This week I went to Vienna, Austria to visit my friend Dalia. Having never been to Vienna before, I only ever see Dalia when she makes her annual trip to London for Fashion Week. But I was very excited to go and see Vienna for myself, in the eyes of a local, so jumped at the offer to stay at Dalia’s parent’s house in Vienna.
Vienna is very different to London. If not just because of the architecture which makes you feel like you’re in a fairy-tale, but also the transport which runs all night long on weekends, the cuisine, and even the universities have a very different atmosphere.
I even went to a university party at the University of Vienna. It was supposed to be just for art history students of the University of Vienna but it seemed like every one from universities all over studying whatever were in attendance. The annual party was packed with people drinking outside on the leafy campus until the early hours of the morning. Something of a culture shock is how late Europeans go out. They pre-drink at friend’s places like we do, but then they only go out at about 12am. Any bar before that time is completely dead and empty! And strangely, they only go home after a night out at about 4-6am. (Even typing this is making me feel tired!)
Similarly, another culture shock was just how much they smoke in Austria. It seemed like everyone we met smoked. And the funnest, busiest place to be at a bar was the outside where everyone was smoking. Inside would be empty with only a few bar staff about, whilst everyone congregated and chatted to their friends drinking and smoking outside. Some people never even went inside the bar the whole night and just met their friends outside!
Being a very small city, I was able to see a lot of the sights in one day, with not even that much walking!
My favourite was the Belvedere Palace:
As for food, my favourite dessert was definitely the ‘sacher torte’ which was a chocolate cake with a sort of apricot jam in the middle. It was delicious.
I also got to try various different colas, as very rarely did places actually serve coca-cola.
As this is a blog about London, I thought I’d share the little bit of London I found in Vienna:
My favourite cafe/bar (in Vienna cafes stay open until 12am and serve alcohol and dinner) was a regular haunt of Dalia’s, WerkzeugH, which used to be a tool garage. This unusual little place had a huge outside drinking/eating area full of trees and sofas and odd matching furniture, including: computer desk chairs, plastic stalls and blue couches.
I cannot wait to go back to visit Vienna again. I already really miss it. The tap water is better than Evian, the air is fresh and unpolluted, and the transport is so convenient and on time!
I managed to get the most memorable souvenir, a belly button piercing, which Dalia tells me is “very 90s”. I was sober.