14 days, 4 countries. Second stop: Vienna, Austria.
When I first arrived in Dublin for my mini holiday interrail, I hopped in Cormac’s momma’s car and we made our way to Carlow (just over an hour outside of Dublin). We would stay with his family on their farm for a few nights. The morning of the 29th, we flew to Vienna, Austria, our second stop, and stayed until the first of January to ring in the new year— Viennese style.
Upon arriving to our hotel, Parkhotel Schönbrunn, at 11 that morning, we were told our room would not be ready until 3. The receptionist at the hotel was so kind. He held our bags, gave us a map and wished us a nice afternoon. The hotel sits just steps from Schönbrunn Palace, so we wandered around the corridors, Privy Gardens, Schönbrunn Schloss Park and Palmenhaus.
Schönbrunn Market was set up across the entire front of the palace when we arrived. It was the sweetest surprise. Miniature wooden cabin-like huts were set up one after the other lining the perimeter, each with artisans selling crafts and different foods. Day one and I had already managed to load up on souvenirs.
Aside from breakfast at the airport, we hadn’t eaten and as it was mid-day, we were starving. I initially thought it was going to be so difficult to eat healthy in Vienna being that Austrian cuisine heavily relies on meat for its dishes. I was in disbelief to stumble upon a booth that was selling vegan goulash. I was in the mood for tomato soup (which I had eaten each day in Ireland previously) so this did just the job.
On the 30th and 31st we continued our wandering through the streets of city center. We did lots of looking and admiring, especially at the architecture.
Of course, New Years Eve would be the most eventful evening of our trip for a number of reasons. The first being that we got to dress up which is always a nice feeling. The second being that it took us two hours to find a restaurant to eat at because nearly everything was booked or was over 400 euro per seat. Go figure. Third, we found a restaurant that was nice, not completely booked, and wouldn’t cost us an arm and a leg to eat. Score.
Fourth, all you can eat buffet that included unlimited beer, wine and dessert. Fifth, our bill was 238 euro for 2 people. Sixth, our coats were large enough to sneak away with all the bottles of wine we felt that we deserved.
When we got the bill for dinner Cormac’s jaw nearly hit the table. I was laughing to keep from crying. There went the rest of my souvenir money. I was both thankful I had done most of my shopping for Austria at the market, and thankful I had drank just enough wine to numb the sting of the most expensive dinner I have ever eaten in my entire life.
We tucked bottles of wine beneath our arms and in our coat jackets, and headed back for the hotel where we’d get, what had to have been, the best firework display across all the sky we could see. Starting at midnight and lasting for hours, the sky was completely lit up with every color. We put on our jammies, sat and watched the display, and rang my parents over Facetime (my way of partially paying them back for when they would later send me food money since mine was done for). Our night may have been more than we budgeted for, but I’d pay it all again for another Viennese New Year. Maybe when I graduate?