After spending my first night in Vienna having a walk through the old town, I met up with Josh and Wendy, some friends from New Zealand. They were staying with Yara, their friend from Austria who lives in Vienna. The four of us spent the next couple of days doing a bit of sightseeing, eating lots of delicious food and drinking Austrian beer.

Before we met for lunch on the first day, I spent a couple of hours going through the Kunsthistorisches Museum. It’s a big three story building close to the Hofburg Palace, filled with a whole lot of art and historical artifacts. I only spent 2 hours there since I was meeting the others for lunch but it’s a huge collection which would take half a day to get through properly. Some of my favorite exhibits were the intricate ivory sculptures which filled a while room, the detailing on them is pretty incredible.

After meeting up for lunch at a cafe, Yara took us out to watch her local rugby team play in a derby match against their rivals. It didn’t go well for the Celtics and they ended up getting thrashed, but hey there was cheap beer so can’t complain. Next up was a visit to Yara’s friends who have a really cool little apartment which includes a rooftop terrace, so we spent a couple of hours enjoying the nice weather up there. We finished off the day at an Austrian pub where Josh and I tried the currywurst, which we both really enjoyed.

The next day we visited the Schonbrunn Palace just out of the central city, it was the summer home of the Royal Family. As I was staying in a different place we decided it would be easier to just meet “in front of the palace” at a set time, it was only after arriving that I realized that we should have been a bit more specific. The front courtyard is huge and filled with hundreds of people, luckily enough Josh spotted me within a minute of arriving.

Not wanting to wait in the the three hour line to get inside the palace, we decided to go for a walk through the gardens and up that hill behind. These grounds are really big and well maintained, very cool hedges and statues line each side and at the end of the main gardens there is a big fountain. We spent an hour of so wandering through the park being photographed from all angles by Yara.

Inside the grounds of the Schonbrunn Park there is a zoo which Wendy wanted to go to, and it turned out to be one of the best zoos I’ve visited. Really big enclosures and there seemed to be a lot to do for the animals, I was very impressed. The ground that the zoo covers seems to go on forever, we spent roughly three hours there and still didn’t see everything. I didn’t manage to get a photo, but without a doubt the highlight for most of us was watching a monkey clean the goats which were in its’ enclosure. It would groom each goat individually before moving on to the next one, the goats seemed to be loving it.

After doing a lot of walking that morning we decided to go get a coffee and have a break. So we visited a place called Neko Cafe where they have several cats wandering around the room which you can pat. Quite a cool place, most of the cats were pretty friendly and seemed happy to be getting some attention. Luca in particular was getting many pats because of his fluffiness.

On the last night there Yara took us over the river to Prater Park, an amusement park pretty much right in that city. We didn’t expect much but were all surprised at how big it was. We spent a couple of hours walking through the park watching Josh play the claw games. Then Josh and I decided to go on a ride and chose one which didn’t look too bad (I think we only saw the very end of the ride). What followed was several minutes of being spun quickly around upside down, which we seemed to have conveniently missed seeing in the previous ride. It was extremely fun, should maybe have a few less beers before next time.

Overall I’ve had a great time in Vienna with Josh, Wendy and Yara. We’ve done lots of great things that I never would have known about if it wasn’t for our local guide.

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