My Schengen visa is good till December 12 of this year. I do want to use it again and in fact drew up several options — like back to Spain for a week’s camino with my apo but he refused, thinking it’s too much hard work (hiking), or going to Croatia, or Iceland, or Poland — places I haven’t been to — or visit a friend in Switzerland. All plans fizzled out. Then some of my friends invited me to join their small group on an “impulsive, whimsical” trip to Vienna, Budapest and Bratislava. Problem is they are leaving Manila while I’m still in Vietnam. So I did the next best thing. I booked a ticket flying to Vienna on the same day I’m arriving from Vietnam to catch up with them. Why not? Or as they say here, “wine not”?

I was very tired when I landed early morning in Vienna. I should have slept throughout the 12-hour flight from Taipei to Viena but flying solo makes me all too cautious and alert that I must have slept only 3 hours max. I found my friends ready to hit the city when I reached our hotel soon after they were done with breakfast. And so we set off. By 9am, they were eager for their Viennese coffee after only an hour of city walk. (I was keen on having a beer though — yes, at 9am!) – and so we sat down and ordered our preferences. πŸΊβ˜•οΈ

Since they got here earlier and covered the major Vienna attractions already, we planned on just a few more. It’s my 4th visit here so I don’t mind missing some of the sights. But I haven’t been to Belvedere Palace, so we did that. Plus a visit to the St. Stephen’s Cathedral. πŸ™πŸ»

After Belvedere, St. Stephen’s and another pass of the Hapsburg Palace, we went in search for a good lunch in the Naschmart. Then we headed back towards the hotel for some rest. By evening, we set off for the Rathaus where a musical concert is taking place and where a lively, festive mercato-type food court is set up. I love these summer concerts and food camps. Dinner was an assortment of Viennese, German, Hungarian and Slovak delicacies although we likewise spotted some Asian food stalls. Here, we had our wine, spritzer and beer. Plus assorted sausages, meatloaf, and whatever else we spotted in the next table! It was crowded and we were lucky to get a table. No chairs. But we’re just too happy with our drinks, pica pica and music that we can’t complain.

Since the musical concert wouldn’t start yet and we’re done with dinner, we decided to make good use of our time. The coffee and pastry shop at the corner beckoned. It was time for iced coffee, lattes, sacher torte and apple strudel. We picked a good spot to people-watch that we had to struggle getting up and out to claim our seats in front of the Rathaus for the musical concert.

While my friends stayed 3 nights in Vienna, I only managed a night. No worries. I’m really more keen on the trip’s 2nd leg: Budapest in Hungary. So, the next day we geared up for the train ride to Budapest. Watch this page!