First, I flew to Frankfurt through Paris with Delta and actually had a good food experience. They gave me a grilled chicken salad, a breakfast sandwhich, full waterbottles and a few snack boxes. I was actually fairly impressed. In Frankfurt I actually did not leave much time to switch flights and had to do a long transfer from terminal 1 to 2, but I made it onto my flight to Vienna no problem.
My plane touched down in Vienna and Johannes was there to meet me. He had driven from his house to pick me up from the airport and it was a real story book moment.
We first returned to his house where I met his sweet mother Barbara and we took some time to get me all settled in. After I rested for a bit, we ate some really good chili that his mother made and then for some reason we decided it was a good time to climb.
So Johannes led me through the forrest behind his house…. to end up at local climbing gym. The walls were pretty tall maybe up to 60-70 ft and I was a bit out of shape for such long routes, but it was nice to meet a few of his other climbing friends and of course see his friend ArMin, who I met in Thailand this last fall.
Day One in Vienna
Johannes made me a simple yogurt and fruit breakfast with a large mocha like coffee before we headed out to see the city.
University of Wien- Hallway
University of Wien- Library
We stated by visiting a smaller cathedral with two towers near the university called “Votivkirche.” Next we saw the parliament building, the town center and the inside of some of the University of Wien. The university was not like anything we have in MN. It was a very aesthetically pleasing building with beautiful pillars and historic sculptures lining all the hallways, the library even looked a bit like Hogwarts with books lining the walls and the students studying at long tables with yellow and green lights at each chair.
At about two we meet Johannes’ father Rudolf for lunch at a local restaurant with Austrian food. Where Johannes and I got tradition Schnitzel & Apfelstrudel. The Schnitzel was good.. but there was no way I could finish it on my own. It was huge maybe about double the size of my face. I also really enjoyed the Austrian style potato salad that was made without the mayo– traditionally what americans use.
Vienna Town Center
Vienna- History and Art Museums
Following lunch we headed to the famous Stephanscathedral. We first looked inside and then went up the top of the tower.. 323 steps! It was a bit tiring, but not too bad and the view of vienna at the top was absolutely worth it. After this we took time to buy a large supply of Mannerschnitten & Mozartkugeln (exotic austrian chocolate- according to Johannes). Then we took some time to walk around the Hofburg (winterresidence of the kaiser) and the two main museums near the city center, before finally heading to our final destination of the famous Prater. The prater is a large red rotating indoor fair wheel structure that was actually the first of its kind.
After this we headed back to the house just in time for a goulash style meal made by Johannes’ mother. It was really good, I especially like th large bread dumplings.
Bright and early we headed off to the Schöenbrunn Palace (summerresidence of the kaiser). We went up the hill behind palace and took time walking through the gardens and then went into the Vienna Zoo on the palace grounds.
There we spent a lot of time and the highlights were obviously the pandas and the adorable koala bears!
VIENNA ZOO inside Schöenbrunn grounds
Penguin feeding time
monkey is chill
After the zoo we headed to an asian restaurant near the palace and ate way too much pretty good food. Following that we went inside the castle and learned about its history. Who lived there, what it was like long ago and just a bit more about Austria in general. I thought it was quiet nice and after this sadly enough another day had passed.
Being good student and all, Johannes and I started our day out studying that morning.
Then about noon we headed out to the city. First we met up for coffee with some of Johannes’ friends from climbing Sara and Lukas. We just sat for a while and chatted got to know each other a little bit. They were really very nice and it was fun to meet some of Johannes’ friends other than ArMin 🙂
Following coffee we head to see the ART museum in vienna suggested by my great friend from DU Danielle and it was very nice.
That night Johannes’ family was nice enough to take me out to a Croatian restaurant they are very fond of for a really delicious meal of fresh seafood.
Monday morning we awoke early and Johannes’ mom drove us to a station to take the subway before getting on the 4 hr train to Prague. We didn’t allow a ton of extra time, but made sure to take the needed stops for food and drinks. We got a pastry called topfele and a bacon/parmesan bread, as well as a smoothie and matacha latte. On the train, we slept first and then did some studying for our courses. Around 1400 (2pm) we made it to Prague and the train dropped us off in the middle of the city.
The nice hotel near the city center and the famous astronomical clock. It was about a 15-20 min walk from the station and very convenient. The views of just the buildings all around were beautiful. After we made it to the hotel we got some traditional food. We had a huge piece of Prague ham and a traditional dish called “Hûlskty..??” a great combination of cabbage, potatoes and bacon.
Next we headed out to the Vyshard Fortress recommended by my friends Danielle and Taylor who both spent a semester abroad in Prague. We went up the back of the fortress and ended up in a beautiful park. We got directions from sweet woman in the info booth that didn’t speak english and ended up in a graveyard by the church.
The Vyshard church was very old beautiful. We took a look inside and found a large array of incredible gold artifacts there along with the breathtaking stained glass windows. Following the church, we continued our journey along the edge of the fortress with great views of the city and the famous old Prague castle.
Later that night we went out for delicious tacos and of course stopped at a few shops to get a few mementos to bring home.
Tuesday we started our day out early and had an incredible breakfast at our Hotel Lippert 🤗 Johannes’ father told us it was good and he was 100% right. There was a nice variety of both cold and hot food, juice and coffee.
Day two in Prague we went across the famous Charles bridge. On the bridge we took time admiring the many religious statues that lined the railing. The most significant being the statue of Joseph of Nepomuk who was killed on that exact spot for concealing the confession secrets and keeping his vows of silence.
Tram up the mountain.
After this we took a nice little mountain style tram up the hill to the elevation of the castle. We first went to the top of a watch tower on the hill to get another great view of the city. Then we went into an old mirror maze for johannes. It ended up being quite small, but still nice.
We then made our way to the castle and stopped into a miniature museum. This museum has a large variety of art smaller than you could imagine possible. Each piece had either a magnifying glass or microscope to see the detail. Here we saw the smallest microbook in the world, along with small camels inside the hole in a needle or a zoo on the antennae of a mosquito.
Next, we stopped for lunch before heading into the castle and got a more traditional cezh meal of meat (duck/pork) with bread/potato dumplings! It was very nice.
Inside the castle we saw the:
St. Vitus Cathedral
Old Royal Palace
St. George’s Basilica,
Golden Lane with Daliborka Tower
St. Vitus Cathedral
St. Vitus Cathedral
St. Vitus Cathedral
St. Vitus Cathedral
St. Vitus Cathedral
St. George’s Basilica
After this we got another trdelink with fruit and ice cream, before meeting up with my friends from MN. The desert was very good!
We meet salil and beason at q bar called u supa. It was a bit smokey, but it was really huge. It was supposed to be cave like, so the atmosphere was dark and we sat upstairs for about an hr before we realized there was another 2 bars, foosball and 2x the seating downstairs 😳.
After the bar we headed with Salil, Mike and company to U Fleku a famous Czech restaurant that had lots of traditional food, good beer and a very upbeat atmosphere. There we had a really nice time drinking really nice dark beers and eating some traditional goulash meal.
Minnesotans at U Fleku
MN friend- Salil
Wednesday morning we took it slow, ate another delicious breakfast and then went into church by hotel where I actually saw a guy in Greenbay Packers sweatshirt! How Fun. After we headed up the Astronomical Clock Tower to see the views of the city. Along the way Johannes bought me a really special watch that has a similar design to the stained glass window on the front of the cathedral inside the castle.
Church by Hotel Lippert
view from Astronomical Clock
After the clock, we went back to the train station and made out way to vienna. That night we had dinner at a nice Italian restaurant Johannes likes that had traditional Austrian decor 🤗 There Johannes had me try the palachinke [thin pancake] soup which seemed a bit odd, but tasted nice! For the main meal got a cheese gnocchi pasta and a yummy pizza, after we just went back to the house and stayed in for the night.
THURS 03. 16
FINALLY We made it to SPA DAY.
We woke up at 640 took a nice photo with the almost all the kirchmayrs [johannes still has to sent me the photo], had breakfast, packed our bag and headed to the spa.
On the way we pulled over on the frontage road for a short crash course on driving stick, which went pretty ok. I am not a master forsure, but I could probably drive one if I had to. After we stopped at the local super market called Spar and I was surprised at how much was different. We bought fresh made sandwiches, juice and lots of new snacks for the therme spa.
St Martin’s Therme ❤
The rest of the day we spent at St.Martin’s Therme. We used the hot spring like pools, the steam baths, saunas and then just relaxed in these woven basket like pod/beds.
Ok, well actually on the way back from the spa we stopped at a really delicious restaurant outside the city that Johannes enjoys.
We spent the morning making breakfast and relaxing, before Johannes has to take me to the airport to fly to frnakfurt to meet deim mi and tobi.
I took a bus from the airport to Mannheim where Diem mi lives and we immediately got lots of food: a huge pizza and salad. Then we went back to the apartment to prepare for Diem Mi’s birthday party. Her really nice friend Coco came over with strawberries and helped us make puff pastry snails. Soon after her guest arrived a large mixture of friends from Singapore, university and a few odd balls all came to celebrate Diem Mi’s birthday with her.
REUNITED with Diem Mi!
Lotta and Max
TOBI made it
As we all know europeans party later than we do.. so at about midnight I wanted to go to bed.. but at 2am we obviously headed for the german club for a bit before heading to bed. What a long day!
Morning the next day was a bit rough, but we went to a vietnamese place and had delicious food. We went to see the palace, which is also Diem Mi’s University. After seeing campus, we got some Irish cream coffee at a cute local shop often frequented by students
Watertower in Mannheim
Church in Mannheim
Then we wandered around the city some more and went into a church or two, saw the nice old water tower and got some waffles from a european candy store. Finally we headed to rest at the apartment again just catching up on each other’s life before getting chicken salad, nachos and iced tea at “cafe vienna” – a common student pub/restaurant. 🤗
Skype Date -Chiara
Later that night we skyped Chiara before bed for a long while and reminisced about our incredible Singapore adventures. Laughing and talking like no time has passed since we were all together.
Sunday we headed to Heidelberg with TOBI. Diem mi and I took the train and met Tobi in the town. The place was really quaint the streets were small and the history was endless. When we first arrived I was hungry.. so we stopped in a Snowball shop and got this type of snowball shapped pastry/cookie. It was simple, but really nice. Then we walked along the streets, met up with tobi and got lunch at a fancy Kepab Restaurant. It seemed similar to greek pita sandwiches, but it is a turkish sandwich on soft puffed bread. Regardless, very good and reasonably priced.
After lunch we went up to the castle on the hill and took a look around. We saw the old castle structure, as well as the huge wine barrel inside and the nice little pharmaceutical museum.
Following this we took a look a the nice bridge over the river and got a coffee at a local coffee shop near one of the churches within the city. Then Tobi drove us to Diem Mi’s place. I got my things and left Diem Mi 😦 and headed off with Tobi to his place in Frankfurt. We arrived at Tobi’s met his roommates who were very nice and made a nice simple dinner. Tobi had just moved to Frankfurt very recently before so I was really nice of him to let me stay on his couch so soon! The next morning MON 3.20 I took a flight back to the MSP, with a short layover in Detroit.