Sept 1 and 2 – Vienna, Austria
We reached Vienna late at night on Aug 31st. While the flight over was uneventful, we made the mistake of taking the City Airport Train (CAT) to the city centre instead of a regular Rejio Jet to the Hauptbahnhof (Central station). Sometimes overconfidence gets you into trouble … we were so confident about our knowledge of the metro system in Europe that we bought the first available ticket on the CAT. Our Airbnb host had given detailed instructions on how to reach his apartment and the very first statement was not to take the CAT but to take the Rejio Jet.
The challenge with the CAT is it that it is from the airport to Wien Mitte, the city centre, but in most European cities the Hauptbahnhof (Hbf, Central station) has all the connections ! I had also booked all the Airbnb’s near the Hbf. Anyway, we reached Wien Mitte and asked around to find out how to reach Hbf, bought two single tickets and got into an S-Bahn going towards Meidling. We reached Hbf and tried to find the exit mentioned in our host’s instructions as his apartment was just 20 metres from that exit. We couldn’t find it and finally asked a young man if he could help. The other mistake we made was not to activate the UK SIM card that Vidya had got for us last year … so we had no access to the maps. This young man figured out that his hostel was in the same direction and helped us get to the Airbnb.
We just had to walk 70 metres instead of 20 metres :). The Airbnb was excellent and we just crashed into the bed. There was no air-conditioner but pedestal fans and that was sufficient. We were really tired as we had returned from Hyderabad on the 30th and packed a little later into the night, then got into the 11 am flight to get to Vienna.
The next day was Sunday and just like in Germany, all stores are closed on a Sunday in Austria too, but luckily the Spar store at Hbf was open. So we walked out to it and bought some essentials plus picked up our favourite fresh Orange juice. Watched a movie “Colonia Dignidad” on Netflix… probably our first ever movie on Netflix. We just walked around till we figured out an Indian store in KeplerPlatz called Josco. Decided to come back the next day to stock up on poha etc for the rest of the trip.
The next day, Sept 2nd turned out to be a rainy day. It was raining really heavily so couldn’t go to the Billa store which was 20 metres from the Airbnb. I made Semiya Upma for breakfast using onions and tomatoes that I had bought from Spar the previous day. It was Ganesh Chaturthi so I wrote a blog about it. It continued to rain till almost 3.30 pm. We finally got out to the Asian store Josco near Keplerplatz around 4.30 pm. The store is run by a Nepali who spoke in Hindi to us. Walked back towards the Airbnb and got into the Billa store. They have an amazing inventory. Bought our favourite TUC biscuits and Milka chocolate to celebrate Ganesh Chaturthi. It was drizzling a bit very now and then but we didn’t need a raincoat. We then went out again to the Favoritenstraße side and to the Hofer super market. They had different brands from Billa and again great inventory, but we didn’t buy anything there. Found another Billa next to Hofer and just picked up Hummus that both of us like a lot.
We spent day 1 and 2 just orienting ourselves to Vienna, getting our food situation sorted and buying our weekly ticket. The city is beautiful… Looking forward to exploring it.