This blog consists of 3 parts, focussed on Prague, Austria & Bratislava, and Budapest respectively. Feel free to jump to the section of your choice.
The capital cities of Prague, Vienna & Budapest are often referred to as the Golden Triangle. And while little Bratislava often passes under the radar, it deserves attention during any visit to this area - for the welcoming people, if nothing else. In 11 days, we covered all these cities, AND a fascinating Austrian gem a.k.a must-visit, even though it took us beyond the triangle. This is Part 2 of the blog. To see Part 1 (Prague) click here.
Part 2 - Austria & Bratislava: For us, the trip comprised of two parts: city and the mountains.
Day 1 & Day 2 - If possible, we’d advise you to take a train straight to Halstatt, past Linz. This will allow you to stop by to see the city if you’d like. It depends on the time of the year because your trip really should revolve around the opening times for Krippenstein cable cars from Obertraun. What’s all this, you ask?
Hallstatt is considered one of the prettiest little towns in existence. A picture-perfect lake town, it’s a hidden gem that a lucky few have been able to visit. Like us, there is a good chance that you too might see yourself retiring here. Luckily, the train station is on the other side of the lake, which means not only do you get a jaw dropping view of rivers, lush greenery and snow-capped mountains to train-ride by, you also get to ride a boat on the pristine lake to the gates of the town. Take your time here, but make sure you’re back across the lake to catch the train to the very next stop (literally 2 minutes away) at Obertraun. Timing is key to catch one of the last cable cars going uphill. Two rides up will leave you top of the Austrian Alps, at Krippenstein. The day we arrived was the first day of the season (hence, the need to time our entire trip around this). If a lucky few get to Hallstatt, the luckier still get to Krippenstein.
This station is second of three stations on this route, with the final station leading to the Dachstein glacier. There is a lodge here for you to spend the night (highly recommended), and there are several hikes and paragliding options to take your breath away. Do read our dedicated blog on this part of the trip (because it deserves one of its own!).
Day 3 & Day 4 – It’s a 4-hour journey to Vienna which, to our own admission, did get a limited share of our itinerary. But we found that it was enough still. There’s a lot to do in Vienna, like in any major capital - the river side, Duomo and the shopping streets around this main cathedral being prime examples. Both the cathedral and the brand-laden streets surrounding it are worth lingering in. A few peculiar visits on our itinerary included a visit to the Schmetterlinghaus: The Imperial Butterfly Park, and a gentle walk down the street to the Sacher Hotel for their uber-famous Sachertorte - a classic Viennese cake that combines chocolate and jam in a heavily guarded original recipe invented by Austrian Franz Sacher in 1832 for Prince Wenzel von Metternich.
Across the street from the Sacher Hotel is the royal Vienna State Opera, worth a visit and even an opera show if it meets your taste. Mr. Fly and I went, tuxed and dressed respectively, to catch Fidelio, the only opera written by Beethoven. And in a classically loco fashion, we walked out of the regality to grab a falafel pita on a streetside bench at a little stall - oh, the memories!
Day 5 - The next day was Mr. Fly’s birthday and he of course planned it in a novel fashion. To put it succinctly, we woke up in Vienna, spent the day in Bratislava and slept off in Budapest (Leaving me to plan this part of his day)! The three capital cities are amazingly close to each other and Bratislava deserves a stop on the way. The residents were the friendliest we came across on our trip. The city is small enough to cover on foot in a day. You can start at the Bratislava castle (though, with Budapest castle coming up too, you may find yourself overwhelmed by castle visits). Stroll out to the other side of Staromestska street to zigzag across the little alleyways, exploring the shops, the Roland’s Fountain, the famous Man at Work statue, and Laurinska street until you arrive at the picturesque Blue Church. This stretch post the castle can also be done in reverse fashion, as it will conveniently lead you close to the Most SNP or the Bridge of Slovak National Uprising. On the other end of this bridge is the UFO observation deck and restaurant, an excellent spot towering over the city to feast and drink through a sunset on river Danube. An honourary mention must also be made to Teleport for the party afficionados, but then there’s something even more amazing awaiting in our next phase of the trip. Let’s jump straight to it. Click here to head to Part 3 of our trip!
Who are Mrs. & Mr. Fly?
Mr. Fly is a central character in the ongoing Kalki Evian series of books. Originally conjured in the fictional narrative to describe an unbiased view of our everyday world, he was soon joined in real life by a jolly Mrs. Fly who taught him how to truly discover pleasures in little things often missed while living out fast-paced lives. As they began exploring, this blog took shape with a view to share what they saw.