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Feel the Force at Vienna’s University

If you want to experience Vienna’s ancient history in piece, set course to the university. Because of its impressive corridors, several movies have been shot here, including an Austrian no-budget Star Wars-film that was released this June.

Founded in 1365, the University of Vienna is one of the oldest universities in the world. And the good news is that you don’t have to be a student or professor to enjoy the cool shades of the ancient corridors. The relatively quiet inner courtyard has become one my favorite reading spots, also thanks to the little coffeeshop that offers good coffee for a Dutch price, which is a rare combination in the inner city.

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From its comfortable terrace, you have a nice view over the inner garden, where students are taking a sunny break and an occasional tourist is counting the faces of famous scientists who used to study here.

 


Möge die Macht mit Dir sein’

Weekend break in the Alps

One of the great things about Austria is its diverse landscape. From Vienna, it takes five hours to get to the Tiroler mountains. Don’t buy a normal train ticket, though. You’ll find much cheaper offers on the internet.

My weekend trip to the mountains was my first actual holiday this summer and I was happy to spend it with family and friends. Johanna’s home made Sachertorte makes Viennese pastry chefs look like amateurs.

There are two big train company’s in Austria. You can travel with Westbahn, or choose ÖBB. Westbahn is a private railway company with limited train routes in Austria, but you can travel from Vienna to Salzburg. Also, the trains are very comfortable. Westbahn has several very interesting offers, especially in the summer. Most discount tickets can only be bought online, but sometimes you can also buy them at a tobacco store (‘Trafik’), like all normal Westbahn’s tickets.

You can also try to find a more interesting offer at ÖBB. Check the SparSchiene for the cheapest tickets. The number of tickets is limited though, so the sooner you book, the better. SparSchiene tickets can only be booked online.

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Old fashioned beer at high altitude

Yesterday evening I got to know Andi, who rents me his room. He suggested to go to 25hours Hotel Wien, where we drank a beer on high altitude.

The view was amazing, what makes the hotelbar definitely worth a visit. But even at a hotel that never sleeps, the Viennese tend to be a bit old fashioned. In many places in town it’s either impossible or inconvenient to pay with your bank card. However this annoys me sometimes, I find it somewhat comforting to know that some people just don’t like to be rushed.

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25hours Hotel Wien, Lerchenfelder Straße 1-3 (7th district, Neubau)

Schloss Schönbrunn: world’s biggest doll’s house

One cannot leave Vienna without having seen Schloss Schönbrunn, the famous palace of the Habsburgs. It’s gold-coloured interior with chandeliers and fresco’s is so ‘over the top’, you feel like you’re walking in world’s biggest doll’s house.

Once entered the gates of Schloss Schönbrunn, it’s impossible nót to be impressed by the look of the gigantic palace and it’s huge gardens where every grass haulm has the exact same length. All this fortune couldn’t satisfy every Habsburger though. Elisabeth, the ‘hyped’ empress of Austria better known as ‘Sisi’, used to mock her servants and fled most of the time abroad. The audiotour also mentioned her obsession with her appearance and figure, but apparently the Austrians prefer to avoid the word ‘anorexia’.

Officially, it’s not allowed to make pictures inside the palace. I sort of did, but just to show you how many people visit Schloss Schönbrunn. It didn’t bother me though. You can buy your ticket at a ticketmachine, for which you don’t have to stand in line. And the queue at the entrance moves quite fast. The gardens you can visit for free.

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Schloss Schönbrunn, Schönbrunner Schlossstrasse 47 (13th district, Hietzing)

More about the Habsburgs