Guest blogger Britta Pichler is an expatriate, world traveler, and writer. She tells of her adventures on her blog, Op-Expat, and freelances for various newspapers and websites.
Where: Vienna, Austria
Who: Britta Pichler, 32, and male travel partner
When: May 2012
High Points: On the surface Vienna is elegant, traditional, and slow moving. However, dig a little deeper and you'll find that it's also bohemian, trendy, and a place to party all night long.
Vienna's elegance and tradition are centrally located in the Inner City, or more formally, the First District. In its 3.01 km of space you'll find stunning architecture made up of palaces, museums, theaters, and churches. Most tourists stay in this small area of Vienna to see the major sights, then head out thinking that's all there is.
Pity, those people missed out on seeing what Vienna is really about. To do that, you have to get out of the Inner City and head over to the districts that surround it. There's the Naschmarkt (snack market) that boarders the 4th and 5th districts and is where locals go to dine. There's the 7th district with its huge shopping street and bohemian flair made up of funky coffeehouses and local designers. Even further out, in the 19th district, is a strong wine culture with vineyards in the city limits. After a long day of touring the city, a round of all-night partying awaits in multiple pubs, trendy bars and restaurants, and dance clubs. Vienna is a versatile town that has so much more to offer than most people think.
Low Points: The Viennese are very abrupt which can be interpreted as rude. Don't take it personally.
Savings Strategy: You can eat cheap at the famous wurstelstands placed around the Inner City. Also Vienna is very safe so use your guidebook's walking tours to explore freely.
Where I Stayed: For budget go to Wombat's City Hostel. Just make sure to book the Naschmarkt location as the other two are around the train station, which isn't a desirable neighborhood. For mid-range nH Hotel on Mariahilferstrasse has a fantastic location, is trendy, clean, and the staff is friendly.
If You Go: Visit as many coffeehouses as you can. The atmosphere is unique to the city and cannot be replicated elsewhere.
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