Zagreb? Not Really. We did attempt to drive to Zagreb though… We bought a bus ticket from a low-cost company (recommended by our hostel), got up at stupid o’clock, rushed to the bus station, got fined for forgetting to punch our metro tickets and we stood for an hour in the Siberian cold waiting for a bus that never arrived. This what I would call commitment. Right, fast forward two hours, text message received, due to a mechanical issues, our bus was cancelled. Nobody, from what looks like to be a dodgy bus company, was reachable to help us find a way to go to Zagreb. We were left stranded on the side of a road on a (very) cold morning: 10 poor souls with no other option than to buy a new ticket from a different company. Annoying but it was a good thing to get our disasters out of the way first thing in the morning; things could only get better, right?
Leaving our deserted and old curb, we headed to the bus station where Heidi and I could weigh our options, followed by the others who decided that we were in charge… no pressure! At first, the bus companies were extremely unfriendly with us, mostly annoyed by the fact that everyday such incidents happen and every day they have to deal with Orange Ways dishonesty. The dodgy company we booked from doesn’t seem to perform (or rarely), doesn’t bother to refund its customers and confused passengers end up going to the legitimate bus companies to get answers. We could either wait a whole day at the station for a bus to Zagreb (meh) or jump on a bus to Vienna, Austria where Heidi had never been to (ooooh). A lovely Hungarian man, who probably felt sorry for us, told us about a train to Zagreb that might or might not be departing from the train station. We had nothing to lose so we decided to go to the main station. While we were grateful to this stranger, we didn’t expect him to go out of his way to help us. Believe it or not but this good man offered to take us to the main station, paid for our metro tickets and invited us for breakfast. We couldn’t believe how lucky we were to have met this generous man; he definitely restored our faith in humanity! Since the subway line we needed to reach the main train station was out of order, (somebody clearly didn’t want us to go Zagreb that day), Vienna it was!
If you have a few hours to spend in beautiful Vienna, have fun:
- Indulging yourself with a wonderful lunch at Weibels Wirtshaus
- Walking around St. Stephan’s cathedral, lots going on there
- Wandering through the Schönbrunn palace’s park, I particularly love the view over the palace and the city from the Gloriette
- Going on a self-guided architecture tour by night: St. Charles church, Vienna’s opera, the city hall (my favorite) and the parliament were simply even more beautiful after dark
- Discovering the alternative Vienna: explore its river side where millions of wonderful graffiti are waiting for you
- Sampling locals treats: Aida is the best bakery in town where we can try Punschkrapfen and Sachertorte
This stop might have been unexpected but our improvisation paid off: My Alaskan sweetheart added another country to her bucket list and Vienna showed us a good time! Next stop: (hopefully) Zagreb but who knows where life might take us!