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Vienna, Austria

Two years ago, I met Basti while he was exchanging at USC and I mentioned I would let him know if I ever traveled to Austria and needed a local guide! The beginning of March, I decided to visit Vienna for a weekend where he is currently studying, and it was great catching up after all this time.

Thursday night when I arrived in the student housing, I met some of his friends (watching their version of America's Next Top Model), and Basti offered some delicious schwarzbrot (Austrian Rye bread) before I unpacked and got settled in for the rest of the trip.


I purchased a three-day travel card, and the first official morning we started off with exploring Mariahilfer Strasse, offering brand name stores, and Neubaugasse for the smaller shops. Although I didn't buy anything, it was nice walking around and enjoying the sun after coming from London!

All the streets in Vienna reminded me of less crowded Parisian streets.


We walked through Maria-Theresien-Platz on our way to lunch, and in this public square is the Kunsthistorisches Museum (Art History Museum) and the Naturhistorisches Museum (National History Museum). These two impressive buildings are nearly mirror images of each other, and in the center is a monument of Empress Maria Theresa.

The National History Museum.

The Art History Museum.

We got lunch at Le Bol, a French Restaurant that Basti recommended, and we both got his favorite salad, the Monsieur Seguin. It had the perfect combination of fruits (kiwis, pears, figs, etc.) and greens, and the goat cheese is to die for. I also tried a pomegranate beer and although I don't enjoy beer, I really enjoyed this one.


Afterwards we decided to check out the Austrian National Library for the State Hall. However, at first we had mistaken the impressive building we saw (pictured below) to be our destination.

Despite it's grandiose exterior, this is a multiple-story study area.

After being thoroughly confused, we eventually ended up at The State Hall around the corner.


Despite the simple exterior, we were blown away once we went inside.

I only wished that we could peruse the book stacks; they seemed to go on forever.


It was one of Basti's friends' birthday celebration, but before we bought drinks for the party, we went to the Freyung Passage.

Inside I bought some chocolate from Xocolate. My favorite out of the 4 pieces I got were the Rose, and surprisingly, Balsamic Vinegar truffle.

Afterwards I got currywurst at a local stand before the party.


Everyone was really friendly, and we talked about everything from politics, stereotypes and humor differences (Austrians are very sarcastic), the different school systems, and public transportation. One girl I met is even studying at USC next fall! I played foosball (and ended up scoring on myself once -- oops!), but we all laughed it off, and throughout the multiple games I played, I scored 5 goals overall (beginners luck?). We won at beer pong, and I learned after this night that Absinthe exists (~72% alcohol) -- Yikes! Although I don't have any photos from this event, I would say looking back it was one of my favorite experiences from this trip.


The next morning, we went to a flea market (where I got a shirt for 1 euro!), and Basti had me try a krapfen at the food market -- a jam (typically apricot) filled donut.

Basti with the krapfen.