First post of 2014!! I hope everyone had a great start to 2014 so far!
Sorry this post had been post-poned for so long, but with all the travelling and post-holiday homework and assignments I’ve had, I’ve barely had time to sleep! (If you guys are following me on Instagram, you can check out photos of my recent travels to Vienna, Bratislava and Budapest. And if you haven’t already, check me out at Michelle in Europe!)
So back to New Years! Having spent last New Years in Heidelberg, I knew this year, I wanted to go somewhere outside Germany. And being in Europe, choosing where to go was that much harder since so many countries are only a short train or flight away.
Ironically, despite wanting to spend New Years outside Germany, and having a huge number of countries within my reach, I ended up going to the most German-like, non-German country in Europe …Austria! Or more specially, in Vienna.
I have to admit, my first impressions of Vienna fell short of my expectations. Taking the bus/train there a few days before New Years Eve, it seemed like every twenty-something around me talked about how amazing it will be for NYE there, which made me super excited – the parties! and more parties! parties everywhere!!!
And the fact that one of my favourite actors, Christoph Waltz is Austrian, gave me the impression that Austrians were all as charming as he is.
Needless to say, my initial bad impression of Vienna began at the hostel me and the bf stayed at on our first night. There’s a popular hostel chain in Europe called the AO Hostels. If you live in Europe you’ve probably heard or at least seen them since they’re almost always located right next to a train station.
The thing about AO hostels is that unless you want to be in a hostel surrounded by families and children, I would stay far, far away. There’s some chain hostels I love like Wombats in Europe and BASE in Australia, but AO is definitely not one of them. For one thing, they just love charging you for every little thing. Linen? 3 euros. Paying by credit card? 4 euros. Wifi? 5 euros. And the list goes on. And if adding up all the extra expenses wasn’t exhausting enough, you’ll probably end up awkwardly sharing a room with some family.
Me and Yann had the great displeasure of being put into a room with three Russian ladies, all of whom seemed to enjoy hanging up their panties around the room. It felt like they’ve lived there for ten years, since every available space in the room was taken up by their stuff. The worst part was whenever we left the room, they would try to steal our stuff! The bf almost lost our deposit for our locker because we briefly left the room, and one of the ladies had stolen the lock and hid it in her purse!
Our first night out in the city wasn’t the best either, when we somehow walked through the sketchiest part of town into the city centre. Sure the city centre was pretty, but somehow I wasn’t that impressed by it. It felt a lot like Munich actually…only with rude people.
Luckily, things got a lot better when my friend Cherry returned to Vienna from her Christmas holidays, and we stayed with her for the rest of our time in Austria. Being one of my closest friends in Mannheim, it was so exciting to see her again and to party together for NYE. And to make it even better, my American friend Tania was on a Eurotrip, and after a failed Munich/Regensburg meet up, we planned for her to join us in Vienna for NYE!
Being the foodies that we are, one of the first things we did was go for some authentic Austrian schnitzel at Figlmüller, the oldest schnitzel restaurant in Vienna. One thing that’s impossible to avoid at Figlmüller is the huge lineups…I don’t think anyone ever leaves Vienna without going here at least once! Because it was NYE, we waited for almost an hour before we got a table, but I have to say, the schnitzel there made it well worth it!
And while in Vienna, it’s hard to pass up on all the sweets they offer, such as having coffee and cake at a Viennese cafe. We went to Cafe Central, which has an amazing interior, but I have to admit, it certainly lacked the coziness I imagined Vienna cafes to have. For one thing, the place was so busy that once we finished our drinks and cake, the waiter give us the bill immediately so that the next group of people can come and have our table.
On the plus side, it was the first time I tried Sachertorte, which is a chocolate cake with apricot jam and icing. It’s a Viennese specialty, and it’s definitely up there with my favourite cakes (although nothing will top my beloved cheesecakes!!)
Our actual NYE was a crazy mix of events, which started with us going to house party with a bunch of rich Austrians. House party isn’t the right word either…more like a huge mansion on a hill party which I’ll admit was pretty cool. That was followed by an expensive club called Platzhirsch, where they played the most horrendous electro music, and with their relaxed smoking rules, it felt like everyone at that club was trying to burn you with their cigarettes that they waved around.
Finding our way back home was a challenge that night (or I guess more accurately that morning) as a lot of buildings that looked like metro stops actually ended up being underground clubs. When we did figure out our way home, a huge fight erupted on the metro between four very large, sketchy guys. The whole time, it felt like it was going to end in a bloody gunfight, so we feared for our lives slightly on the metro ride home.
And that pretty much sums up my NYE! Was it the best NYE I’ve had? Definitely not. Then again, everyone tends to overhype their NYE plans so that most of the time, our actual NYE falls short of expectations. It certainly was the most memorable NYE I’ve ever had, and it was great spending it in the company of good friends. Cheers to that!
Where were you guys on NYE and how did you celebrate it?