Super random, but I was quite surprised that KFC in Austria were served in pretty paper plates, and sells yummy garlic mayo. Yep, it wasn't free. By pretty, i mean hideously-laminated-&-massively-repeated-logo plates. It was one of the KFC along the highway before we reached the city. On the first day, we checked into our biggest Airbnb. I think it's the biggest flat I've rented till date. Mom was super pleased. The apartment has high fluffy beds, a huge living room space and 2 bathrooms. Great when you're traveling in a large group. However there was only one WC. From the results of my googling. The apartment has german toilets. If you're not sure what is it, this would probably explain a lot. Basically, the toilet is shaped in way that it collects all your poop for inspection before flushing it. All of us were so not used to it and often exploded into crazy laughter whenever someone comes out from the loo.
We reached Vienna city quite late in the afternoon. Our Airbnb location wasn't central, it didn't really bother us as we drove around. We had a warm welcome from the owner who gave us lots of tips. He highly discouraged driving around the city because it wasn't easy to find a parking. However lady luck was with us, we got around fine. On the first day, we just randomly explored our neighborhood on foot and didn't really find anything interesting.
Fresh new day after a comfty rest in fluffy beds, we left for the Schönbrunn Palace early. Since we were told that it was extremely difficult to find parking, which turned out fine in the end. There were indeed a lot of people. Lots of touring busses, a huge long queue to get the tickets— which we ended up not buying the Palace tour ticket. We decided to drop the Palace visit and explored the gardens. Even then, 1 day tour isn't enough. The gardens are huge, there was a zoo that took up a huge portion as well and we didn't have enough time to cover everything, much less the Palace. So if you plan to see everything, you'd probably need 2 days.
The weather's perfect! Maybe a little too warm to stay under the sun for too long. I assure you, I've got sun burns all over my shoulder, even my feet got toasted pretty bad. Luckily, there were a couple of ice cream truck / corners so you can stay chilled and hydrated. Plus seriously, those Oreo sticks were super worth the calories :P
Food wise, since we didn't really explore the Palace side, which I am sure would have more food options. We were already pretty far out in the gardens by lunch. The simplest option was to dine at the only restaurant located at the Gloriette. The food was very plain and average, not really something I thought they'd serve in such an amazing place. Or maybe there were too many people. Opting to be sitted inside gives you a superb view of the building and the panoramic view.
There's not only 1 garden, but many
Which means access to certain gardens are not free. We didn't buy any package since we did not visit the Palace. So we took individual garden tickets. The cost of a ticket vaires from 3 to 6€.
I went in to the Privy garden for 3,80€ which I thought wasn't really worth it. A fee to the gardeners who takes care of the place perhaps? There wasn't much to see, besides walking under mossy tunnels. However there's a little elevated stage which allows you to have an overview of the "backyard" of the palace.
I've also paid another 3,80€ for the Orangery Garden which was even more disappointing. Walking areas were very limited, you couldn't really get upclose to any lemons either. I hardly saw any oranges either.
I was looking forward to the Maze, but it was much smaller than I expected. There's 3 different mazes and the ticket for the entrance is around 5,50€. And no surprises, it was flooded with quite a lot of children.
If you don't mind the sun,
this could be a perfect picnic spot
Life is a maze
Don't just gaze,
Change your pace,
to win the race
By late afternoon, we finally reached the Palm House Gardens but everyone was tired and no one was interested to go in. It was another ticket to purchase and my parents were definitely bored of seeing more plants. So I could only peek through the front door.
Oh do take note, if you're a student, please don't forget to bring your student ID! No pass no discount. I met some not so friendly cashier when my brother was fishing for his ID while I tired to pass myself as a student. Clearly it didn't work. It wasn't as simple as the Mucha Museum in Prague! And that's it for the Palace.
The next stop I headed to the Belvedere Museum to check out Gustav Klimt's exhibition. Only Jean and I went. Klimt was one of the artist that I enjoyed when I was studying. I had to do some artworks inspired by him, thought I have no idea where are my own works now ;) Anyway, if I hadn't mention Belvedere Museum, you may mistaken the building above as part of the Schonbrunn Palace. All of these iconic buildings seems to look quite a like.
The period I visited the place, they had some renovations going on. The museum was split into Upper Belvedere and Lower Belvedere. (Omg, typing so much Belvedere constantly reminds me of the vodka :P) The Lower Belvedere was under construction and we arrived quite late; so the lady at the counter recommended us to simply visit the Upper Belvedere where all their main collection and Klimt's collection were at. It took us an hour to see everything. I didn't take a lot of photos either, I was too pre-occupied looking at the artworks and studying the detail.
*** Don't forget your student IDs for discount!
That's it for Vienna! Everything's relatively cheaper than France. I'm sure it's could be a good city for upcoming shopping trips. Till then! Cya!