Trip Report: Austria

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What started as a cheap flight booked on a whim turned into a great trip to Austria. Austria has a little bit of everything, from the spectacular pristine landscape to a bustling city rich with history and culture.  Vienna transports you to another time and place where you get to immerse yourself in a different era. During its peak, Vienna was the epicenter of a grand empire, where Mozart and many other notable musical prodigies called home.  Today, this metropolis continue to thrive, integrating contemporary designs and historic buildings. This trip report summarizes all the blog posts related to our trip to Austria and provides a break down of the cost.

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Vienna: Self Guided Walking Tour

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I love planning and I love making maps. So one of the things I always do before every trip is to read up as much as I can and list out a handful of things I want to see or do while touring the city.  Then I go into Google Maps and create my very own personalized walking tour. Vienna is such a beautiful city, rich with history, and filled with culture and grand architecture. I’ve compiled a list of the top 10 places to visit while in Vienna.  Most of the places are within the Ringstrasse, the main tourist area of Vienna.  The whole city of Vienna is quite big, but the core area is definitely walkable.  It took us two and a half days to visit all these sites. Our hotel was right across from the opera house, so we started from there and followed the path to see the notable sights.  Hopefully this will give you an idea of what to do when you’re planning your own trip.

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Vienna: Opera House

Vienna’s State Opera House (Wiener Staatsoper) is one of the most prestigious opera houses in the world.  It is the epicenter of Vienna’s rich musical history. Completed in 1869, the opera house opened its doors to the public debuting with Mozart’s Don Giovanni.  It is known for having one of the largest repertoires in the world, featuring 300 performances per year.  With over 50 operas and ballets each season, there is a wide selection for people who wish to immerse themselves in Viennese culture.

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Vienna: Browsing the Supermarket

It’s almost a given that everyone shops when they travel.  Whether it’s for colorful little trinkets, indigenous artwork, or ethnic clothing, we all have our share of stuff that we’ve brought back from each trip that we thought we couldn’t live without at the time, but never seem to use at home.  Somewhere along the way, we started to run out of room in our tiny 1 bedroom apartment so we switched gears.  Now when we go away, instead of buying knickknacks that take up space, we head to the local supermarket to buy our souvenirs.  I love perusing the aisles to pick out all the unique items that you won’t be able to find back at home.

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Eating in Vienna

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Austria was once the center of the Habsburg Empire that stretched from France to Russia. Austrian cuisine has evolved over the centuries, greatly influenced by its diverse heritage. Many of Austria’s distinctive dishes reflect the country’s mixed nationalities. The coffee culture, one of the important traditions in Vienna was introduced when the Turkish army invaded Europe and introduced coffee beans to the Viennese. Similarly, the wiener schnitzel originated in Italy, and the sausages were German delicacies.  All this different food plays a major role in Austrian cuisine today, and we couldn’t wait to try it all.  Here are the some highlights of all the food we tried:

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Places I Want to Go: Hallstatt, Austria

 A few months ago in a moment of impulsive spontaneity Fausto booked us on a flight to Austria this Fall.  We talked about it for a few days and then completely put it out of our mind for the rest of the summer.  Now as October is fast approaching, I started to think more about what I want to do when I get there.

The original plan was to stay 3 days in Vienna and soak in some culture, music, and pastry.  But as I started planning, I realized we’d be remiss to go all the way to Austria and not see the country-side. So while looking for places nearby that we could visit for the day, I came across this beautiful picture of Hallstatt.  This idyllic town is about 3 hours away from Vienna by train, nestled between a lake and towering mountains in the backdrop.  

If this looks familiar to you, it’s because this picture and others like it have been used in many screen savers. In fact, this place is so beautiful that a replica of the village has been created in China. I can’t wait to see the real thing for myself in a few months.

Mileage Run: Vienna

Last night, while we were watching TV and decompressing after a very long week, Fausto casually mentioned to me that he reserved tickets to Vienna, Austria on Halloween weekend. And when I say weekend, I literally mean weekend. We are going on another mileage run (a short trip that helps you accumulate more miles in your airline program and achieve status).

I am relatively new to this whole weekend travel business. Before, when I think of traveling, I usually think of a trip that lasts for at least a week (anything shorter doesn’t seem to be worth the airline ticket). You need time to acclimate and familiarize yourself with your new surroundings, not to mention you need time to relax and really enjoy being away. This past year, due to work and personal obligations, we were very short on time. That’s when Fausto convinced me to take a weekend trip to Tokyo and Seoul on Thanksgiving weekend. Two cities, across the other side of the world in four days, sure why not. I find that it’s usually not too hard to convince me to go somewhere, especially some place I’ve never been.

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