Vienna was a city I had always imagined as severely posh. And for the most part, it is. On nearly every street corner there is either a museum, an art gallery or an extortionate high street retailer.
I arrived into Austria at about 10 am so I could try to sample as much of the city as possible. It was at this time that I discovered just how beautiful the city actually was. I passed through an area known as the Museum Quartier which had countless galleries around; from modern art, to a children’s centre and then it sprawled out to the main centre of the city. Here the two biggest museums could be found; Kunsthistorisches Museum and the Natural History Museum. Instead of going in to either I continued my walk through to the Hofburg Palace that housed even more centres. The Spanish Riding School, the Collection of Arms and Armour, Collection of Ancient Instruments and many more were all this vicinity. Once again, I continued my walk and this time arrived outside the Cathedral of St Stephen. I was quite lucky to get in actually as the time I walked up to the door, the bells were ringing to signal for mass. They briefly shut the doors behind me until the first introduction was over. I made my escape as this point.
I then headed to the Danube, only stopping for a bite to eat and found myself in the middle of an open air art gallery. There was stone statues, spray painted walls and wooden structures littering the riverbanks. I wandered around here for a bit, taking in all the alternative art that completely contrasted with the classical look Vienna has and then made my way back across the river. I then wandered around for a bit, passing the monument to Beethoven and ending up in the gardens of the Belvedere Palace. Strolling around the gardens actually took up most of my time as the place is so massive, it contains an orangerie, a botanical garden and the two parts of the palace itself. After what felt like forever, I decided to head back to my hostel and properly check in.
I got an early night as I had planned quite an exhausting setup for the following day. As there was a plethora of different museums and galleries to choose from and I only had very limited time and funds, I decided to only go to one, I chose the Natural History Museum of Vienna. It incorporated natural art in the gemstones, history of humans from the very beginning and even a section on space. All in all, it was a fantastic choice and I don’t regret missing out on the others.
Before I arrived in Vienna, my only expectation was that people go the Opera, so of course, I had to find an opera performance. The biggest Operahouse; Staatsoper had performances starting at €60+ so of course I had to find something cheaper. I found out about the Volksoper, the people’s Opera house with much more reasonable prices, I found one for €4. After walking around the museum during the day I came back to the hostel, washed all my clothes as it was well overdue and showered before heading to the Opera.
The performance started swiftly at 7pm with the orchestra opening. The show itself was very difficult to understand as it was all in German but I enjoyed the slapstick comedy that was highly prevalent. I don’t know the original story so that didn’t help my understanding but there was a young couple, and a rival lover, and loads of other background characters flying across the stage. The set actually spun round at points so we got to see two stages for the price of one. The sound effects by the orchestra were perfectly timed and the lighting added even more beauty to the whole piece. The first half ended with an absolute assault on eyes as all the onstage lights flickered, and characters were found left, right and centre all in their own little subplots. It was difficult to find who to focus on!
After 3 hours the show ended to rousing applause and I made my way back to my hostel.