Felt tired all day – after that early start, I guess – but reached Vienna after only one little circuit in the outskirts of the town itself, where a sign pointed the WRONG way. I had fish and chips in a hotel en route – there was a huge amount, which sort of made up for the larger amount I was paying. I cycled along most of the Marchfeldkanal and felt befuddled by the sheer size of Vienna. I had a hearty bean soup and Apricot smoothie at Café/restaurant Theo near Franz-Josefs-Kai (alongside the little Danube Canal) whilst looking for a place to stay on the macbook (what would I do without it?) – and found the wonderful Wombat’s Hostel next door to the Naschmarkt.
Riding to Wombat’s was amazing – I love the graffiti in town – serious graffiti all along the railway arches. There are some fabulous artists around. I ride past huge monuments and pedestrianised squares with the surrounding buildings all lit up with a frieze of lights. Vienna is pomp and majesty – the buildings like rows of decorated cakes – a feast to look at.
Wombat’s Hostel comes highly recommended by me, if you’re ever in town – and they can now be found in London as well as other European cities. There is a 24hour reception – and the desk was heaving when I got there, even at 11pm. The staff were young and enthusiastic, helpful, knowledgeable and friendly. The rooms themselves (and I was in a 6 bed dormitory) were clean and spacious and nicely laid out with a locker included. There’s the usual hostel stuff of making your own bed, stripping it in the morning – and the hostel makes its money by charging a basic, no frills rate and then adding extra if you want a towel, or breakfast or similar – but I can live with that. Wifi was free (or WLAN as they call it in Deutsch), as was leaving luggage and the bicycle while I went off to explore. I like the ambience and the concept: there was a lot of cushioned platforms downstairs with plugs for laptops and phones. (I laughed when I looked around when I came downstairs in the morning – EVERYONE had their smartphones out and were tapping away). The ‘Wombar’ next door to this lounging area had a pool table and drinking games – even at midnight, there was a game of giant jenga going on and the place was packed.
I plan to stay in Vienna a couple days to rest and sightsee again.