From Budapest, we took a 2 hour, 45 minute bus ride to explore Vienna for a day (only about 15€ roundtrip!). One day was definitely too short for such an amazing city, but it gave us an amazing preview of the things in store for us when we return someday. One of the first things we did as soon as we got off the bus was check out some amazing graffiti art that we fatefully came across as we crossed a bridge above the Danube River. The walls running along the banks of the river were completely covered.
As we were exploring the city, I spotted a window with a quirky display. Of course, at the first thought of “pastries!!” I had to go in. We opened the heavy doors to be greeted with a thick, dark red velvet curtain. We pulled it aside and entered Hofzuckerbäckerei Demel, which happens to be a famous pastry shop and chocolatier in Vienna, founded in 1786.
My childhood was full of music–I began playing piano at age 5, picked up the violin at age 9, and later moved on to the flute and cello. I grew up learning about the lives of the greats: Bach, Beethoven, Handel, Vivaldi, and of course, Mozart. This was my earliest exposure to my fascination for Europe and its enriched history. So it isn’t a surprise that Vienna, Austria, also known as the City of Music, was a place I have always dreamed of visiting. Once home to Mozart, Hadyn, Strauss, and Beethoven, I always wondered how enchanting the city must have been to inspire such great composers and musicians.
The next day, we returned to Castle Hill to see what it was like during the day. We were able to explore a lot more of the hill since we got there early in the morning. Everything was so different in the day time! We were able to see all the colors of the facade and the details in the architecture. Quick interesting fact: The Hungarian Royal Family actually never lived in the royal palace! It was more of a symbol, a pseudo home. We also walked over to the Vienna Gate, which leads to the courtyard of the National Gallery as well as some gorgeous, sweeping panoramic views across the Danube River. The morning haze still hung low across the buildings, making everything seem almost like a dream.
The views from above were like none other, as the castle sits 48 meters above the Danube River and looks out onto the Pest side of Budapest. The sky was crystal clear–you can even see a sliver of the moon in the photo above! We were able to see all of the bridges, Parliament, and even St. Stephen’s Basilica from the balconies of the castle. It was such a beautiful, romantic spot.