The train journey from Prague to Vienna was little over 4 hours and it was very comfortable. We had taken the precaution of reserving the seats by paying an additional charge of just 3 euros per head and it was worth it because this was peak tourist season and while the train was quite empty when we boarded it, soon all seats had filled up and there were a significant number of travelers left standing.
This RailJet train was also much better than the Eurocity that we had taken from Berlin to Prague. I had booked these tickets at www.oebb.at/en at very reasonable prices.
Once we landed at Wien Hbf, it took us about 10 minutes to figure out the transport to our hotel. It was just couple of stops by train. At the hotel, I was a bit disappointed to not receive the upgrade but I really liked the big lounge they had in the opposite building.
The weather was still hot, so we stayed in for a while and enjoyed the complementary wine before taking a train to Stephansplatz to see the St. Stephen's Cathedral - one of the most important Gothic structures in Austria. Just like Berlin, Vienna also has an extensive train/subway transport system. I was surprised to find that Google maps again was not a reliable option to find the best route between two points and hence I started using the downloaded version of the Vienna's transport map.
The moment we stepped out of the station, the Cathedral was just there...a magnificent building in the middle of a very busy square. There were throngs of couples and families enjoying the early evening breeze. There were horse carriages and street performers and lots of shopping avenues around the Cathedral, overall a very lively atmosphere.
|Notice the tiled roof|
After spending some time inside the Cathedral, we circled around to look at this massive structure from all angles. Over the centuries, soot and other forms of air pollution accumulating on the church have given it a black colour but it is still beautiful. The glory of St. Stephen's Cathedral is its ornately patterned, richly coloured roof covered by thousands of glazed tiles.
There are also a lot of fixtures on the outside walls - one of them is the Capistran Chancel, the original cathedral's main pulpit inside. This statue shows St. Francis under an extravagant sunburst, trampling on a beaten Turk.
It was late in the evening now and we were a bit hungry so we decided to visit Naschmarket. This 1.5 km long market has around 120 market stands and restaurants for a colorful culinary offering ranging from Viennese to Indian, from Vietnamese to Italian. Again we took the subway and were there in almost no time. It was a bit of walk from the station to the market but the weather had cooled down and we were enjoying this stroll.
We walked from one end of the market to the other, soaking in the ambiance of it all before we decided to sit down for a beer and a small meal. Almost everyone was hanging out on tables outside on the market road. The layout was such that there were eating joints on either side of the market road which was barely 30 ft wide - resulting in very limited space between the tables of the two opposing joints.
While we waited for our food, we enjoyed the antics of a dog on the other side. It seemed very bored with it's master's attempts at "impressing" the lady with him. At first the dog was sitting on the road, then it apparently got tired and lied down on the road...some time later it decided that it deserves a chair, so climbed on it and finally dozed off there!
Sated with the food and drinks, we resumed our walking tour of the market and when we were sure that we have seen it all, we boarded the subway back to our hotel.