Arriving and Transport
Me and my mum (who I persuaded to join me for the first couple days) arrived in Vienna airport at 10:30am. It was a short train ride into the centre of the city and a taxi ride with a lovely driver who acted as a tour guide to the OeAD office.
OeAD are an organisation for foreign students who need to find accommodation. They find halls throughout Austria that meet their standards. I luckily managed to find a room through them only a week before leaving the UK! Looking for a room privately turned out to be much more difficult than I’d expected and I was glad to have an organisation that I could trust offer me a room. They also talked me through the process of registering with the local authorities which is mandatory for anyone moving to Vienna.
The tram ride to my new home was a little confusing for us. We had no idea where to buy a ticket and after being assured that we could buy them on the tram, we accidentally got on the wrong carriage and ended up hitching a lift for free… (I have now learned that you can buy the tickets from machines at any of the main stations, and these tickets can be used on any form of transport including bus, tram and underground).
However, the journey had only been necessary because of our heavy luggage. My halls are on Kandlgasse, a mere 20 minutes walk from the centre of town! And you wouldn’t believe it if you saw the streets around — it is peaceful, quiet and fairly empty of traffic. Very different from London!
Once we had dropped my things off in my room, we went straight out to do a big shop of groceries and other essential things. There is both a Spar supermarket and a BioMarkt around the corner from my place. I have noticed that Spar is Vienna’s number one supermarket with one on nearly every street. Walking in to it, it seemed more like what we would consider an “organic market” or “health shop” in London — which basically means it has plenty of fresh and healthy options. I also fell in love with the BioMarkt as I’m both vegetarian and a ‘whole food’ slut. I found the biggest selection of tofu and tempeh that I’ve ever seen! As well there were vegan yogurts and cheeses (for anyone who has been told that vegans aren’t catered for in Vienna).
When we went back to start unpacking, I found my kitchen box and bedding had been left for me as part of the room deal. The kitchen box includes crockery, cutlery, pans, and a mix of other utensils. The only thing I have needed to buy extra is a tea towel to dry things. They had even supplied a fold up bed for my mum to sleep in!
During the day, me and my mum opted for the bakery up the road called Felzl (a chain cafe). They had a delicious assortment of baked loaves and sweet things. We had a slice of quiche each with free water from jugs filled with mint leaves and fruits.
In the evening we went a little further… to the next street over. We found an incredibly lovely restaurant called Schreiners which was part of a hotel and had a cute home-feel to it. The food was incredible! Both of us had a “fish soup” which when it arrived was not at all what we had expected from the word “soup”. There were three individual mini-steaks of fish: tuna, salmon, a white fish. Along with a king prawn. They were sat in an asian-inspired broth with spring onion, coriander and pay choi. Both me and my mum agreed that in a high end restaurant this meal would have been called something like “seasonal seafood in broth with garnish” but we were pleasantly caught off guard by the name. For dessert we tried Nougatknödels which are the classic sweet dumplings filled with chocolate and rolled in nougat! 🙂 Highly recommend!