Tuesday, 19 March 2013

Stumbling Upon Vienna

 You Have Turn the Wrong Way – Re-Routing Destination

As I sat in the train bound for Vienna this small voice repeated in my head like the robotic voice of a GPS computer in a car when you made a wrong turn. I have detoured from my eventual aim of Prague or rather I have procrastinated going there.

Reasons for detours could be many but for me the main reason was because it was a cheaper train ticket to Vienna. Money rules the world … damn it … but for me as long as I am still on the road it doesn’t really matter. Save it for another day. Vienna was also recommended by Scruffy back when I was in Florence. One part of backpacking was the exchange of stories and the most loved place you have been to so far. Scruffy highly recommended Vienna and the cemetery there.

As we hear stories from people sometimes routes gets change just to see something that we were not aware of. This happen a lot to some travelers I met whom like me don’t plan their route. I however had a few goals to fulfill such as arriving in England for Christmas with my relative hence my route as crazy as it goes must head west somehow.

I was now heading east …


Vienna was not on my radar and frankly I had no idea what to expect there other than this cemetery wonder that Scruffy recommended. A bit weird to visit a cemetery as a tourist destination I thought. Vienna was a lovely big city which I had started to forgotten how city size should be like after traveling to small towns for some time. I stayed at the Chinatown sector of the city where the hostels were cheaper but still good.

Vienna Cathedral
Wombats City Hostel Vienna had a chain of them around the city and they ran it like a full bloom hotel. There were so many people in the hostel but everyone was busy with their own businesses to bother making friends. They had an idea to restrict internet access to only the lobby but it seam to backfire as everyone went there and retracted into comfy corners into their own cyber world.

The kitchen however became the best place to make friends. I for once had access to many Chinese grocery stores which was all within few blocks of the hostel. I bought a few instant noodles and a few meatballs at a painful price. I would have settled for spaghetti if I knew how expensive it was before buying. Still I had food for a few days down and kitchen became the hang out place.

I met two Korean girls whom like me were cooking instant noodles in the kitchen. I quietly enquire where they got em hoping I could perhaps stock up on cheap noodles. Alas they got them from Korea …… in huge boxes brought over when they came to Europe to study and resupplied by relative visiting or trips back during school holiday. They were on a weekend trip visiting Vienna from somewhere else and packed their own food knowing how expensive it was.

Another guy seeing us eating noodles chatted us up and small conversation sparked while he cooked his meal. He was a charming guy full of vigor trying his best to make lively conversation to three Asian people who was watching him like we don’t understand English. I was quite busy eating my noodles to reply but seeing the poor guy trying to hold the conversation I paused and asked him where he was from.

“I am from Vienna”, He said.

*Blink* ……………………….

I did not believe him at first until he explained his house was under renovation and he had temporary took up residence in a hostel. It cheaper than a hotel he said. Noodles filling my belly I told him my story of how I came to be in Vienna with no idea what to do other than looking for that cemetery wonder.

“Must be the central cemetery, It’s the biggest one in Vienna”, ViennaGuy said.

He did saw I was without any plans and proceeded to gave me tips for places to go and just like that I now had a rough idea of what to do in Vienna. Most of the activities I later found out were a no brainer as one can’t miss it visiting the city. The best advice however was the Vienna Boys Choir which he recommended waking up early on a Sunday morning and head over to the Hofburg Chapel for the Sunday masses.

Vienna Boys Choir

Vienna Boys Choir
The Vienna Boys Choir is one of the best known boys choir in the world and travel every year to many countries selling out concerts like hot cakes. Here I was ignorant there was such a thing like a renowned Boys Choir. I mean it was a Choir !! Still I woke up early on Sunday morning and attended masses. I am no Christian but this was not my first ceremony outside my own religion. Respect, appreciate and admire the beauty of every religion as long as they don’t sacrifice any virgins.

So for Cheap Thrills in Vienna, check out the Vienna Boys Choir for it was free whereby you would have to pay if they come to your country. They don’t sing in English but it was beautifully sung.

Certain things don’t need to be understood … just experience. I for one would think, even if you have heard them sing in some concert hall somewhere you should still check them out at Hofburg Chapel for I doubt any concert hall in the world could reproduce the same echo of the church interior walls.

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