind at the end of a garage sale. Maybe the trick is to go early, or we just hit a bad weekend, but I wouldn’t be too concerned about being at the market on a Saturday to see the flea market.
This palace is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It’s huge, and I imagine over the top luxurious. The large building and gardens brought back memories of Versailles in Paris, which we had just seen not too long ago. Because of that, we didn’t feel the need to pay to go inside. We did stroll through the garden however, and eventually came across a labyrinth and hedge maze…
So here we are, in the City of Music and our timing couldn’t be more fantastic. Vienna was hosting a FREE music festival the whole time we were there! We spent most of our days and evenings listening to music and sunning on the grass. The festival is held on a man made island in the Danube rive and takes place over a space of about four kilometres. There was a large variety of music ranging from Austrian folk to English oldies to death metal. With 20 stages (each with back to back performances), we had a lot of choices. When we didn’t like something, or felt like a change, we just walked over to the next stage in line.
In proper music fest fashion we ate some fried dough (langos – A thick dough shaped into a large flat circle, fried, and brushed with butter and garlic. They were refreshingly not sweet), and fresh chips. Of course everyone else seemed to be eating bratwurst and sauerkraut, but we weren’t interested in that. Okay, maybe we were tempted, but we managed to keep our vegetarian diet intact. What we really wanted were mini-doughnuts, which they had at the crazy price of 0.50€ a piece. Alas, it was too much.
Thanks for a wonderful free weekend of music, Vienna. We really, really enjoyed it. Though you may want to consider upgrading your washroom facilities on the island. There were something like 1.8 million people in attendance at the music festival over the weekend, and almost no washrooms. On top of that, the washrooms all charged an entrance fee. Of course this was no problem for me, I just walked into the bush and took a leak with 50 other guys. Ashley, however, waited in line with the other ladies for 25 minutes and had to pay 0.50€. In the future, Vienna, if you are going to have a huge music festival, put out some free porta-potties please.