May 16: goodbye Insight Vacations Highlights of Eastern Europe Bus Tour. Now for four self-planned nights in Vienna and a change to more affordable digs. The concierge at the Hilton on Am Stadtpark was very helpful. He suggested leaving our bags with Hilton and leaving asap for Melk. I phoned the amazing Tina at K&T Boardinghouse, where we had booked 4 nights months before, to let them know we would be arriving much later than 9 AM because we were seizing the nice day and going to Melk. Tina suggested 6 PM and promised there would be someone there to welcome us. Going to Melk first made it possible to buy a money-saving 3-consecutive-day transit pass for our last 3 days in Vienna. We grabbed the U3 line right across the street. It took us 3 stops to Westbahnhof Station where we bought our tickets for Melk Abbey for €51 pp. These combi-tickets included the train from Westbahnhof Station to Melk, admission to the Abbey, a Danube boat from Melk to Krems and a train on a different line from Krems back to Vienna.
Read on for some photo souvenirs from our trip, followed by a description of our new digs and our Schnitzel dining fun evening in Vienna:
Checking our U-bahn (subway) map helped us save much time getting back to the Hilton to pick up our bags. We saw that Heiligenstadt train station had a subway connection to Landstrasse/Wien Mitte, across the street from the hotel, so we hastily hopped off two stops before Franz-Josefs station. We took a taxi to the K&T boardinghouse, arriving on time to be be greeted by Christina, a student who lives in one of the six rooms that Tina has in a big building on Chwallagasse, a street so small that I helped our taxi driver and his GPS find it by spotting it myself. K&T is right near the Neubaugasse U-bahn station off trendy Mariahilferstrasse. Christina cleans and acts as reception and concierge par excellence. We met Tina later on during our stay. She also sat with us for a while and was very helpful, friendly, bright and experienced. Christina sat down with us in our room for about 45 minutes and described all of the main things to do in Vienna and recommended we eat about half a mile away in a place called Schnitzelwirt at Neubaugasse 52. My heart sank when I saw a crowd outside, but we were seated in about 10 minutes. They asked us if another couple could join us at our table. We shared our table with a young woman from Innsbruck and her father, who was originally from Herzegovina. Her English was excellent and she translated for her father.This is why I love traveling on our own. There is much more opportunity to meet delightfully charming local folk. We returned two nights later and met two more: a young Viennese homeopathic masseur and his date from Northern Germany. The schnitzel and Ottakringer beer is great there. A warning: order one portion and share. We took half of our schnitzel, wrapped in paper, back to K&T and put it in their shared fridge.