I felt a bit naive going into Vienna, so far I haven’t really researched much about each city, I just figure it out when I get there. I was told it was beautiful, but I had no idea what that really meant. It’s a bike friendly city so I was happy to hop on my bike again and do some exploring.
Schonbrunn Palace was quite a sight, although entrance fees were about 20 Euros which was out of my budget. However the gardens were free and I quickly learned that gardens here are incredible. You can also find the world’s oldest zoo here, I didn’t realise it would be in Vienna.
I ventured back into town to Ringstrasse, a 150 year old circular road in central Vienna which is lined with epic buildings.
Burggarten was lovely and shady, with the National Library in the background. Just around the corner there’s a place called Soho Kantine where you can get a two course meal for 7 Euros and it was pretty good. Food here was a bit pricey compared to the other cities, but there are places for student/backpacker budgets, except they’re tucked away.
I was feeling quite tired so I looked for some coffee and free wifi nearby. I was able to catch up witb Claire, my friend from yesterday and organise dinner together. First we had to see Belvedere Palace near our hostel, it was the last residence of Franz Ferdinand, whose assassination kicked off World War I. The garden around the back also had some interesting sculptures, beautiful landscapes and incredible views.
We went to a Taiwanese restaurant called Vegetasia, as Claire is a vegan and I was keen to see what they had to offer. I had the vegan schnitzel which was tasty and extremely filling. I don’t know how they got the texture just right, but it was impressive. We had our mandatory daily gelato afterwards and slowly walked back to our hostel.
The next day started with some basic admin, I needed to go to the bike store to get a new bar end (I accidentally dropped it and broke the old one yesterday). The new silver ones look more like bull bars, but they’re probably much sturdier than my old ones. Claire went looking for maps and there was an impressive assortment in this store, some were even specific for rollerblades. The downside is that they cost a few Euros each and if you go to multiple countries it can be expensive, so I cheated and just peaked at the Eurovelo 6 route, which I’ll be on for the next three days.
We headed further into town and I indulged in some sweets at Aida, a chain of cafés which opened over 100 years ago. The stores and dresses are all pink like the punschtorte, a delicious rum cake, which I sampled among other sweets. I’m a huge fan of sponge cakes and slices, so this was heaven for me, there’s a store in Croatia too so I’ll definitely stop by there.
Across the Danube River, you can go swimming along the water, next to some sky scrapers. We cooled off for a bit and just relaxed on the shore for a while too. The day wrapped up pretty quickly and, before we knew it, we were searching for dinner and getting ready to head in opposite directions tomorrow. It was great to explore Vienna with Claire and we message each other on Facebook, exchanging photos and checking in to make sure we’re still okay on the road. It’s comforting because now I have more proof that solo female cycle tourers are tough and can take on the world.