Day 14 – Travel day into Austria
We were up early, waiting for our bus to arrive on the main street of Mestre. We had a long bus ride from Venice to the Italian Austrian border, where we would switch and take a train the rest of the way into Vienna. A full day of travel logistics that I’ve never done before made me incredibly anxious as one mis-step could de-rail the entire trip.
I was pleasantly relieved when the bus arrived and we promptly loaded our luggage in an orderly fashion before we were on our way. The difference between the service of the driver with his friendly and helpful nature compared to those I’d dealt with in Italy instantly struck me and would become a recurring theme throughout our time in Austria.
Driving along, we watched the landscape slowly change from the flat orchards and fields into grassy hills and then tall rocky mountains. It made me excited for what was to come during this second part of our trip.
The bus arrived exactly on time right next to the station and we were able to wander almost straight onto our train, which featured little ‘welcome’ pamphlets to greet us on the seats. Before we knew it, the train silently pulled out the station and my anxiety passed, knowing we were on our way smoothly to Vienna. We did have the slight hiccup in that the ticket officer pointed we only had seat reservations and hadn’t actually paid yet. We had to give him most of the cash on us to pay for the ride and probably the fine that was included as well (which was ok, we could get more out later, lesson learned though).
The train ride itself was quite blissful, passing by small villages and towns that were surrounded in lush green fields or sitting nestled in the mountain side. I could have stared out the window all day. Our arrival at Vienna included being hit with much cooler temperatures and we spent the afternoon mostly huddled inside our hotel away from the cold.
Day 15 – Schloss Belvedere, Clock Museum
Our first day in Vienna would set the tone for the rest of the trip, trying to not have too much planned and just take the day as it comes. After a late morning, we walked over the Schloss Belvedere which was previously a palace before being transformed into an art gallery. One of the main reasons I wanted to visit was to see selected works of Gustav Klimt that were housed there. We explored every level and room, each with a plaque noting the original styling and purpose they served, many with their ceiling frescoes still in tact. Unfortunately I only have a couple of photos of inside before I was told off by an attendant for not seeing the no photography signage. I do have some photos of the beautiful gardens outside though.
Once we were finished at the gallery, we took our chances and tried out the city metro (turned out to be very easy) and traveled further into the city. During my research I had come across the clock museum, a small little building that featured various time pieces throughout history. I personally really love this little niche museums, we’ve been to a few in Japan and they’re always put together with such care and passion.
This place was hidden away down a side street but it actually took up about 3 or 4 small levels of a building. There were many ornate and interesting clocks and each level detailed the history and changes in both trends and technology. I’m glad we made the hike to find this place.
Day 16 – Schloss Schönbrunn
One of favourite highlights of Vienna was the the Schloss Schönbrunn, the residence of the late monarchy. After getting our tickets and taking an audio tour of the interior (again, no photography allowed), we moved into the expansive gardens that featured children’s play areas, garden mazes and a cafe atop the large hill at the back. We spent the day exploring most of the garden areas, though we nearly died walking up that hill. It was worth for the view of the palace below with the city sprawling out behind it though.
And with that, our short stay in Vienna was over. Our next day would see us travelling further into the countryside to the town of Salzburg.