So after a short visit in Prague we were off to Vienna. We took a bus instead of the train as the trains were already full and I was expecting like Greyhound bus and not very fun (I really dislike taking the bus anywhere). This however was great! They gave you reading materials if you wanted them, hot beverages, played movies and tv's and gave you headphones to listen to that or music and it was great. Unfortunately I couldn't read on the bus as it made me motion sick but other than that is was awesome. We arrive after dark and it was still raining in Vienna.
We took the subway from the bus stop right to downtown which had so many lights up for Christmas. Unfortunately since it was all rainy it wasn't the nicest for just wandering, and we were on the hunt for some Christmas markets.
There were lots of fancy stores in the downtown area. In the photo above it was this fancy jewelry store and the gold things that look kind of like ballet slippers or something are crushed soda cans painted gold. I was just like really? Soda cans?
There also was this one place that had creepy people mannequins in the windows on the second floor. Especially creepy since it was all rainy and dark. I loved it.
In the parks there was some snow and the plants were all covered in ice. It was gorgeous.
The next day (Christmas Eve) we woke up and it was foggy, but not raining so that was nice since we could still walk around.
We went down to check out some more Christmas markets and we happened upon the natural history museum! Well it was open, but would be closed the next day so we had to go in and check it out. The building was gorgeous inside and they had some amazing rocks/minerals/fossils. I think they had more fossils than the Paris museum, though I still think I like the Pairs one slightly better. There is just a wow factor when you walk into that one, but the Vienna Natural History Museum is pretty amazing. Now for the photos - I will try and keep it to just my favorites, but it might be a lot since I LOVE this stuff!
After the fossils and such there were a few rooms labeled prehistory with like fabrics and things about people living forever ago.
They had these little fabric covered animals. They were silly, and didn't really seem to go with the rest of the room.
Though this was in the same room so...
That was all on the first floor. There was a special exhibit on the top floor called Skeletons in the Closet which had photos of various animals and such that they have in storage in unusual places. It was pretty funny, but no pictures were aloud so no photos. There were things like a bear right inside a door that someone opened and like a scared looking doe with something menacing. It was fun. Then the second floor was all animals and we just quickly walked through as we were getting hungry at that point and needed to get some food.
Some of the animal displays were odd though, like the above one. A dead fish on the beach with butterflies and a lizard eating the butterflies. Interesting.
After the natural history museum we spied on the Christmas market that was just outside. It was quite foggy but the market was nice. They had a lot of wooden nativity figures and mangers and such that were really nice and lots of booths with ornaments as well as the food and gluhwein places (with real mugs - yey for no paper cups!).
We went and got some lunch then headed over to the Christmas market at the Rathaus wich is the largest and nicest of the Christmas markets in Vienna. Christmas Eve is the last day for the market so we had fun exploring and drinking out hot beverages. I really liked the Christmas markets in Vienna. They had a lot of nice things and more Christmasy things than some other ones. Raymond didn't like them as much because he said the atmosphere was not the same. It is true - it wasn't just a bunch of people just hanging out and having drinks, no rides, it is not as much of a party as here in Berlin, but I liked the vendors more and it was...it is just different. Here are some of the market pictures during the day:
Inside the Rathaus they had a performance of a chorus singing Christmas carols so we went to check that out. It was...not the best. There was way too much talking and not enough singing. They only sang like 2 lines of whatever song they were singing. I was disappointed.
By the time we got out it was starting to get dark. We wandered and then once it was dark (though it didn't really get that dark since it was so foggy it kept it kind of bright) we walked through the park again.
They really liked having trees full of lights. Like one tree had all hearts in it, one had presents, one had dripping icicles, etc. After the Christmas market we walked back towards the center of town to catch the subway back to our room until we were ready for dinner (it was getting pretty cold and since it was Christmas Eve everything was closed).
It was so foggy so it was kind of creepy cool to walk around. The last photo is the same church as in the first photo (St Stephens) so you can see how foggy it was.
We went inside St Stephens and it was the most beautiful church I have ever been in. I know the photo is not much, but it was amazing! So ornate and gorgeous. We went into a lot of churches in Salzburg and they really know how to make them beautiful inside.
We were going to go to this one restaurant for dinner so we take the subway out there and...nothing. So there was a falafel stand that was open so we stopped and got falafel since like everything closes for Christmas Eve and there are not many options. The guy working was super friendly and we were talking to him while we waited. He was joking how I should be making dinner for Raymond since it is Christmas Eve! It was good, and we got our falafel and went back to our room to watch bad dubbed movies all night. We had stopped at the small grocery store and got some drinks and junk food and just had a little party in our room to celebrate.
Christmas day we got up and went to Schönbrunn Palace to check out the Christmas market there.
After the Christmas market we walked around the grounds a bit. It didn't look like there was much there until we got to the back of the building and this huge garden area which I am sure is gorgeous in the sumer and the Gloriette on the top of a hill. You can see the snow line on the hill and of course we had to go explore.
At the top everything was melting. All of the trees were covered in ice and the ice was falling off.
From the top you could see forever, even though it was foggy.
Even though ti was cold it was a nice walk up the hill and to the melting snow.
After the Palace we tried to find the begging robot. We went to the park where it is supposed to be, but sadly no robot was found. Next time we shall find the begging robot! Apparently the money it gets is used to help build or repair robots so I can give money for that. I just want to know how the robot begs for money...what does he look like?
After that we headed to Riesenradplatz for the last Christmas Market. This is also where the ferris wheel is which is listed on every map as well as an amusement park. Most rides were not open, but a few were and it was odd walking around this mostly empty park with loud music playing all over from the few rides that were working. There was one square that had all of these odd people statues with like flower kids and stuff. Not sure what they were or why they were there, but I liked the pictures we got with them:
Then monsters were trying to get Raymond. He doesn't like taking fun photos for some reason. I am not sure why as they are so fun!
And the ferris wheel. After that we went back downtown and went to a movie since most things besides restaurants were closed. I really liked the movie theatre and you could get a small thing of popcorn for a euro and it was actually a small bag. Like just smaller than a paper lunch bag and the perfect size for me and Raymond.
After the movie we went to a vegan bar for some dinner and to hang out for a bit. I loved the place we were - the waitress was really nice and the food was amazing and I just really liked the feel of the place. It was a really nice relaxing Christmas.
The art at the one subway station
These signs were on all of the subway trains and Raymond thought they were creepy looking. I didn't mind them.
Vienna was really nice on Christmas even though it was foggy the entire time we were there. I liked the city a lot and would like to go back and explore more (especially all of the vegan places that were closed while we were there). It was interesting though as it seemed like there was a higher percentage of people who didn't celebrate Christmas than anywhere I have been. Like it wasn't assumed that you do like I think people do in most places. It was just interesting as there were all of these Christmas markets and decorations and such, but it seemed like it was just for tourists like us and not the people who lived there. It was still fun and we had some really delicious foods! Next up - Salzburg!