There are quite a lot of things to do or see in Vienna, Austria — from visiting the stunning palaces to admiring Stephansdom (St. Stephen’s Cathedral), the super breathtaking medieval Roman Catholic church that lays there, downtown, as the city icon.
However, as someone who used to play classical piano and study psychology, the highlights of Vienna for me are quite obvious: Wiener Zentralfriedhof (Vienna Central Cemetery) and Sigmund Freud Museum.
“What…? Cemetery?” (I can already feel this question coming!)
Now you may smirk, or even gasp, for the thought of visiting a cemetery in a trip! 😀 But, boy, I’m telling you, European cemeteries are something else. Particularly, this one in Vienna. It’s so amazingly beautiful and I’m sure that it is much prettier than most of the parks you’ve ever been in your whole life. Like, really.
Okay, let me take you to my wonderful solo day trip in this City of Dreams (and I’ll tell you later why it’s called that way)! ♥
Since I was staying in Vienna City Hostel (now Westend City Hostel) that’s located near Keplerplatz station, I had to take the U-Bahn (metro) Line U1 to Stephansplatz station, and interchange to Line U3 to reach Simmering station – which is the last station on this line. Oh, I bought a 24-hour ticket by the way, and it cost me 7.60€. You can find the U-Bahn (and other means of transportation in Vienna such as train, tram, and bus) full map here.
From Simmering, I took tram no. 6. You can also take tram no. 71, which is actually the most popular one to reach Wiener Zentralfriedhof. In Vienna, there is this saying, if someone passes away, then it means the deceased person “has taken the 71” (“Er hat den 71er genommen“)…
At first I got off at Zentralfriedhof Tor 3, but then I realized it was not the main entrance, so I took the tram no. 6 again and got off at Zentralfriedhof Tor 2. “Tor” means “gate”.
It was a damn huge cemetery, though… and a stunning one as well. You are actually allowed to bring your car in, or to take a tour with some horse carriage, to explore the whole cemetery. The size of Wiener Zentralfriedhof is 2.4 square kilometres and it hosts more than 330,000 graves. So you can imagine… Another Viennese saying (more of a joke actually) goes like, “Halb so groß wie Zürich – aber doppelt so lustig ist der Wiener Zentralfriedhof!” – which means “Vienna Central Cemetery is half the size of Zürich, but twice as much fun!” Haha!
In this area (near the main entrance), I saw tons of different tombs… each one of them had their own special-designed sculpture. In the middle of the area, there was also some kind of castle… it was probably a church, I’m not sure. I just walked around there, trying to find Ludwig van Beethoven’s tomb… and gosh, I finally found it…
I felt so honored, to be standing in front of his tomb. I literally whispered, “Man, I played your music,” to it. And then I realized that Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and Franz Schubert‘s tombs were also there, in the same section as Beethoven’s. Mozart was actually in the centre of it. It kind of makes sense, though, because people are more crazy about Mozart there… I guess because Mozart was Austrian while Beethoven was originally from Germany? Anyway, It just moved my heart to see all of this. Beethoven is still my favourite composer of all time. Für Elise and Moonlight Sonata (Piano Sonata No. 14) are just eternal!
I took the tram again and visited Zentralfriedhof Tor 1 as I wanted to see the Jewish graves. Their area was pretty different. I could feel that it was definitely more abandoned, as wild grasses were everywhere. They also have the tombs in some kind of uniform, though there are some that have different styles. I also saw that some of the graves had these 6 door openers, and below them is a big rectangular stone to cover the hole where they bury the body.
It creeped me out to be there after a while, to be honest. No one else was in this area but me, taking photos (and in the end felt a bit guilty for taking photos? Euh)… I started to feel some goosebumps on the back of my neck, lalala… so I just quickly headed back to the entrance gate and then took the tram to Simmering. From there, I took U-Bahn to Thaliagasse, and then tram no. 46 to Brunnengasse. I wanted to visit Brunnenmarkt, a street market that’s selling mainly fruits, vegetables, and meat – and some clothing.
Turned out that Brunnenmarkt was closed on Sundays… ha! But I still found an open eating place called Denis Cafe & Restaurant in that area, so I went inside to have my lunch. I ordered some kind of omelette with white cheese, and it came with 2 breads. I also had a cup of cappuccino with whipped cream. The place had well-working Wi-Fi so I spent quite some time there.
After finishing my lunch, I left and just walked to Thaliagasse stop. I took the tram to Schottentor stop, and then since I forgot which tram number I should take, I just took random one and somehow I got off at Schwarzspanierstraße, the second closest tram stop to Sigmund Freud Museum after Schlickgasse.
I strolled down Bergasse, the street where Sigmund Freud used to live while he was doing his work in Vienna, and finally reached the museum (it used to be his apartment), at Bergasse 19.
I bought the ticket for 10€ (if you’re a student, you can get cheaper, I think 7 or 7.5€). They gave me an audio guide, a map of the museum, and a handbook. It felt so surreal for me to be there! It was interesting to discover that Freud was actually a dog lover, just like me 🙂 (he owned 2 dogs named Paula & Jumbo!). He was also a passionate traveller, and one of his hobbies was to collect antiques. He was an acute smoker, though. After discovering that he had cancer, he couldn’t smoke anymore, and that’s about the time he felt he no longer wanted to write.
Freud was not a fan of music. He always avoided talking about theories related to music, or musical abilities, etc. However, it was known that his favorite song was about an old drunk lady who got chased by dogs and ridiculed by people passing by. It was pretty strange, haha…
Freud also owned a chair, specially designed for him by someone (I forgot his name), as he had this rather unconventional reading position, where he would lean on one side of the chair and one leg would be put on the other side of the chair’s arm, with the book held high, and his head unsupported. He also owned a mirror, hung in front of his study room window, and this mirror was given by his daughter (who later continued his psychoanalysis work), Anna Freud.
Sigmund Freud was the reason why Vienna is called The City of Dreams. Many of his work and theories talk about the dream interpretation and functions. It is known that he would ask his patients to lay down on his couch in his office and talk about their dreams and engage in free association where they express any of their thoughts that cross their mind without any attempt on concentration or reservation.
A couch is known to be the symbol of Freud’s psychoanalysis work, so I bought 1 fridge magnet that has an image of Freud’s legendary couch on it. I left the museum and walked to Schottenring U-Bahn station. On my way there, I saw an accident – a small truck hit a car! Within a minute, a couple of police came to check. Wow. Quick!
I took the metro and got off at Karlsplatz and I went to Beethovenplatz but it was already dark… and the statue was not lit, hmm… I still took some photos, though. Afterwards, I went to Haus der Musik, but I did not go inside, cause I thought I should’ve just rushed to Mozarthaus Vienna. Unfortunately, when I got there, it was already closed… 😦 So my day was basically done by then.
Vienna is also called The City of Music due to this huge influence of Mozart and the other composers who were based here. It’s such a pity that I didn’t get to attend any musical concert while I was there… But maybe next time if I travel to Austria again, I’d like to go to Salzburg to visit the shooting locations of The Sound of Music – my favorite musical film of all time! ♥
What about you? Where do you want to go in Austria? If you have been there, what was the highlight of your trip based on your interest? Share it to me by leaving a comment below 🙂