InterRail 2012 6. Twin Cities
Apologies yet again another delayed post. Too hectic to even list all the reasons.
I just want to finish my InterRail 2012 post as there might be another one coming soon! 🙂
Continuing from Krakow, I made my way to the Twin Cities of Vienna and Bratislava. Like I’ve done previously, I bought the 2201 night train ticket to VIENNA (WIEN) WESTBAHNHOF on the morning of travel and it wasn’t particularly difficult as the ticket woman in Krakow Station spoke some English. Do ask at the International Rail Ticket booth though.
I boarded train at about half an hour early to make sure I don’t miss it. With some time to kill, I remembered it still had Interview With A Vampire (Anne Rice), so I began to read it. Not long after, some more people got on the carriage. There were some fuss as the two Austrian women in their late 20s (turned out to be sisters, Anna and Michaela) carried massive backpacks but their beds were the topmost ones. I helped them up and very soon got to talking.
I was telling them about my trip to Aushwitz and asking them about the differences between the German language in Austria and Germany when this German guy underneath my bed interrupted. He didn’t speak English very well but somehow thought we were mocking Germans, asking if we “find Germans funny!?” and some other really rather awkward comments. He was hardly coherent but he sounded aggressive.
Some minutes later, just after the train had pulled out from the station, Michael (Micha), a Belgian guy who looked like Leonardo di Caprio, came stumbling in with his trilby hat, shorts and a loose white shirt. The two Austrian girls had apparently bumped into him a while back in their travels up in Scandinavia, and a couple of other stops along the way. Small World.
We all talked amongst ourselves. The Spanish PE teacher guy opposite the weird German guy’s bed joined in, united in the our growing unease of our weird train companion… until the German guy turned off the lights and went back to bed. Saying much! Sort of fearing for our lives for when we sleep, we thought it was better to continue our conversations out in the corridor.
Michael told us that he’s in a pickle because if he misses his connecting train ticket tomorrow in Vienna up to Brussels, he will be stranded as he has no money left. He says he got the InterRail ticket from his mate who used to work for a rail company who stole a bunch of paper tickets and the printer so he could make his own and sell it off to people. He’s literally just been living frugally in his European city hopping just to experience it. Fair play!
The night ensued and the conversation flowed. Soon, we all headed to kip and at 0630ish the train arrived in Vienna.
When we awoke, paronoidly checked for stab wounds (from the weird German guy), we all huddled our belongings, said goodbye to each other and gone off on our way.
WELCOME TO VIENNA!
Hungry… and admittedly not having any particular place to go, I just grabbed a random tram (transpost is the same as in Germany) to quickly have a look at the surroundings. Anna recommended to visit the central area which is called Stephenplatz so I made my way there by getting on an S-Bahn. I bought a day travelcard for €6.70 and off I went.
My first impression of Stepehplatz was… OH HELLO LEICESTER SQUARE! It was very packed. I grabbed breakfast bagel in Starbucks just off a sidestreet, used their wifi to check what to see here. There’s a giant cathedral (Stephansdom – St Stephen’s Cathdedral), some chiq shops and of course MacDonalds. I went in the cathedral and took a couple of snaps before heading out.
After a quick stroll, I found the Mozart’s House Museum in Domgasse 5, just behind the Cathedral. I paid a reduced entrance fee of €8 upon showing them my Forces Card (Ching!) and leisurely had a look in the apartment, armed with a radio tour guide. It consisted of about 3 floors with small rooms and corridors but disappointingly didn’t contain very much. A couple of paintings and texts on the walls, plus some very little room furnishes. It looked very clinical. Understandably, I guess there wasn’t much left as Mozart died debt ridden, almost like a pauper. I found the museum very stale compared to the genius and greatness that Mozart was.
I roamed around some more to find Dunkin Donuts but I couldn’t find one so I went in McDs for a quick meal. Steak wrap and a sundae! Omnomnom. Vienna was VERY hot and stuffy so that was a welcomed refreshment.
I left the museum at about 1430 and decided to crossover to the neighbouring city – Bratislava. I hopped on the direct train 1536 from Wien Stadlau to Bratislava hl. st. I got there at about 1746. No one checked any tickets, and there was no barrier. I was like Wtf. Ok. I kept calmed and carry on. With the InterRail ticket, I didn’t have to but another as it’s included in the day I used to travel to Vienna from Krakow.
My first impression of Bratislava was bizarre. Unlike all the European cities I’ve visited so far, the outside of BratislavaHl. St. looked really run down. I went to get a bus ticket using the self service machines on a post next to the bus stop when I got hassled by this greased up young beggar girl, who didn’t speak English. I ignored the girl so as to not to attract any more attention but she followed me to the ticket post. It got even more awkward as the Euro coins I was using kept getting rejected. The girl approached the ticket post, preceded to insert her coins and then handed me the ticket. It was a tad embarrassing. I’m not an ingrate so I thanked her in English and gave her her money back plus all the copper/silver coins I had left (maybe about €1.20 in total). I suppose that was enough.
That random bus took me south, to the direction of the River Danube, where I wanted to go. There was a major tourist spot – St Martin’s Cathedral nearby so I just took a couple of snaps around there and strolled in this bit of the town. Apparently, the week after, they held an International Organ Festival here but sadly, I had to miss it. There was a giant chess match happening at the square opposite the Raddison Hotel, where a crowd gathered but they weren’t very good judging by their moves. So I continued walking around but ultimately as it was a late Friday afternoon, everything was shut and there was not much to see. The sun was making its way down the horizon and instinctively, I felt it was better to head back to Vienna. I had completely lost track of time and I was close to missing my trains. Quickly hailed a taxi and told it to go to Bratislava Petržalka station (different one from the train I used to get back) the station over to the South of the Danube.
A series of rapid changing trains followed:
From Vienna Sudbahnhof, I took the S-Bahn to Sudtinder Platz, then a tram back to Westbahnhof, then from that, a couple of minutes wait in Salzburg. At about 0100 then eventually to Zagreb.
Overall, I didn’t particularly enjoy the Twin Cities. It didn’t leave much of an impression to me. Vienna was pretty but very expensive. The only thing I remember anything about Vienna was of the scenes from Nodame Cantabile. Nodame says it’s the capital of Music but I didn’t really see/hear anything to support that… and Mozart’s house was quite disappointing. It’s not a place I’ll be in a hurry to visit again, let me just put it that way.
Total Spending: €40.20
|€6.70||One Day Travelcard|
|€4.50||Ham, egg and cheese bagel + cafe latte from Starbucks|
|€2||Bottle of water|
|€8||Mozart Museum Entrance ticket|
|€7||Sandwich, crisps + bottle of coke|
Nothing much see, I look forward to my next destination.
So next stop… Zagreb