The Good, Bad and the Ugly: NYE in Vienna

by Michelle on January 10, 2014 · 8 comments

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First post of 2014!! I hope everyone had a great start to 2014 so far!

Sorry this post had been post-poned for so long, but with all the travelling and post-holiday homework and assignments I’ve had, I’ve barely had time to sleep! (If you guys are following me on Instagram, you can check out photos of my recent travels to Vienna, Bratislava and Budapest. And if you haven’t already, check me out at Michelle in Europe!)

So back to New Years! Having spent last New Years in Heidelberg, I knew this year, I wanted to go somewhere outside Germany. And being in Europe, choosing where to go was that much harder since so many countries are only a short train or flight away.

Ironically, despite wanting to spend New Years outside Germany, and having a huge number of countries within my reach, I ended up going to the most German-like, non-German country in Europe …Austria! Or more specially, in Vienna.

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I have to admit, my first impressions of Vienna fell short of my expectations. Taking the bus/train there a few days before New Years Eve, it seemed like every twenty-something around me talked about how amazing it will be for NYE there, which made me super excited – the parties! and more parties! parties everywhere!!!

And the fact that one of my favourite actors ever, Christoph Waltz is Austrian, gave me the impression that Austrians were all as charming as he is.

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Needless to say, my initial bad impression of Vienna began at the hostel me and the bf stayed at on our first night. There’s a popular hostel chain in Europe called the AO Hostels. If you live in Europe you’ve probably heard or at least seen them since they’re almost always located right next to a train station.

The thing about AO hostels is that unless you want to be in a hostel surrounded by families and children, I would stay far, far away. There’s some chain hostels I love like Wombats in Europe and BASE in Australia, but AO is definitely not one of them. For one thing, they just love charging you for every little thing. Linen? 3 euros. Paying by credit card? 4 euros. Wifi? 5 euros. And the list goes on. And if adding up all the extra expenses wasn’t exhausting enough, you’ll probably end up awkwardly sharing a room with some family.

Me and Yann had the great displeasure of being put into a room with three Russian ladies, all of whom seemed to enjoy hanging up their panties around the room. It felt like they’ve lived there for ten years, since every available space in the room was taken up by their stuff. The worst part was whenever we left the room, they would try to steal our stuff! The bf almost lost our deposit for our locker because we briefly left the room, and one of the ladies had stolen the lock and hid it in her purse!

Our first night out in the city wasn’t the best either, when we somehow walked through the sketchiest part of town into the city centre. Sure the city centre was pretty, but somehow I wasn’t that impressed by it. It felt a lot like Munich actually…only with rude people. Did I mention how rude the people were? They definitely give Torontonians a run for the Worst People Alive award. (For one thing, people on the streets always somehow end up pushing you, and not apologize for it).

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Luckily, things got a lot better when my friend Cherry returned to Vienna from her Christmas holidays, and we stayed with her for the rest of our time in Austria. Being one of my closest friends in Mannheim, it was so exciting to see her again and to party together for NYE. And to make it even better, my American friend Tania was on a Eurotrip, and after a failed Munich/Regensburg meet up, we planned for her to join us in Vienna for NYE!

Being the foodies that we are, one of the first things we did was go for some authentic Austrian schnitzel at Figlmüller, the oldest schnitzel restaurant in Vienna. One thing that’s impossible to avoid at Figlmüller is the huge lineups…I don’t think anyone ever leaves Vienna without going here at least once! Because it was NYE, we waited for almost an hour before we got a table, but I have to say, the schnitzel there made it well worth it!

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sorry for the blurriness of the photo!

sorry for the blurriness of the photo!

look at the size of that schnitzel!

look at the size of that schnitzel!

And while in Vienna, it’s hard to pass up on all the sweets they offer, such as having coffee and cake at a Viennese cafe. We went to Cafe Central, which has an amazing interior, but I have to admit, it certainly lacked the coziness I imagined Vienna cafes to have. For one thing, the place was so busy that once we finished our drinks and cake, the waiter give us the bill immediately so that the next group of people can come and have our table.

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On the plus side, it was the first time I tried Sachertorte, which is a chocolate cake with apricot jam and icing. It’s a Viennese specialty, and it’s definitley up there with my favourite cakes (although nothing will top my beloved cheesecakes!!)

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Our actual NYE was a crazy mix of events, which started with us attending a house party with a bunch of rich Austrian kids. House party isn’t the right word either…more like a huge mansion on a hill party. That was followed by an expensive club called Platzhirsch, where they played the most horrendous electro music imaginable, and with their laxed smoking rules, it felt like every girl at that club was trying to burn me with their cigarettes (I even have two scars to prove it!). So I have to say I did my share of swearing and “revenge pushing” at some pratty girls that night.

Finding our way back home was a challenge that night (or I guess more accurately that morning) as a lot of buildings that looked like metro stops actually ended up being underground clubs. When we did figure out our way home, a huge fight erupted on the metro between four very large, sketchy guys. The whole time, it felt like it was going to end in a bloody gunfight, so we feared for our lives slightly on the metro ride home.

And that pretty much sums up my NYE! Was it the best NYE I’ve had? Definitely not. Then again, everyone tends to overhype their NYE plans so that most of the time, our actual NYE falls short of expectations. It certainly was the most memorable NYE I’ve ever had, and it was great spending it in the company of good friends. Cheers to that!

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yannmichelle

Where were you guys on NYE and how did you celebrate it?

{ 8 comments… read them below or add one }

Rika | Cubicle Throwdown January 11, 2014 at 2:10 am

Oh my gosh! That sounds like quite the not-super-awesome adventure 🙁 At least you were with your friends though! My NYE this year was so boring – the power went out and I was exhausted and had to work at 6:30am the next morning, so I just went to bed and slept right through it! Actually, it was the least stressful and most drama-free and cheapest NYE I think I’ve ever had 🙂

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Michelle Michelle January 17, 2014 at 4:32 pm

Aww I feel you…there was this one year when I had to work super early on New Years Day so I had a really chill NYE too. But you’re right, no stress, no drama and you don’t have to pay tons of money for a lousy party….that’s not a bad way to begin the New Year! 😀

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Mike January 11, 2014 at 5:27 am

Yikes, I’m sure sorry for that horrid hostel experience, Michelle! That had me feeling literally uneasy just readin your story about it! Hopefully you’re able to avoid those places in the future. And as far as NYE parties or any party period. When alcohol is involved there is always going to be problems and overmagnified issues. I would love to have your problem, “And being in Europe, choosing where to go was that much harder since so many countries are only a short train or flight away.” It’s great to hear from you our friend and we’re glad you are safe! 🙂

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Michelle Michelle January 17, 2014 at 4:34 pm

Hey Mike! Haha yea, from now on no more of those AO Hostels! They’re the worst. And very true…especially on NYE!!

And yea, it is a pretty good problem to have 😀

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Andreas Moser January 11, 2014 at 5:21 pm

I DID have an actual gunfight for New Year’s Eve. Heck, it was so violent, you could even call it a civil war: http://andreasmoser.wordpress.com/2014/01/03/video-blog-civil-war-in-palermo/

I miss the Austrian food.

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Michelle Michelle January 17, 2014 at 4:35 pm

Yea Austrian food is great! Luckily Austria’s only a short train ride away! And sounds like a crazy story! I’ll check it out!

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Agness January 18, 2014 at 4:15 am

I traveled a lot in Europe last year, but never heard of hostel chain called the AO Hostels. Thanks for sharing it. As a budget traveler, I want to know the total price before booking my room with no surprises and extra costs at my arrival. I’ve never been to Vienna, but at least the food made your day :P!!

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Michelle Michelle January 27, 2014 at 10:06 pm

Yea that’s true…I hate hidden fees!! I’d rather pay more upfront knowing that everything is inclusive. And the food there definitely made it worth it 😀

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