Travel in Austria: New Year in Vienna

Vienna is known as the world’s capital of music and it has been repeatedly named the most livable city in the world. ❤

DSC_7859While in Vienna you can walk in the footsteps of famous composers, like Mozart, Brahms and Beethoven. This city most definitely preserves their legacy well.

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Cafe Mozart
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tomb of Mozart in St. Marx Cemetery
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Mozart chocolates

On New Year’s Eve in Vienna, I started my day by taking a walk around the Ringstrasse, a circular boulevard surrounding the city, which at one point runs parallel to the famous Danube River.
IMG_0609From there I headed to the Naschmarkt, a famous food and produce market, which was full of unexpected international delights, like hummus and falafel. While there I tried some spinach borek with feta, a traditional Turkish pastry, as well as, sampling a plethora of olives. ❤fjgOther highlights included samples of garlic cloves marinated in chili oil and my first taste of the pungent Stilton cheese.markI also found some cool street art nearby. 🙂IMG_20170101_131818_542Cost: 4 USD for the borek and plenty of free market samples. 🙂
From there I headed inward to the historical center of Vienna. Near the Hofburg Palace they had set up a Christmas market with festive goodies, like wine and fresh bakery, and they were offering horse and carriage rides through the city streets.IMG_0659kjWhile there I was also able to visit the Augustinerkirche and the towering St. Stephen’s Cathedral.

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Augustinerkirche
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St. Stephen’s Cathedral

Afterwards I made my way to the Haus of Musik, a museum which explores the development of music and sound, using interactive displays, like giant instruments and life-sized piano stairs. They also showcase the life and legacy of famous Viennese musicians and composers. At the end, you even have the chance to try a simulation where you lead an orchestra.

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top: piano staircase; bottom: world’s tiniest composer ❤
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18th century pianos used by famous Viennese musicians

What I found most interesting is how the Feng Shui atmosphere in Beethoven’s 18th century apartment, Pasqualati-Haus, was credited with inspiring his most famous pieces. They said that the positive energy of his surroundings really influenced his creative genius, of which I completely agree. Surrounding yourself with good energy has the ability to uplift your mood as well. 🙂
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Cost: normally 14 USD, but free on NYE 😀

After this I headed back to the heart of the action near Stephansplatz, where people were already indulging heavily in hot wine, and I somehow got swept up into a group Waltz lesson. 😛dsfNeeding a pick-me-up after that I stopped in at Aida, a traditional Viennese Cafe. The place was absolutely adorable, strung with vintage holiday decor, and with pretty little cakes on display. Since the place was so packed, I decided to take a milchkaffee to go. This order begins with a small cup of espresso, mixed with hot water and steamed milk. Other variations include a dollop of whipped cream.

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coffee at Aida

From there, I headed to Rathaus, the city hall of Vienna.IMG_0660They honestly had one of the cutest Christmas markets in the city, offering loads of Viennese treats and alcoholic punch. This place is crazy about their pork, and they were even selling pig mugs and pig hats for people to wear. 😛
gdfOn that note, before I headed back, I was able to nibble on some wurst, similar to Polish sausage. Although brown mustard may be the traditional condiment here, I have a true ketchup addiction that cannot be tamed. :pwurst

Cost: 4 USD

At this point, I was starting to get cold, which I have zero tolerance for. Hah! I decided to head back to the hostel and warm up where I spent the evening chatting with a few Spaniards and a Russian in the common room. The city is truly stunning at night though, and I thoroughly enjoyed my walk back to the hostel.20161229_162008The next morning was New Year’s Day, where the Viennese Philharmonic Orchestra put on their most famed performance at the Musikverein. Although tickets are nearly impossible to get, the concert is also broadcast live on the wall of Vienna State Opera House.20161231_160258

At least I was freezin’ for a reason, and ready to enjoy the show! 😀20170101_122636I had originally uploaded my own video of the show, but there was a problem with the content on YouTube, so here is another video to give you an idea of their performance. I found the composer to be incredibly animated, and the music to be very lively, yet regal. Enjoy!

Now surprisingly almost all other tourist sites are closed in Vienna on New Year’s Day, which meant I had an open schedule. As such, I decided to splurge on a meal instead. I treated myself at Ra’mien, an Asian noodle shop in town. It may not be traditional Austrian cuisine, but Vienna has incredibly international fare, and a warm bowl of noodles sounded great on this chilly day. I enjoyed the comical reading material as well.

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left: menu- selection of noodle soups, rice bowls, and Vietnamese pho; right: Trump=Captain America? 😛
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noodle bowl with beef, coriander and shredded cabbage

Cost: 9 USD

Well, that wraps up on my celebration in Vienna. A truly magical place to welcome the new year! ❤

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an original photo of Vienna at night that I edited using the Prisma app ❤

I can’t believe where 2016 has taken me, starting in Japan and now ending in Austria. I feel truly blessed for this past year, traveling to 14 different countries, making for 26 countries in total. I’m excited to see what 2017 brings! 😀

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starting 2016 in Japan

Any who, here are a few other top attractions I managed to see while visiting Vienna. Next up I’m heading to Bratislava in Slovakia, before making my way to the stunning city of Salzburg. Stay tuned to hear all about it. Until next time. 🙂

Other Attractions

Schönbrunn Palace: The former summer residence of the imperial monarchy.IMG_0628IMG_0629In front of the palace is a seasonal Christmas market, with treats like apple-cinnamon pretzels and ornately decorated ornaments. schyI was able to try some black truffle pesto, as well as, an orange punsch. The drink is alcoholic, and served hot in a mug. You pay a deposit to use the mug, but also have the option to take it home as a souvenir. 🙂schBelvedere Palace: A 18th century palace complex built for the imperial monarchy, now serving as a museum containing a collection by Gustav Klimt, which includes his most famous piece, The Kiss.15732485_10106170558478227_2539150330034581446_oThe Kiss, courtesy of Google images. 🙂klimt-belvedereThey also had these Chinese zodiac statues encircling the palace garden, which looked similar to work done by Ai Wei Wei, one of my favorite artists. zod
Getting There: To get to Vienna from Chicago, I flew with Iberia. The Chicago O’hare airport looked lovely for Christmas, and my flights courtesy of Iberia were stress-free. They even switched my seats to the front, so that I would be able to easily make my connection in Madrid. Despite this, after an 8-hour time change, and 18+ hours of travel, I still arrived in Vienna feeling a piece of laundry that had just been flung out of the dryer. Feelin’ like a hot mess. 😛

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left: O’hare airport, bottom right: bus ticket from Vienna airport to downtown Vienna (9 USD)

Accommodation: Luckily I was able to take refuge and recover in my hostel, Do Step Inn. The dorm was clean and cozy, and my two Indian roommates were also jet-lagged, so we were all on a similar sleep schedule. 😀
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Cost: The average price was 17 USD/night, considering that the rate increased for the holiday.

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