ARCHIVES | VIENNA (or, that time i slept in a bus for a weekend, pt.1)

At the time, it seemed like a great idea. And a bargain.

Three days, three cities, three countries--for 140 euros? (almost) Everything included? My friends and I rushed to sign up, and on Thursday night, we lined up at the Busbahnhof in Mannheim to start our trip.

While Vienna, Budapest, and Bratislava are close together, they aren't that close together--and they're far from Germany. Which means that we spent a lot of time squished together like sardines, sleep deprived and squirming on a small coach bus. Before the trip started, I had never taken an overnight bus (*laughs hysterically*)--by the end of the trip, I fell asleep the minute I sat down. But honestly? I wouldn't change it for the world.

After a restless night on the bus spent cat-napping and crossing the border, I woke up to one watch the sun rise over the Alps, which still remains one of my most cherished memories of exchange. I had never seen mountains of that size, and the sky was a brilliant, vivid pink. I was exhausted, but forced my eyes to stay open. We had arrived in Austria.

A few hours later, we all stumbled off the bus, squinting in the sunlight at the elaborate, white buildings of Vienna. The trip included guided tours in each city, so we endured an hour or so of a passionate woman with an interesting accent, but the group was large and the content dull. Once the tour ended, we ate some schnitzel, checked out the Albertina, which was a great little art museum (10/10 would recommend), walked around, and ended with (possibly illegal) beers and a picnic in the park.

Overall, I wasn't super impressed with Vienna, probably because we only had, what, eight? 10 hours. Don't get me wrong--it's a beautiful city. Everything is grand, and white, and ornate. It reminds me of what Washington DC must look like. But I didn't find much character, or grit--the kind of stuff I love. So that night, after it had gotten dark, we boarded the bus again, and drove slowly out of the city, fighting the urge to fall asleep as we headed to our next destination--Budapest.

{to be continued}

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