After overdoing the activities in Slovenia, it was time to slow things down a little. In truth, we were both exhausted! We took things easy, sleeping late, sitting in cafés for extended periods of time, trying to live more like locals than tourists. Vienna is a beautiful city but felt quite overwhelming for such a short period of time.
I hadn’t actually planned to come here but we had a left a few free travel days and thought it would be a nice cultured stop along the way to Budapest. Inter railing gives you a huge amount of flexibility, I would really recommend it to anyone wanting to shoot the breeze across Europe (before your freedom of movement is taken away!) the trains are quite comfy and if you strike lucky you might get a whole compartment to yourself. It feels like first class!
We caught a performance of the state opera being live streamed outside the opera house. Unfortunately, we were unprepared for the torrential rain that started just as the performance of Puccini’s Manon Lescaut began. A friendly lady next to us lent us her umbrella and shared with her friend (they came awfully well prepared with ponchos and prosecco and snacks, quite jealous). By half time we were totally drenched, cowering under the umbrella with a big map of Vienna covering our laps. We had to leave poor Manon to her suffering on the boat to America and scarpered home.
I spent the next day on another free waking tour (this is a bit of a recurring theme in this trip so far), and then whiled away the afternoon exploring the old town and surroundings by bike. My Scottish constitution was really struggling with the heat…But worse was yet to come. As cheap and cheerful backpackers, we thought we would save some money by using the city bikes to get to the train station on the last day. It was 30 degrees. The train station was 6.7km away. And we each had about 13kg on our backs.
Hugo afterwards said, “it was just like cycling with a bag on your back.”
I would be more inclined to describe it as “cycling over sand dunes in a desert that is hotter than hell with a barrel of lead on my back.”
Here is the end result: