Vienna: A City of Love

Austria Hungary Border train

Just after crossing the Austrian-Hungarian border

Coming straight from Budapest was an interesting experience. Being in this region of Europe during November doesn’t leave much surprise when the weather forecast looks foggy. It was a bit evident in the difference in landscape and infrastructure between the two countries. The farming fields seem much more put together and organized. The facades of walls were still intact opposed to Austria’s southeastern neighbor. Maybe it reflects the continuous feel of its socialist days, or maybe its me. But was struck me as odd but realistic was that this fog and overcast dissapeared after crossing into Austria. Considering how much of a geography nerd I am, I knew exactly when we crossed the border.

Couchsurfing in Vienna Austria

My CouchSurfing host and I enjoying an Austrian brew.

Reaching Vienna wasn’t at first glance an “OO” and “AA” but a head scratch and a where the hell do I go. Eventually, I found the correct Metro train and found my way to my CouchSurfing hosts place in Floridsdorf. Fortunately for me, with the line I took, some parts of this journey opens up to life above the ground enough to see the tops of the beautiful buildings above. One after another, a new personality of architecture flew by. It seems like nothing but it was a tease to the cities reputation. I felt a very small taste of what the hype was all about regarding this city’s beauty, like an intro to a brilliant film.

Later, after I got settled in with my host I reached an amusement part opened year round, Prater. A romantic scene in a Bond film, The Living Daylights, took place in this very park. Considering myself as a lifelong die hard Bond fan, how could I pass off a visit to this very park. Although many of the rides are closed, the ferris wheel is where I truly wanted to go and is where this scene took place. In a box car with a family, couple and their third wheel wasn’t what I call romantic, especially if my loved one is back in the states. But this is what gave me my first view of the whole city in a 360 panoramic view and drew me to want more of the city.

Ferris Wheel Prater Vienna

Ferris Wheel at Prater Amusement Park. (open year round)

Prater Ferris Wheel

View of the city skyline from Prater.

Vienna graffiti austria

Graffiti at the Danube Canal

Graffiti in vienna austria

Graffiti at the Danube Canal.

St. Stephens Cathedral Vienna

St. Stephens Cathedral

Beautiful Vienna streets

Graben Pedestrian Street. The most beautiful place in Vienna, in my opinion.

Vienna graffiti

I don’t know, just looked cool!

So I headed straight for the city center with no fixed plans and almost no sense of direction. And what I found was a canal cutting through the old and the new. Building lights bright enough to reflect off of the water and reveal the street art (graffiti) that lies below the street level. This graffiti art was not defacing the city’s image, but it was actually fantastic art work that really blew my mind. A few blocks down, you can smell the mix between cooking Frankfurters to the occasional pastry all while walking past the large St. Stephens church and peeking through the smaller streets continuing to admire the endless designs of beautiful architecture lining the streets. But what really put me in amazement, was my walk down Graben, a street only for pedestrians. With winter lights hanging above, lights bringing glow to even more gorgeous buildings, an opera singer, and an accordion player with a touch of the hourly church bells, this moment right here, left me in amazement and at awe.

Kreuzenstein Castle vienna

Kreuzenstein Castle outside Vienna city limits.

Belvedere palace vienna

Jump of joy at the infamous Belvedere Palace.

gopro Schonbrunn palace vienna austria

GoPro selfie at the Schonbrunn Palace.

But this wasn’t the actual point that left me in love with the city. After making a trip to the Kreuzenstein Castle outside of the city, visiting the beautiful Belvedere Palace and a quick stop at Schonbrunn Palace, I made a stopover on the Danube island during the evening, where you will not only find the Austria Center Vienna and a completly seperate city center, but the Donauturm, an 800ish foot high observation tower in the middle of the island, practically on the Danube River. This tower offers 360 panoramic views of both the city and beyond. After my views on the lower level where the elevator lets you out, I set off to explore the rest of the tower which had two extra stories, the next an extra deck with a Deli, and the last, a somewhat classy restaurant. Fortunate for me, I found the perfect opportunity to drink a well deserved brew. Little did I realize, the whole floor slowly revolves around the tower, something in my mind I’d always dreamed of experiencing. This was a pleasant surprise!

Donau Park Vienna

Evening stroll at Donau Park.

Donauturm donau observation tower vienna

Looking south from the Donauturm.

While enjoying a full turn around the city, I noticed something. I noticed that the restaurant was playing American classic rock and alternative rock, most of these favorites of my girlfriend. It was this moment that I realized something. How badly I wished to be with her at that moment. It was like a collision of two worlds all in one in a land so far away. The state of being abroad yet a piece of her right there with me. Listening to “Oasis- Wonderwall” while watching the little subway trains cross the Danube river, watching life continue on below. It was as if a part of her made her way through the airwaves of that restaurant and filled that empty seat across my table. It was as if she too was watching the horizon of city lights, cars, trains, church spires, and hills beyond with me. It was this very moment that brought tears to my eyes. I enjoy solo travel, but I really, truly wished that she was there with me, enjoying all of these amazing endless moments I continue to have.

Donauturm donau observation tower vienna restaurant

The upper-level restaurant, wishing my girlfriend was at the other end of the table.

Vienna opera romeo and julia

Romeo and Julia play at the opera house.

Vienna train metro bahn

Vienna Metro.

With a few hours to kill, I ended my full day with a quick stop at the Opera for some Romeo and Juliet, then grabbed some brews to enjoy with my host. Alike what I’ve heard from other solo travelers in the past, “solo travel is nice for many reasons, but it does get lonely at times”. But when you do have a significant other back at home while traveling, that pain can be much stronger that even the smallest reminder can count. So in the end, my original ‘itinerary’ didn’t include Vienna. Due to it’s close proximity to my desired path, I made a perfect choice to come here. I can personally say I fell in love with the natural romanticism of the city. From the romantic architecture along the streets, to the top of the Wiener Riesenrad, to it’s enormous palaces and castles, to the couple holding each other on the steps of the Austria Center Vienna. Even though I explored it on my own, the strong essence of city still managed to bring love across the Atlantic, across half of Europe and right with me in spirit. Vienna is a city of love.

GoPro vienna austria

GoPro shot of the Vienna skyline and beyond.


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