over labour day weekend, i made a trip to Vienna via Bratislava. it was good and i spent about $600 SGD for the 4 days inclusive of flights and lodging. not too bad i guess. ;) for our first night, we were staying at Wombat Hostel Vienna - The Base. it is a very nice and affordable hostel. the staff were very friendly, interior very cozily decorated and they had nice people staying there as well. if we had a choice, we would want to stay there the next night as well, but while we were there, we got to know 2 other friendly girls, one from montreal and the other from australia. we were chating over the champions league game that was showing, liverpool & barcelona, and ended up competiting who knew the world map better by drawing it out. and on the wall, there was this "Hall Of Fame" where all those who forgot to retreive back their ID cards were displayed. and if you click on the picture to view the higher resolution one, you can see a singapore's driving license. well, someone's paying $50 to make a new one... :P
while we were travelling around the city, i was amazed at how they ran their transport system. there weren't any barriers for the entry into the train stations except a few blue punch slot for you to punch your tickets if you just bought your tickets. you could buy daily or seasonal tickets, punch it the first time, and just walk in subsequently without tapping or punching your card. same for buses, of which you could enter or alight at any of the doors. there are conductors who do random checks though, but i didn't meet any while i was there. and as a law-abiding citizen, i faithfully bought my tickets. ;)
the next day we went about the city area, checking out the museums and the architecture. it's a lovely place and everything there seems so old and well preserved. it's like going back to another time frame. but not only are the buildings there old, there people there seem old too and i hardly see any local youths around.
it's the rise of the aging population. and in the evening, fazli suggested that we should catch an orchestra since we're here. and i couldn't agree more! coming from a classical background, orchestras and symphonies have always been one of my favourite activites to attend. and so we bought ourselves a ticket to catch the orchestra at the schonbrunn palace. and they are REALLY good. magnificient! and here's the friendly guy who sold us the tickets which we managed to get 1 euro off each after some bargaining.
during that night, we stayed at Airo Tower Hotel. we had a bad experience staying at that hotel.
although it was located quite far away from the city, having to take the train to the end of the line, then switching to a tram and travel to the end of the line again, it was rather near the tram station (3min walk).
as we arrived there in the night, we were told that 1 of the 2 rooms which we have booked and fully paid for, have been transferred to a nearby hotel instead as they ran out of rooms for the night. despite them making arrangements to call for a cab and paying for the trip to and fro, we found it extremely unprofessional as we have already made the full payments for the rooms. the staff behind the counter wasn't emphatic about our situation and even retorted that we could choose to sleep on the streets if we're still unhappy when all the necessary arrangements have been made. and after fazli & indra went over to the nearby hotel, they only gave them 1 room with 1 bed when there were 2 of them and the reception was closed there. they had to call us and we in turn called up our reception to get another room for them there. though the rude staff apologized for his bad attitude, but it was an unpleasant experience staying there. the staff at the souvenir store wasn't too friendly either. he was unhappy that we touched the display glass infront of his shop that left A (ONE) fingerprint mark on it and told us not to do that. this is one crappy hotel and i had to pay 17 euros more as compared to wombat. i'll take wombat anytime man!
the next day, we went to check out the graves of the famous composers, some sightseeing and then we headed off to bratislava via a ferry down the danube river.
bratislava was a small city, nothing really much to see. but the trip to devin castle was extremely breath taking. it was only in the last 2 hours that we learnt about the castle from the brochures and tourist stall owners that decided to rush there to check it out, despite it required a 30min bus journey there. upon arriving, we literally ran up the castle as we were really tight on time, but the trip there was totally worth it. it is situation out of the city on a hill, overlooking the village below on 1 side and danube & morava river on the other (which seperates slovakia & austria). an absolutely lovely view!
after that, we had to rush to the airport to catch out flight back to stockholm. and that was my vienna & bratislava trip. check more photos on my facebook or multiply.