What I learned on being constantly on a train in Europe is that life is very similar to it. It begins when you desperately look for the platform your train is on and when you’re in looking for your seat. You meet people on the train, strangers, some are friendly and will help you allocate your seat and some, minding their own. At every station, the train stops. People get in. Sometimes, you can feel the presence of those who passes you by. Some leave an impact through their smile or stare. Some remain indifferent. Regardless, everyone gets off the train eventually, walk down to their life and their paths they were destined to, because if they didn’t, they would have nothing to do and we would feel trapped. The purpose of every person you meet would lose its essence and so will the journey. That is what Travel with TJD feels like.
Travel with TJD part 3 took place in Austria. Vienna to be precise and partnered up together with luxury hotel, The Ritz-Carlton where we spent 5 days there and flew with Qatar Airways from Dubai. Austria is one of the most beautiful places in Europe to visit. Shopping at Christmas markets was one of our daily routine, the grand breakfast at the hotel was a personal favorite to everyone. On the day we arrived, we took the fiakr around the city and a feast was prepared for us at dinner at the highest Christmas market in Vienna, which was at The Ritz-Carlton hotel with the best in town. Silia, who runs The Viennese Girl took us around Belvedere Museum and continued the rest of our late morning at Christmas markets. On our 2nd day, we left at 8am to Salzburg, it was The Sound of Music 50th anniversary, we had a guide called Marwan who took us on a mission tour. Imagine 8 instagrammers capturing Salzburg! He had a lot of patience! The rest of the team joined us on the 3rd day, Greg from The Vienna Blog was our official guide, a walking encyclopedia and history book in my opinion and a wonderful friend. Irina, Emilia and Oliver joined our lunch at Dstrikt at The Ritz-Carlton. We walked across the churches, museums and a porcelain store and was offered tea with macaroons.
Each day we stood almost shoulder to shoulder, occupying the same space, breathing the same air, we were once strangers but now, we will always have Vienna!
Merry Christmas Everyone!
Travel Junkie Diary
*Some images credits to Silia from The Viennese Girl and some by Ubaid Ahmed
Travel with TJD in Austria, A Ritz-Carlton Christmas Story
Talal Al Rashed
Elias El Indari
*Huge thank you to the Tourism Board in Austria and Visit Vienna for helping us with our itinerary.
*Also, thank you for Qatar Airways for sponsoring our flights to Vienna! Qatar Airways flies daily to Vienna from Dubai | Economy Class Starting Price AED 2,700, Business Class Starting Price AED 9,000
Travel with TJD in partnership with The Ritz-Carlton Hotel | Room rate starting price AED1,900
Where to Stay in Austria
A luxury stay at The Ritz-Carlton Hotel (Review article here), a 25 minute drive from the airport and located on Ringstrasse. The Ritz-Carlton, Vienna has been ranked #1 Best Hotel in Austria in Travel + Leisure’s 500 The World’s Best Hotels Awards – 2015 and the Best Hotel Spa International by Condé Nast Traveller Middle East. You can read my full review and article here. The Ritz-Carlton in Vienna was not just home. It was a place of love and warmth where the walls of our rooms where familiar.
Where to Eat in Austria in 4 days
The Austrian cuisine is distinctive and delicious! Wiener Schnitzel (a bread-crumbed and fried veal escalope) is something of a national dish, and Knödel are a kind of dumpling which can be made either sweet or savory according to taste. In Vienna the Tafelspitz (boiled beef with potatoes and horseradish) is traditionally served on Sundays, and is normally accompanied by clear broth with dumplings and herbs. Apart from these, Austria is renowned for its pastries and desserts, the most well-known of which is probably the Apfelstrudel.
What to do in Vienna – 10 things to do in 4 days
Our days started early, as early at 4:30am one morning! When you visit Austria, make sure to buy a train ticket and explore outside Vienna! We visited Salzburg and it was one of the most beautiful places we have seen!
- Visit Salzburg, a 2 hour train ride from Vienna
- Visit Belvedere
- Visit Christmas markets :
- Visit Karlskirche
- Go Ice Skating, there is an ice ring right behind The Ritz-Carlton Hotel
- Dance the Waltz outside the opera house
- Watch a ballet
- Visit Naschmarkt
- Take a city tour around town with Greg Sideris highlighting the culture and historical landmarks
- Take a fiakr tour