Welcome to this week’s Postcard From – the feature where I chat to some lucky explorer about their recent travels. This week, I’ve been chatting to blogger Nikoleta Míchalová about her current home of Vienna. Hopefully she’ll be able to share some great insider tips for exploring the city!
Nikoleta is a full-time student with passion for travelling, who decided to launch her travel website The Bonfire Dream on August 10th 2015. She has experienced lots of success which keeps her going even though she doesn’t always have the time. Some of the successes include awards like the Liebster Award, 11 little things and Blogger’s Recognition Award. However, Nikoleta felt there were not enough awards for travel bloggers – so she established one herself only one month after she started her travel website; the Bonfire Dream Award. Her new challenge now is to start getting the word about her blog out there and showing the rest of the world what she believes is a quality content.
Hi Nikoleta! Where are you sending this ‘postcard’ from?
I am sending this postcard from Vienna. It is capital of Austria, a city that was selected to be the world’s most livable city several years after each other, a city with history that comes alive in museums like the Time Travel, events like classical concerts, operas and balls. On the other hand Vienna is the city of young with countless opportunities to go crazy! Younger tourists especially might find it exciting as the legal drinking/smoking/clubbing age is 16. Fun ha? And lastly, it is a city where people care so much about their physical health and so you have many opportunities to do sports – cycling routes, hiking routes, sport arenas, swimming pools, outdoor gyms, normal gyms and so many more opportunities will most definitely help improve your physical health.
What’s the weather like in Vienna, and when’s the best time of year to visit?
I have friends from all over the world who settled here and they always joke that once the sun disappears in October, it will not come back until April. The winters are long in Vienna, but they are not extreme. It snows around January and February, but until then it is just cold. Over the summer it tends to be also mild temperature until July/August when extreme temperatures may come (note, extreme temperatures are for Viennese between 30°C to 40°C).
Which part of Vienna do you live in?
I live at Floridsdorf, which is one of the “worst” neighbourhoods (comparatively maybe, but only because it is not so rich and is rather village looking), but I cannot be more happy with it. It is on suburbs near Danube, surrounded by little forests and farmers areas, little houses and our lovely Danube. It is an ideal paradise. Especially in the mornings when I walk my dog, one feels like they got moved to village hundred years back. I always pass by a farm-like, bio hostel that looks like a beautiful place to stay in.
Sounds lovely – I love finding parts of a city with a village feel. So, what does a typical weekend in your hometown look like?
I have a dog and I love hiking. My typical weekend reflect that. I love to walk around Danube. Not only it has beautiful nature, but it also offers variety of sport, social, adventurous and relaxing activities. One can do anything from swimming, running, playing beach volleyball, basketball, tennis, doing bungee-jumping, to getting to know new people and enjoying cold Margarita. And when the lunch time comes, one can also choose from picnic, fast food or fancy restaurants which transfer their visitors to a sea side. Especially the Greek and Spanish ones :P
Another typical location for my weekend that both me and my dog love is the Wiener Wald. It is such a beautiful place that it even inspired great classicist like Ödön von Horváth (Geschichten aus Wiener Wald) to write books set here. One does not necessarily realizes that this is still part of Vienna. The place has certain charismatic beauty attracting even those that that would normally avoid anything close to nature.
As a local – tell us what things people absolutely shouldn’t miss when they visit…
Other than nature, Vienna offers so much cultural experience! If you are young and vital you should make sure that you experience the wild nightlife. If you prefer more sophisticated fun, then you should for sure visit opera or a theatre performance. But above that all, you should most definitely try to come in ball season and let Vienna show you its aristocratic heritage.
What is the food like?
The food in Vienna is… heavy. It is very meaty and usually fried or baked with significant amount of fat. I personally do not enjoy savory food as much, but what I LOVE at Vienna’s cuisine is the desserts. I feel like they are simple, but perfect! One of the most favourite one is Sachertorte (a chocolate cake with marmalade), Apfelstrudel (apple with cinnamon baked in a pastry) or Kaiserschmarrn (pancake dough with sugar or/and hot fruits). I really recommend trying all of those.
What’s your favourite travel read?
Since the book Wild: A Journey From Lost to Found by Cheryl Strayed came out, I fell in love with the story. But in general I prefer more classical literature that shares travel stories, like Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad. I love when the book has deeper story behind it, when it shows not only the travels, but the lessons travellers learnt and the impact it had on their lives afterwards.
What do you love most about travelling?
Travelling frees you. It gives you chance to be yourself, to be opened to new cultures and experiences. It makes you more understanding and it generally creates better you. It makes you grow!
NB – all images are owned by Nikoleta Míchalová