Discover travel destinations of travelers writing a travel journal on FindPenguins.

13 travelers at this place:

  • Day183

    Christmas eve and Christmas day

    December 26, 2016 in Austria ⋅ ⛅ 9 °C

    Merry Christmas everyone!

    We squeezed in a final pre-Christmas market on the morning of the 24th. It was the last day of St Stephansplatz market and the adjacent St Stephans Cathedral had been an impressive sight when we'd passed it on the tube, so we were looking forward to visiting that too.

    The combination of towering gothic spires and a mosaic tiled roof made this Cathedral stand out and we paid the €4.50 entry fee to climb its south tower.
    It was exciting to see glimpses of Vienna from a different perspective through the small slit windows as we climbed the spiralling stone stairway. However we were disappointed when we reached the watchman's tower half way up and weren't allowed to go any further! There were views in 4 directions through windows but they were limited. Unfortunately we may have been spoiled by some of the great steeple-top panoramic views we were treated to in Germany!

    Following a look through the traditional market and a brief stroll around the wider area, we returned to our pitch to ready our small space for Christmas day. We met midnight with a bottle of bubbly and a small present to each other.

    On Christmas day we relaxed in the van for the whole day, only going out to take Poppy. We'd had to be careful and not buy any presents for each other that would take up too much space. Our main present to each other was a new camera that didn't need separate lenses. The functions on the old one had been failing, the internal sensor was scratched and the different lenses took up a lot of space and weight.

    We really enjoyed texting, calling and Skyping friends and family later in the day. A big part of Christmas for us is being around them, if not on the day itself, then in the lead up to it. It somehow felt less Christmassy not being able to do this (that and the lack of mince pies, crackers, Christmas cake and pud!)

    We are glad to have the opportunity to experience Christmas in a foreign country and we had a lovely day, but part of our journey is about gaining a different perspective, challenging and sometimes changing or consolidating our ideas of what is important to us. We are VERY much looking forward to spending time with lots of people next year!
    Read more

  • Day178

    Vienna Rathaus Christmas Market

    December 21, 2016 in Austria ⋅ ⛅ -2 °C

    There was no more snow when we awoke the next morning but what had fallen the previous night had stayed. We waited until it was nearly dark before setting off on the U-bahn to Vienna's largest Christmas Market. Emerging from the underground station we each inhaled sharply - it was a winter wonderland! Gorgeous fluffy snowflakes were falling all around and had layed a thick white coat on the ground, trees and buildings. It was even better than we had hoped for! We made our way through the small park at the back of the imposing Rathaus (City Hall) and were greeted with the warm lights, smell of glühwein and sound of a children's carousel that lay at the edge of Vienna Christmas World and Market. 150 stalls were arranged in the Rathaus grounds and decorations lit up the snow laden park, whose paths were lined with elegant wrought iron benches. Not only was the park decorated, but it had an ice skating rink and pathways that skaters of all ages were enjoying.

    Skirting round the edge of the market we came to the brightly lit main entrance archway, over which we could see the illuminated Rathaus in all its glory. It was a stunning building, tall and elegant with pointed towers reaching up to the snowy sky. The bare trees on the boulevard fronting the Rathaus grounds had been wrapped in fairy lights. It was all so beautiful, we were both feeling rather overwhelmed. Vicky reacted by trying to photograph everything in sight and Will had a glüwien!

    After perusing the stalls and treating ourselves to a little red bauble with a snow scene and 'Vienna' painted on it, Vicky's fingers were getting painfully cold. Looking around for somewhere to warm up, we saw people shuffling in and out of the Rathaus. After negotiating the beautifully smooth but treacherously slippery marble steps, a lovely warm scene was revealed to us. The inside of the hall was lit up and decorated and a cafe was serving hot drinks. Children were decorating gingerbread and being encouraged to post letters to Santa. We settled down to a warming punch, hot chocolate and sascher torte which reinvigorated us before we finished the rest of the market and negotiated the underground system to get back to Poppy and the van.

    Our time at this Christmas market had been a magical experience and one we will remember for a very long time! If you'd like to see a short video filmed at the market visit our channel at:
    Read more

  • Day178

    A little further afield in Vienna

    December 21, 2016 in Austria ⋅ ⛅ -2 °C

    According to what we've read, Austrians traditionally celebrate Christmas on Christmas eve, when they share a meal of Carp and open presents. For festive food we had decided just to see what was in the shops. We'd been told about an area outside Vienna city centre that sold a lot of local and organic produce so we took the U-Bahn then a bus to get there. We'd had the impression there was a farmers market, but all we could find was a small food shop. Despite its size, it was a quality establishment that sold organic and local food, so we picked up some veg and wine before making our way back.

    Later on we walked up to our local suburban cluster of shops and visited the butcher. There didn't seem to be any one meat that stood out like turkey would in the UK, so we bought a couple of duck breasts and some other bits and bobs.

    After taking the van out to top up on gas, we did a supermarket shop for the remaining items. It felt strange coming back to the van with no crackers, Christmas cake, pudding or mince pies. We wanted to experience a Christmas outside the UK but we'll certainly appreciate these seasonal staples all the more when we come back to Britain next year!

    Van life has brought a lot of improvements and some amazing highs but it also has its lows. The temperature had been sub zero for days and we'd noticed an icicle forming under the back of the van; it had actually got so long as to join with the ground at our previous stopover! We'd been making the most if the electric hookup by mainly using an electric fan heater instead of the gas central heating. When we returned to the stopover, the waste water tank wouldn't open for emptying because it had frozen shut. We placed the fan heater under the van, started the engine and put the central heating on to get some hot air through the nearby vent in an effort to defrost it. After more than an hour of this it still wasn't defrosted and we heard the water pump turn on and a wheezing sound from near the hot water tank. While Will was outside discovering our emergency water container had leaked and the water frozen to the boot floor and the icicle we'd seen before had been formed by the hot water outlet pipe freezing up, and that the pressure had built up to the point that the system was blowing water out inside the boot, Vicky was inside discovering a slick of water emerging from under the bunk inside the living area. We spent the rest of the night with the heating up high to try and defrost the waste water and the pump switched off apart from when we were using it in order to avoid leakage from the hot water tank. It was all sorted out by midday the following day but we were very thankful to be at a site with all the facilities we needed. We may need to rethink our plan to visit Norway in winter!
    Read more

  • Day184

    6 months away & a trip to Sacher Cafe

    December 27, 2016 in Austria ⋅ 🌬 5 °C

    Boxing day was another day spent relaxing in the van, but the 27th December marked the 6 month milestone since we left home!

    Thanks to everyone who is reading this and who has followed our travels so far. It really is great to be able to share them with you and to have your support!

    Some of the Christmas markets were open until the beginning of January and there were two more we wanted to visit, on what would be our last trip in to the city. The Schloss Schönbrunn market was a little way out of central Vienna in the grounds of the stately Schönbrunn Palace; a geometric yellow ochre building with 1,441 rooms!

    We resisted all of the delicious looking foods cooking on the stalls, because our next port of call was the Sacher Hotel Café. For a long time before we came away we'd been watching foodie/travel programmes like The Hairy Bikers and Rick Stein. Several had featured the unique Sacher Torte, invented by a kitchen hand back in 1832 and kept as a secret recipe used only by the hotel ever since. Places all over Austria make and sell it, but we thought it would be a special experience to sample the original recipe at the place of its conception. There was a queue when we arrived but the maître d' organised it efficiently and after 20 minutes we were invited in and directed to the cloakroom, before being shown through the plush 'bordeaux red', white and gold front room with its crystal chandeliers, to a table for two in the conservatory. The service was excellent and the cake, coffee and unique Hotel Sacher tea were all served with Hotel Sacher crockery. The combination of the yummy torte, the surroundings and attitudes of the staff made the experience extra special for us and a great way to celebrate being 6 months in to our journey!

    The Winter market at Riesenradplatz was the 14th and our final Viennese market. It was advertised as being open until the 6th January and the stalls were still there, but they were all closed! It was at an amusement park and some of the rides were open but as time was getting on, we chose instead to take a last wander along the main street.
    Read more

  • Day175


    December 18, 2016 in Austria ⋅ ⛅ 1 °C

    We chose to drive through Vienna to get to our next stopover; Reismobil Stellplatz Wein. The site in Graz was run by the same people and we'd decided back then that we wanted to stay at the Vienna 'sister site' for 10 days over Christmas. At €21 a night it was more than we were used to paying but the it was so close to the city centre, well run and we could have peace of mind knowing we'd have electricity and other facilities on hand.

    As we got closer to Vienna, the air seemed to become thicker with pollution. We don't know how much the grit and greyness of winter has to do with it but many urban areas in central and eastern Austria have appeared visibly polluted. On our way in, we passed a tall shiny golden tower with an onion shaped bulge at the top, where it was spewing out pollution. This was one of a few 'modern art' industrial chimneys we've seen as we've travelled around built up areas of Austria. We passed between two huge green stone lions standing proudly either side of the road and began to notice the towering stone town houses painted in various pastel colours that lay beyond them. We'd been very much looking forward to visiting Vienna but as we passed by the fifth sex club within the city's hazy grey air, our excitement levels fell a little!

    Arriving at the stopover, we received a warm welcome. One of the 160 pitches had been one reserved for us, but we cheekily asked whether we could stay at number 122 (our old house number). Being so far away from friends and family we thought it would be a nice feeling to be at 122 for Christmas!

    That evening, we celebrated arriving in Vienna with a bottle of bubbly and the free chocolates from the textile warehouse. At around 9:30pm Will went outside and quickly called for Vicky to 'get out here; it's snowing!' There had been no snow forecast, but sure enough, it was snowing lightly and was laying about 2cm deep! With the nets of fairy lights around the stopover it was a magical sight! We couldn't resist playing, galavanting around like school kids, making a snowman and writing our initials in the snow! There were two Austrians standing smoking outside their van. Vicky excitedly called over "schnee" (snow). They nodded back slowly; goodness knows what they thought!

    On our first full day we bought a week's travel pass for €16.20 each and got on the ultra efficient U-Bahn very close to the site. Entering the city centre we were impressed with the solid grandeur of the tall town buildings with their long windows, each block with different styalised stone window frames.

    A stroll along Mariahilfer Straße, the main retail street, took us to the Museums Quarter and afforded us our first views of the stunning Maria-Theresen Palaces, built to look like reflections of each other. Their huge scale within the centre of the city was impressive, but unlike so many cramped city centres, where other buildings have grown up around the old structures, there was enough space to stand back and admire them.
    Read more

  • Day6

    Wien und die Hofreitschule

    December 30, 2019 in Austria ⋅ ☀️ 1 °C

    Wir haben gut geschlafen. Es war heute Nacht sehr kalt. Wir stehen hier am Fluss Melk und der hat Eis drauf.
    Schnell sind wir auf dem Stellplatz in Wien.
    Um 12:00 Uhr machen wir uns auf in die Stadt, wir starten am Nachmarkt. Es riecht nach Gewürzen, Käse und Wurst, es gibt kleine Restaurants. Wir essen etwas ehe wir uns weitertreiben lassen.
    Die Karlskirche schauen wir uns von außen an. Man will 8,00 Euro Eintritt. Da verzichten wir.
    Wir lassen uns einfach treiben.
    Wien ist schön. Aber einen Kaffee zu trinken gestaltet sich als sehr schwierig. Überall ist es voll. Bei Demel eine Stunde Wartezeit 😢.
    Wir bekommen die Zeit rum und sind um 19:00 Uhr in der Galavorstellung der spanischen Hofreitschule.
    Es sieht sehr toll aus. Thomi ist begeistert. Er hat auch mehr Beziehung zu Pferden.
    Morgen ist Silvester. Wir wollen ausschlafen und dann gehen 14:00 Uhr in die Stadt fahren.
    Read more

  • Day8


    January 1 in Austria ⋅ 🌙 1 °C

    Die Sonne scheint und gegen Mittag machen wir uns auf den Weg in die Stadt. Die Tageszeitung erzählt das gestern 800.000 Menschen unterwegs waren und das das Feuerwerk aufgrund des starken Windes ( haben wir nichts von bemerkt) abgesagt wurde.
    Wir stoppen an der Oper und schauen uns eine Weile das Neujahrskonzert an.
    Lassen uns treiben, essen unterwegs eine Käsekrainer . Um 14:00 Uhr beginnt unsere Führung in der Kapuziner Gruft. Die Frau hat uns durch 400 Jahre Geschichte geführt. 150 Särge stehen dort. Es war wirklich toll.
    Danach stärkten wir uns bei Kaffee und Torte ehe wir bummelnd den Rückweg durch das wunderschön beleuchtete Wien antraten.
    Read more

  • Day48


    October 20, 2019 in Austria ⋅ ☁️ 11 °C

    Nach einem sehr netten Empfang auf dem Campingplatz am Rande von Wien, erkundeten wir am nächsten Tag die Stadt bei Nebel, Nieselregen und kalten Temperaturen. Dennoch empfanden wir die Stadt als sehr angenehm.

  • Day4

    Schloss Schönbrunn

    October 27, 2019 in Austria ⋅ ☀️ 13 °C

    Am Schloss angekommen, nun.geht es auf Erkundungstour. Nachdem wir für eine 40 Min. Tour 2 Stunden auf den Einlass ins Schloss warten müssten haben wir uns entschlossen nur von aussen Bilder zu machen.

  • Day2

    Stellplatz in Wien

    October 25, 2019 in Austria ⋅ ☁️ 20 °C

    Nachdem wir erfahren haben das morgen National Feiertag in Österreich ist haben wir uns entschlossen heute noch nach Wien weiter zu fahren um sicher zu gehen einen Stellplatz zu bekommen (wegen langem Wochenende und so...)

You might also know this place by the following names:


Join us:

FindPenguins for iOS FindPenguins for Android

Sign up now