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Trip report June 2018 solo female

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Trip report June 2018 solo female

I'm in Vienna right now and have been working on an ongoing trip report, although I've gotten behind. I'm traveling solo and have already been to Venice and Salzburg on this trip. I'll post each day as a reply. Warning - I tend to write a lot, so be prepared.

Here's the link to the Venice part:

https://www.tripadvisor.com/ShowTopic-g18787…

And the Salzburg part:

https://www.tripadvisor.com/ShowTopic-g19044…

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1. Re: Trip report June 2018 solo female

Day 11 - Wednesday 6 June 2018 (part 2)

The rest of the train ride went smoothly except for my iphone charger exploding. (Possibly a slight exaggeration, but not much of one.) I had it plugged in to the power outlet at my seat, using a Belkin USB cable, one of those cube shaped chargers that come with the iphone, and then a plug adaptor. Suddenly, there was a popping noise (it reminded me of those caps that you used to hit with something and smoke would come out), and smoke came up from the charger. The charger itself was very hot, and there were scorch marks on the USB end of the cable and the USB outlet of the charger. The phone (fortunately) seemed to be fine, as did the plug adapter.

The consensus on the Travel Gadgets and Gear forum was that the charger was old and stopped working. I know things stop working eventually, but I wasn’t expecting it to stop quite so dramatically. I’m not sure how old the charger was as we have several. (They seem to last longer than the phones.) I just unplugged everything and didn’t try to use any of it until I got to the hotel.

My train was about 15 minutes late into Vienna, which didn’t make much difference as I wasn’t in any particular hurry, and fortunately my phone still had enough of a charge to allow me to get to the hotel. I bought a weekly travel pass for 16 euro, but I think that will turn out to be a waste of money as I seem to be walking everywhere. Again, I couldn’t see anywhere on the ticket that said which end/side to validate, so I picked one at random. I don’t know what happens if you get stopped with a validated ticket with the stamp in the wrong place. Does anyone know?

I checked in to my hotel, the Hotel Pension Suzanne. I picked this based on forum recommendations as well since I had limited research time. The only problem is it doesn’t have AC, which would be nice with the current weather. Opening the windows doesn’t seem to help much. It seems like you need 2 windows on different walls so you get a cross breeze for windows to make much difference. My travel alarm clock has a built in thermometer, and it’s been staying pretty consistently around 80 degrees since I’ve been here, no matter what I do with the windows. They did provide me with a fan which helps, so I’ve been moving the fan around the room so I can keep it aimed at me and sleeping on the side of the bed with an outlet so I’ve been sleeping ok.

Funny, I never had AC until I moved to Illinois about 15 years ago, but now that I have it I’m used to it and it seems like a necessary thing. I will say that overall I like the fact that restaurants and such aren’t as air conditioned in Europe as they are in the US. At home I have to wear long pants and bring a sweater or fleece with me if we go out to eat, even if I’d be wearing shorts outside. Here at least you can wear the same clothes inside and out (mostly).

All I had planned for today was Giselle at the Staatsoper at 8PM. Then I added in going to the Apple store to get a new charger. Lucky for me, they just opened the first Apple store in Austria a few months ago, and they were kind enough to put it down the street from my hotel. I assume there are other stores in Vienna where you can buy such things, but the Apple store was the only thing I knew to look for. (Presumably the hotel could have told me where to go.) I headed out and bought a new 2 meter cable and a USB wall charger with the European 2 prong plug. I’ve thought about buying one for a while since I travel to Europe fairly often but hadn’t gotten around to it. Plus they’re expensive - it was 60 euro for the cable and charger. I’ve been mainly using a charger with 4 USB ports, which works well especially if there aren’t many outlets in the room, which is often true in the hotels I stay in. It just won’t work for my laptop. I keep thinking of switching to a tablet, but haven’t figured out what to get. I like having a keyboard and a mouse. Keyboard is no problem, but I don’t think you can get a mouse for an ipad, although you might be able to with some other brands.

I had dinner at an Italian place called Vapiano which is self serve - they give you a card and then you go to one or more of several stations for different foods (pizza, pasta, salad, etc) and they put you order on the card. When it’s ready they buzz you with a pager and you come back and get it. Then you take the card to the register to pay. A little unusual, but it works and the food wasn’t bad.

After dinner, I headed up to the Staatsoper for Giselle. I took my seat and then this little old lady came with a weird looking card - I think it was light blue and maybe 3”x4” with my seat number on it. I wondered if it was some sort of season ticket or discount card or what. I showed her my ticket that had the seat number on it, and she said the next seat over belonged to her friend who wasn’t coming, so would I sit there so she could be next to her other friend. I agreed, but then about 3 min before the show started, the usher showed up with someone with a ticket for the new seat. The usher just moved her down a seat - there must have been one unsold as no one else came to sit in the next one over. Does anyone know what the card was she had? Google didn’t help me figure it out.

At intermission the usher came and took my ticket and the old woman’s ticket and then came back and told me I was the one supposed to be in that seat but if no one else came to sit there they had decided to let her sit there rather than create a fuss. I had a perfectly good view from one seat over, so I was fine with that. Unfortunately, after intermission 2 people came and sat in the empty seats in front of me (I don’t think they were ticketed there), but I could lean around them. The woman on my right (who had the ticket for my new seat) didn’t come back after the interval - not sure if she got seated somewhere else or just didn’t come back. Anyway, it made leaning easier to have an empty seat next to me.

I really liked Giselle. It’s the first ballet I’ve been to with a story where I didn’t know the story ahead of time, so it was interesting to try to figure it out. I was in the 2nd row of the balcony in the middle and it was a really good overall view. It would be better if the seats were offset a little more (I think they were slightly offset) so it would be easier to look between the people in the next row, but I was happy with the seats. I think the first row of the balcony was harder to see from because the railing was in the way. I think I’ll have to book more ballet tickets in the future.

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2. Re: Trip report June 2018 solo female

Day 12 - Thursday 7 June 2018

I had breakfast at the hotel. It costs 10 euro, but when I looked online at breakfast menus, that was about the going rate. Oddly, to book the room with daily breakfast included was 15 euro a day. To book the breakfast in advance separately was 10 euro a day. I emailed to ask about it and they just told me that was the correct price. (I booked by email because I couldn’t get the online booking on their website to work in either English or German.) So obviously I didn’t get breakfast included. The only way that seems reasonable would be if it included breakfast for 2 since it’s a room for 2.

The breakfast was ok - pretty typical. Meat, cheese, hard/soft boiled eggs, bread, cereal, fruit. It’s enough to fill me up at any rate. I decided to start the morning at Stephansdom, which was crazy busy! There were a zillion guided tours and it was really just packed at least in the free entry part. You can pay to go into the middle of the nave and get an audio guide, but there were a couple of tour groups waiting and it didn’t look like I would get to the desk anytime soon, so I just went into the free part and used the Wikipedia and Sacred Destinations descriptions for a guide. I came to the entrance to the catacombs about 5 min before the tour was to start, and you paid the tour guide for that so I decided to do it. This takes you down to the crypt where there is a chapel where they still have services, the area where they bury the bishops, the area where the Habsburg’s organs (except the heart) are buried, and coffins which I think are Habsburgs from before they started burying them in multiple places (splitting up the heart, viscera, and body). The tour was done in German and then repeated in English at each stop. That seems to be pretty standard in Austria so far, although I haven’t encountered it anywhere else that I recall. There’s a combined ticket that you buy from a separate ticket office just past the crypt entry on the left, and that didn’t have as many people in it. I thought about doing that as it does save money over paying separately, but they were starting a mass at 12 so I just left.

From there I went to the Theatre Museum, which is where the highlights of the Academy of Fine Arts gallery are located while the Academy building is under renovation. The main reason I went was to see the Last Judgement by Hieronymus Bosch, which is a very interesting painting. I enjoyed looking at a lot of the medieval paintings as well. There are also a couple of theatre exhibitions, but I didn’t go to those. I’d guess this took me about 1-1.5 hours.

I hadn’t initially planned to go to the Albertina, but it was right next door and had big signs up for their exhibition on Monet-Picasso. I’m not exactly clear on whether this is their permanent exhibition or just a temporary arrangement of works from their permanent collection. It started with Monet and worked its way through the different styles of art up to Picasso. I encountered there the rudest tour guide I’ve ever encountered. He came up and tapped me on the shoulder and flicked his fingers at me to tell me to get out of the way of his group. I was probably much angrier than that really deserved, and looked for his nametag so I could complain, but he had it flipped backwards so I couldn’t see his name.

I actually had to leave the exhibition and take a break because I was so angry that I couldn’t enjoy the paintings. Finally I went and did the tour of the state rooms, and by the time I finished that I had shoved him behind the wall in the part of my mind where I shove people who video and text during concerts and plays so my irritation at their rudeness won’t ruin whatever I paid good money to see. I thought about taking his photo to complain, but that felt sort of stalkerish so I gave up.

The state rooms were actually fairly interesting, covering some of the Imperial history of Austria, which I’ve found I really don’t know anything about. The only times we learned about Austria in school was when Archduke Franz Ferdinand was assassinated and then about the Anschluss. (History is not one of the strong points of the US educational system.) I thought the Monet-Picasso was very interesting. I’ve been working on increasing my art knowledge, so it was interesting to go chronologically through the different art movements with examples. I doubt I’ll ever be a real modern art fan though. I just don’t get people with 3 eyes all on different parts of the body or random squares and triangles of different colors. Oh well.

Unfortunately, I was there until close to 6 (closing) which didn’t leave me much time for dinner before the concert I had booked at the Musikverein at 19:30. I had taken a break for apple strudel at the Albertina cafe before I went in, so fortunately I wasn’t that hungry either. I ended up getting a sandwich at Starbucks, which I can’t really recommend. It was enough to keep me from starving though.

The concert was by the RSO Wien, and was pretty good. I was in the 3rd row of the middle balcony and had a great view if there was no one in front of me. Unfortunately, a tallish woman sat in front of me, blocking the conductor and the middle of the orchestra back to the flutes. If I leaned to the right a little I could see though. The sound was good anyway, and that’s the important thing in a concert. Sometimes I even watch them with my eyes closed. I wasn’t familiar with the music they played in the first half, but I liked their 2nd piece a lot. After the interval they played the Chichester Psalms There was a large chorus, but I don’t know where they came from as I didn’t pay for a program. They finished the first movement and then the conductor suddenly left the stage, leaving the audience perplexed. He came back with a boy soloist (I think from the Vienna Boys Choir based on his clothing), who apparently wasn’t where he was supposed to be when he was supposed to be there. Presumably someone was supposed to tell him to go onstage and didn’t? Once he got on stage though, he had a beautiful voice. Anyway, I really enjoyed that as I like choral music. Apparently it’s very hard to play.

They ended with music from West Side Story, which enabled me to identify at least one of the songs they were playing at the Caffe Florian in Venice. “Somewhere” from West Side Story. It looked pretty challenging, especially for the percussionists, who had to change instruments a lot. So overall, it was a really good concert, and I’m now looking forward even more to mass wth the Vienna Boys Choir on Sunday. (Although I guess they won’t have an orchestra with them then.)

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3. Re: Trip report June 2018 solo female

"I bought a weekly travel pass for 16 euro, but I think that will turn out to be a waste of money as I seem to be walking everywhere. Again, I couldn’t see anywhere on the ticket that said which end/side to validate, so I picked one at random."

Weekly tickets do not need to be validated because they are good from 0001 Monday (12:01 AM) until 0900 the following Monday (9:00 AM) .

(Wochenkarte - 7 day Zone 100 (city centre) travelcard €16.20. All forms of transport - but beware: valid from 00:00 Monday to 09:00 the following Monday regardless of what day of the week you buy it! Buy it on a Sunday and you get less than one day's use!)

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4. Re: Trip report June 2018 solo female

Yes, the date is already printed on you pass so you don’t need to validate it. Check the dates, however, and make sure it’s not for next week.

Vapiano is also all over the US.

The Monet to Picasso exhibit has been at the Albertina for years.

Continue to enjoy Vienna. I hope you’re going to Schonbrunn.

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5. Re: Trip report June 2018 solo female

>>I doubt I’ll ever be a real modern art fan though. I just don’t get people with 3 eyes all on different parts of the body or random squares and triangles of different colors. Oh well.<<

Lol! I'm the same! 😀

That mix up with the seats in Staatsoper was weird. I would email them, at least to let them know they're giving same seats to multiple people.

Enjoy! Waiting for your next post.

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6. Re: Trip report June 2018 solo female

“Although I guess they won’t have an orchestra with them then”

Yes they will, and it’s mainly members of the Vienna Philharmonic too! But you won’t be able to see them (or the boys until their encore at the end).

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7. Re: Trip report June 2018 solo female

Should have added I’m loving the reports!

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8. Re: Trip report June 2018 solo female

+1 😀😀

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9. Re: Trip report June 2018 solo female

I guess that makes sense for the weekly tickets. I assume you'd have to validate one ride tickets or 24 hour tickets? Are they labeled with where to validate? I still have't used the weekly ticket again. :-(

I didn't think I would need public transport but then I kept reading how big Vienna is and how I'd have to use public transport so I just bought the ticket. That was one expensive U-bahn ride!

I don't know if I'll get to Schonbrunn or not. I only have 2 days left and way more than 2 days worth of things on my list. I was thinking of a day trip to Wachau, but I don't know if I have the energy. Either the length of the trip or the head is demotivating me I think. And there's plenty to do in Vienna.

Interesting about Vapiano, I've never seen one in the US, but there are a lot of places I haven't been to.

It was weird about the tickets. And then the seat next to me that she said would be empty because it was her friend's seat had someone seated in it. I think maybe she didn't really have a valid ticket, but I'm not sure what she had. It looked like it had signatures or dates or something handwritten on it. Sort of like the cards that used to be in the backs of library books.

I read you can't see them in mass. That's ok, I can still listen. I didn't realize they had an orchestra though. I read that the orchestra for at least opera at the Staatsoper is also made up of people from the Vienna Philharmonic. I'm not sure if that's the same for ballet or not, but the music was great. No tickets for the Vienna Philharmonic while I'm here, but fortunately, my daughter and I saw them in Paris last spring (2017),

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10. Re: Trip report June 2018 solo female

It’s takes 10 minutes on the subway to get to Schonbrunn. Just go and see it from the outside and walk through the gardens. It is the best sight in Austria for a reason.

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