Cruise

U by Uniworld River Cruise diary day nine: Vienna

John Bastick

Parked smack in the middle of town, U by Uniworld’s A ship makes the perfect launching pad for a day’s exploring – and sadly the last of my trip – of the truly eye-popping city of Vienna, home to Mozart, Beethoven and the famed schnitzel that bears its name.

The locals pronounce Vienna “Wien”, the Roman word for wine (as a small tidbit I picked up from a fellow passenger).

U by Uniworld provides a fantastic guided tour option for visitors to the city (like it does at all its ports), however, this time I prefer the solo traveller option.

I hadn’t visited Vienna since my notably uncultured backpacking days some 20 years ago and had forgotten how jaw-droppingly mesmerising the city actually is. It almost requires a trip to the chiropractor your neck is craning so hard at the sites and architecture that almost beggars belief.

St. Stephen's Cathedral, Vienna, Austria

Ironically, I almost “met my maker” on my last visit 20 years ago when I inadvertently stepped out in front of one of Vienna’s trams that silently sweep up on you at great pace. And as history would have it, I almost got collected again this time around. So, as a word of friendly advice, watch the trams.

There’s so much to see and do in the city – particularly if you’re contemplating a mandatory evening orchestra or ballet concert – Vienna really does need two (even three) days to really appreciate it.

Also, if you don’t want to simply wander about looking at pretty buildings, a guided tour can really enhance the experience, particularly if you’re interested in the amazing history. Alternatively, the tourist information office just off Kartner Strasse proved excellent for a stack of free information and quality maps.

Monument of Austrian composer Strauss II, in Stadtpark at gold romantic autumn - City Park, Vienna, Austria

Start your tour at the city’s landmark, the phenomenal 13th century St Stephen’s Cathedral (you can’t miss the 140-metre spire) and just lose yourself from there.

There’s also plenty of chocolate stores, pretzel vendors and schnitzel restaurants to fill a hungry tourist’s belly. Venture a little way off the tourist centre and you can typically pick-up a soup entree, schnitzel and potato salad for around the seven Euro mark (about $10 Australian). Oddly, there’s also an Australian-themed bar directly opposite the tourist office if you’re homesick for a VB.

Sadly, due to an early flight back to Sydney I need to bid Vienna an all too early “grüss gott” (that’s goodbye in Austrian) and head back to U by Uniworld’s A for the packing and trip back to the airport.

Still, the voyage proved an absolute delight of scenic cruising, wonderful people and staff, and fantastic memories. Never more so than I didn’t get killed by a Viennese tram.


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