Vienna was the last great stop of our trip. A city where we couchsurfed like we did in Berlin and Kraków.
We arrived soon in the afternoon at the south train station and had plenty of time to walk down to the center and then to our host’s place.
The station is under construction. It’s supposed to become the main station, Hauptbahnhof, of Vienna in 2014. A bit north of it starts the Belvedere gardens.
Walking down the gardens led us directly to the ring, a belt of large boulevards surrounding the center of Vienna with a lot of big buildings from the end of the 19th century. From this perspective, Vienna is the European capital city that reminded me the most Paris.
We walked a few hours in this amazing center, very crowded, before meeting Lisa, our host, who just finished her last exam and was happy to celebrate it and host couchsurfers.
In the evening she came with us in the gardens of Schönbrunn. This castle is the Viennese Versailles, but the comparison stops there. Schönbrunn is rather close to the city and has huge gardens where we had a pleasant walk. Lisa showed us the old glass houses, which have a great architecture.
And the alleys seemed not having an end …
There is also a zoo in the gardens, we only saw bisons from outside.
The gardens are going uphill from the castle, offering great views on it.
We walked back to our host’s place and it took forever. But at least it gives the true measurement of Vienna. We’re not anymore in the small medieval cities of central Europe.
Lisa took us to an Italian restaurant beside an open-air cinema. The movie that night was in arabic with german subtitles, impossible to follow 😉
The folowing day we eplored the city on our own. On Lisa’s advice we started with an urban heating plant designed by Hundertwasser.
Then we walked along the Donau Insel, a narrow piece of land in the middle of the river.
After that we crawled the center again starting at St-Stephan’s cathedral.
On the Kohlmarkts, walking to the Hofburg, we found the Viennese equivalent of Stanfords in London : Freytag und Berndt maps and travel bookstore.
Then we reached the Hofburg, the imperial palace, which looks like a city in the city. Several buildings you can cross with shops and cafes, and of course museums.
Crossing it leads along the ring and its great buildings.
After enjoying a beer during perhaps the warmest day of those holidays, we head to the Hundertwasserhaus.
Last sighseeing of the day we went to the Naschmarkt, the biggest market of Vienna. We found there some great chocolate.
Lisa throw a party at her place that evening. The weather unfortunately didn’t offer us the chance to have a picnic.
And now is the last day of this trip. We left very early in the morning to catch our train to Munich. It was perhaps the more modern train trip we had. Screens displayed real time position and speed …
In Munich we had a 1h20 switch. Just enough time to run to the main square and back and have a sandwich !
Another ride later led us to Stuttgart. We spent almost 5 hours in the city, which doesn’t offer a lot of sightseing. It looks more like a shopping mall. And due to frequent showers we spent most of our time inside shops. Mainly a bookshop where we found card games for the last train ride.
A fast ride in the TGV led us finally to Paris. This great no-plane-no-car-trip was over. Even if our goal was to hike in the mountains we spent more time on side-trips this way of travelling allows. All this was worse the 40+h spent in public transport 🙂