I cannot believe that the lockdown is finally over. We’re all going through difficult times but thanks for God, there’s light at the end of the tunnel. This crisis has taught all of us a few lessons – one of the things I have learnt is that life is very short and fragile so we should really enjoy every moment of it. And that’s exactly what my best friend and me decided to do last week by celebrating the end of our months long lockdown in the beautiful Austrian capital, Vienna.
Just a little bit of a background info before you start thinking that we are totally irresponsible: we are from Budapest, the capital of Hungary that’s literary a 3 hours drive away from Vienna. Both Austria and Hungary have a relatively low number of new coronavirus cases and those who have been following my blog for some time probably know that I have OCD (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder) and Generalized Anxiety Disorder, so I guess I do not need to tell you that I am the type of person who tends to overthink everything and who takes every possible precaution to prevent any potential disaster. But anyways, today’s article is not about my OCD, it’s about my Vienna trip that I just want to talk about – nowadays, there’s a lot of negativity on the internet so it’s time to write about something more cheerful.
Why exactly Vienna?
Now, I am not a tour guide or something so I will not give you a complete list of reasons why Vienna is the perfect destination for your next city break. But I can tell you that it’s one of the most beautiful cities I have ever seen with stunning architecture, cozy cafés and great museums. And another thing I just love about the city is its calm atmosphere that just helps me keep my OCD and my anxiety under control. Travelling is one of my biggest hobbies but as many of you know (or can imagine), it’s not always easy to explore new cities when you’re suffering from a mental illness. But Vienna is one of the most livable cities in the whole world with a lot of places where you can escape the crowds, clean and organized streets and very reliable public transport. And well, apart from this, we obviously should not forget about all the amazing sites you can see so let me tell you what we were doing during our trip.
On the first day of our trip, the weather was far from being fantastic. But if you’re in Vienna, bad weather will not stop you from enjoying yourself as you can always go to one of the city’s great museums. And we decided to go to Kunsthistorisches (lit. “Art History) Museum. It has a unique collection of masterpieces from Ancient Egyptian works of art to Bruegel and Raphael. And well, I guess we could say that the building itself is a sight on it’s own.
Of course, apart from admiring the building itself, we spent a great amount of time walking around beautiful works of art.
And well, my blog is mainly about my Obsessive Compulsive Disorder so if you wondering about what intrusive thoughts I could possibly have at a museum let me give you one example: I often worry about stealing a painting. I mean they are just so beautiful so I sometimes think it would be so great to have them in my room and then BOOM! my OCD will just ask me the typical “what if” question: what if you lose your mind and steal one?
Like I know this fear may sound just ridiculous and I really do not blame you if you laugh at it but it can be scary sometimes.
Anyways, as you could possibly guess, I haven’t stolen any paintings as I am still here writing my blog but I have taken photos of my favorite ones.
Walking around the city
One of the things that both my best friend and me enjoy doing while being on holidays is just walking around the city. And this was not our first trip to Vienna (guess we have been there at least a hundred times), so we already have our favorite walking spots, such as:
Walking in the Old Town of Vienna will always make me feel relaxed. It’s full of beautiful buildings and adorable little streets and it has a truly magical atmosphere that will help you forget about your daily struggles.
Going to a Patisserie
Vienna famous for its coffee houses and for it’s delicious cakes. So, we obviously had some. Do not want to go into details about the exact number of pastries we consumed because we are not proud of that.
One of the main squares and it’s full of life. And I should not forget to mention that Karlskirche (St. Charles Church), a beautiful baroque church and one of Vienna’s main attractions which is also in this square.
Ringstraße is a circular grand boulevard that serves as a ring road around the Inner Town of Vienna. And it’s just a perfect place for a walk so that’s where we spent most of our evenings. And if my article convinced you to go to Vienna, this is definitely one of the first places I’d recommend you to visit as many of the city’s famous buildings are on Ringstraße.
And well, all the photos in my post are taken by me, except for this one but I just had to steal this pic from wien.info as I think it’s just simply amazing.
I do not only have OCD but I am also a shopaholic. And Mariahilferstraße is the best (or the worst, depends on the way you look at it) place for shopaholics. It’s a beautiful street full of stores you can spend your salary at – and that’s what I did.
Donauinsel (Danube island) is not among the most famous tourist attractions of Vienna but I just love this place. I guess it’s because of all the beautiful memories I got from there. Such as, falling in love for the first time……
Anyways, before I get way too romantic to handle: speaking of memories – my friend managed to lose her public transport pass while walking around the island, so we decided to go back and look for it. It was obviously a pretty hopeless mission as the weather had been extremely windy but at the same time, it was pretty fun, we were like little Hercule Poirots trying to reconstruct all the crazy events that happened on that day.
And any OCD triggers on Donauinsel? Well, in my case yes as one has to walk across a bridge to get there (okay, you could also take public transport but I just love walking..) and as many of you know I have this fear of jumping off a bridge. I have learnt how to keep it under control and it did not stop me from going to my favorite places but it’s always in the background.
I guess I am not alone with this, but I have been a great fan of Sisi ever since I was a small child. So, we did not want to miss the chance to visit Schönbrunn Palace and its beautiful park (even if the weather hadn’t been the best as you can see it in this picture.)
Speaking of palaces: we went to Belvedere too. It’s another stunning palace in the city center and its garden is a perfect place for an afternoon chill – I can tell you that I got a great tan! Unfortunately, we had not had the chance to visit the exhibition (there’s a beautiful art collection housed in the palace with paintings of Gustave Klimt, Egon Schiele and many other great artists) as it’s only reopening on the 1st of July. But anyways, that’s a reason to go back…
Outside of Vienna: Burg Kreuzenstein
Even though we could never get bored of Vienna, we still decided to leave it for one day and explore the neighborhood. So that’s how we ended up at the beautiful Burg Kreuzenstein that’s only a short train journey away from the city center.
It’s a beautiful castle that makes you feel as if you were in a fairy tale. And well yes, we spent about 2 hours posing for gothic pictures as it really is the perfect place for that and we just love taking pictures.
And well, if you think this place could never trigger my OCD, you’re unfortunately wrong. I spent at least an hour worrying about a cigarette that I smoked – nothing creepy, I had been far away from the castle in the smoking area so absolutely no chance to do any harm but I was still worried to death about that particular cigarette because what if the wind blew in the wrong direction and what if a piece of ash set something on fire and what if I am the one to blame for the whole thing. Would never be able to forgive myself. Obviously, nothing terrible happened but I have arrived to a conclusion: never smoke cigarettes near historical sites, even if it’s permitted, it’s not worth it with all of the anxiety it could give you.
A Day Trip To Brno , Czechia
As the Czech border is pretty close to Vienna, we did not want to miss the chance to visit Czechia. So, we decided to spend a day in the beautiful city of Brno – well, that’s not a long time but we tried to see as much as we can, including Villa Tugendhat, one of the pioneering prototypes of modernist architecture and the impressive Cathedral of St. Peter and Paul. But there are so many more things to do in Brno so we definitely want to go back.
And speaking of Czechia: I do need to tell you that their beer is amazing, but I guess that’s something most of you already know 🙂
Just One More Salmon Sandwich
Now, let me tell you about the legendary salmon sandwich. My friend and me – the two freaks – fell in love with a salmon sandwich that we had for breakfast at a Brno café, so we just wanted to go back there to have some more. So far so good, the only issue is that we have almost missed our train back to Budapest. Because of a salmon sandwich. Now, thanks for God we could finally catch our train (we needed to call a taxi) but the fact that we preferred a sandwich over the way back home is pretty alarming.
The salmon sandwich in question:
Life is not easy if you live with a mental illness. And with this ongoing crisis it’s definitely been a difficult period for all of us. But one thing that we could learn from the past few months is to be much more grateful for everything that we have. The reason why I shared this post is not telling you that you should go ahead and travel through the world despite the pandemic, but to show you that there’s light at the end of the tunnel and there are places in the world where life is slowly returning.
As you know, there’s one thing that I enjoy more than writing my stories: reading yours. Please feel free to share your travel experiences/ thoughts in the comment section.