I have so many stories to tell but I don’t have enough time. I started writing this inside the train from Florence to Rome. It’s around one and half hour trip and should be enough to write at least one blog post. Post note: It turned out I wasn’t able to finish this post in one sitting. But I’ll try to write as much as I can today before I go back to work tomorrow.
The preparation for this trip started as early as November last year. My sister Jholen and I were thinking of going on holidays and we first thought of visiting London then Paris but the plan was cancelled because of terror attacks in the city. I suggested visiting Italy again but this time, we would like to visit several cities as well. I can’t remember now why we ended up landing first in Vienna, I think it’s because Qatar Air doesn’t fly to Venice directly so we looked onto the map and see what other country is near Italy. We then asked my dear friend Milet and her hubby Gerald if they would like to join us. Without second thoughts, they said yes. I knew this would be a fun trip!
The whole gang at the airport!
We flew early morning of March 25. Our flight is at 12:30 midnight and we earlier planned on leaving the house around 10 pm but we decided to check-in early or we might end up carrying sleeping kids. Not a good idea. After finishing the check-in formalities, we have more than enough time to enjoy the newly re-furbished Terminal 1 of Dubai airport. There is now a tram that dropped us at Terminal D (similar of Terminal 3’s tram). The new concourse has several restaurants and cafes, lots of seats and charging stations. Always a welcome amenities in the airport.
The all new Terminal 1
Kids can always find things to entertain themselves.
And I always try to visit the Marhaba lounge
We took Qatar Airways flight to Vienna, Austria via Doha. Our family (2 adults and 2 kids) paid around AED 9160. I think it’s a good fare although note that we bought this almost 5 months before our trip. It’s my first time to fly Qatar Airways and thought it’s good. The food is good, Doha terminal is world-class, they are nice with kids although Emirates gives more toys for them to get entertained.
Qatar International airport
We landed in Vienna around 6:30 am and it took us some time to figure out how to reach our apartment. I made some research but it’s different when you haven’t really experienced train travelling.
It turned out we were in a wrong platform. And obviously it’s just me and Gerald who try to figure out how to reach our destination. The rest was busy with taking selfies 🙂
My best friends during the entire trip, physical map and google map.
At first glance, Austria’s transport system seems complex and confusing but once you start using it, you will realize how efficient and reliable it is. Pity that we became like a pro on our last day of stay. Actually, that what happens in all cities that we’ve been to. By the time we figured out their public transport system, we are moving to our next city destination.
Very good public transport system. Tram, bus, train and subways are all interconnected with each other.
Our rented apartment, Prater Apartment is just a few minutes away from Praterstern station which is very convenient. The apartment is clean, new, modern and very functional. I would highly recommend this place especially if you are a family. Note that Milet and Gerald had rented their own hotel rooms in all cities we’ve visited except in Venice where we were able to find a 3-bedroom place.
The apartment is just a few minutes walk to Praterstern station
Here are some of the places we’ve visited while in Vienna.
Our first stop is St. Stephen’s Cathedral and St. Stephen’s square
Then we walked towards Michaelerplatz
Then again walked towards the Butterfly garden. This is really in my itinerary because of the kids. Entrance is around 6 Euros for adults and 5 Euros for kids
From time to time, we will stop and eat. If eating is an Olympic game, we definitely have a place.
Gerald and Milet enjoying wieners and wurstels
The famous schnitzel. Originated in Austria and it is a meat dish (either chicken, veal or pork) thinned by pounding and then coated with flour, egg, bread crumbs and then fried. Tastes like a lighter tonkatsu.
It’s almost 5 pm when we left the place and to say we we’re tired was an understatement. I only had 1 hour of sleep in the plane so most of us were awake for around 36 hours by this time. I researched a restaurant near our apartment which is famous for Schweinsstelzen or fried pork knuckle which is similar to our crispy pata. It’s in Prater which is an amusement park. Entrance here is free and you just need to pay for the rides.
This restaurant is located in the middle of the park. They are famous for their schnitzel and schweinsstelzen
Very crispy skin, very tender and tasty meat. Shame that they don’t have soy sauce and lemon to go with it.
It’s around 8pm when we left the place and we’re freezing (at least for us coming from the desert)
The following day, we checked-out early and went straight to Wien Hauptbahnhof which is Vienna’s main train station where we kept our luggage before commencing our Vienna 2nd day adventure . We will need to go back here to take the night train going to our next destination, Venice!
The luggage storage area wherein you need to pay around 4.5 Euros for a big locker.
Having kids means ordering a Mc Donalds happy meal whenever they see one. I took the opportunity of ordering stuff not available in Dubai.
Our first stop is Schonbrunn Palace. Schonbrunn is the largest palace and one of the most important and most visited cultural heritage of Austria . The castle and its grounds are huge and since 1996 is part of the UNESCO World Heritage.
A main attraction in the castle park is the oldest existing zoo in the world, the Tiergarten Schonbrunn. Entrance is 18.50 Euros for adults and 9 Euros for children 4 and above.
First time to see a panda. Real life Po!
A white polar bear
Since it’s Easter weekend, there is like an outdoor bazaar selling traditional food, wine and beers and knick knacks inside Schonbrunn Palace grounds. This is where we had late lunch.
We returned to Wien Hauptbahnhof station for dinner and waited until it’s time to take our night train.
Our last meals in Vienna.
I will end this post with another photo of Schnitzel which of course should be my last meal in Vienna.