Ok so I should’ve been at my lecture half an hour ago. Today was one of those rare occasions when I was up and out of bed long before my alarm went off, and ready and waiting at my tram stop with a good 10 minutes to spare – only today there was no tram. I stayed a good half hour or so, watching the crowd of people waiting with me slowly disperse as they realised it was going to be a no-show. So rather than walk miles to the nearest underground and turn up an hour late, I decided I might as well fill you all in on the latest.
The past few weeks I’ve been insanely busy entertaining all the friends and family that wanted to squeeze a quick trip to Vienna in before Christmas. My parents were here ten days to stock my fridge with M&S food (yes, at least 80% of their luggage allowance was edible) take me out to dinner and treat me for my birthday. Since it wasn’t their first time in Vienna we got to do some of the slightly off-beat attractions for once – which included a day over the border in Slovakia. Now, although Bratislava scores major points for having an absolutely massive Tesco (why oh why won’t they open one in Vienna?) the only real attraction of going there is the incredibly low prices on everything – compared to Austria at least. Bratislava does have a cute little old town in the centre but, as my fellow Edinburghian Sarah pointed out, you can see everything worth seeing within an hour or two, and the rest of it really isn’t all that attractive. She tells me that if it’s a beautiful city you want, go to Budapest for the weekend… I shall pencil it in for January.
The same day that my parents left, Zach arrived. Lucky for him, the weather was absolutely stunning all weekend, and we made the most of it by touring all the main sights from the outside. We spent a day walking around the grounds of the summer palace Schönbrunn, where you can climb a small hill in the gardens to get beautiful views across the city and out towards the Wienerwald and the very lowest Alps, and spent the evenings drifting around the newly-opened Christmas Market outside the Town Hall. Naturally, we got stuck into some of the local cuisine there, with the old Bratwurst and Waffeln. Of course Schnitzel and Gulasch are always a bit of a hit too, but I have to say the Austrian diet of meat and cakes (no, not together) went down a lot better with him than with my parents. All I can say is I’m glad I’m no longer a vegetarian…
A few days after he left, my friend Kirstin arrived – recently graduated and ready to celebrate her new job with many, many mugs of Glühwein. And since she arrived the very day that many more Christmas markets opened, we of course did. The markets are definitely the highlight of Christmas here, and if there’s one tip I have for Vienna it is to come in December.
Outside the palace at Schönbrunn they have some of the most incredible Punsch stands (always go for the Vanille-Himbeer), the Rathaus Market has amazing waffles, crepes, and a chocolate fountain, and Karlsplatz has… well, llamas and few bales of hay for kids to roll around in… No, I don’t really get it either, but I won’t lie – it does look like fun!
And so, now that everyone’s left and the dust is starting to settle, I’m beginning to think I should start charging guests. Anyone need a place to stay?