Winter Trip To Europe - dswphoto
My winter trip to Europe. I flew from Dubai to Zurich via a 5 hour stopover in Doha (DXB-DOH-ZRH), and flew back from Belgrade with a 12 hour stopover in Rome and a transit in Doha (BEG-FCO-DOH-DXB).


I travelled by train (and bus in Liechenstein) for the ~1,400 kilometre journey from Zurich to Belgrade, stopping in Zurich, Triesenberg, Vienna, Bratislava, Budapest and Belgrade.



Day 0.

At Terminal One at Dubai Airport to start the journey with the flight to Doha.


Hot chicken sandwich, cake and OJ for the 45 minute flight on the QR 787 to DOH.


Disembarking off the 787 at DOH at 9:30pm.


I had a 5 hour layover, so went to the new Oryx lounge to relax.


A tasty snack of middle eastern and western food in the lounge.



Day 1.

The 787 departed on time at 2:30am, and after another chicken sandwich, passed out for a few hours on the overnight flight.


Chicken sausage and omelette for breakfast just before arrival at Zurich Airport.


Immigration was quick and easy and as I only had a carry-on was through to the train station in no time. Got some Swiss francs and bought a ticket to Zurich Hauptbahnhof (Central Station).


The line for the trams outside Hauptbahnhof. It was about 8am, and a nice and cool 4C. My first real winter in a few years, but I was coping surprisingly well.


My hotel was only a short walk from the train station, and as it was too early to check-in, I dropped off my bag before heading out to explore Zurich.


Kälte (cold).


Frühstück (breakfast).


Walking the dog.


Swans on the Limmat river.


Some much needed caffeine to shake off the jet lag.


Grossmünster cathedral on the east side of the river.


Münsterbrücke bridge.


I then walked down to a farmer's market beside Lake Zurich.


Great place to walk around and see all the local produce as well as people watch.


Stocking up.


Früchte.


Mann und Frau. I then walked into the centre of town.


Fraumünster Church.


And the beautiful stained glass windows inside.


I then visited the Swiss National Museum.


Was quite an interesting place, covering both the history and culture of Switzerland.


Zebrastreifen.


I grabbed lunch at a cafeteria and had spicy beef and carrots for 21 CHF.


After checking into the hotel and having a nap, and walked up to the ETH University and looked out onto the city below.


Going down.


Central Tram Station.


I grabbed some Nussgipfel at a bakery for a snack for 2.9 CHF.


Mirror.


Blur.


Roast Chestnuts.


The Christmas markets at Pestalozzianlage. Quite a lively atmosphere .


I grabbed some Bratwurst for 8 CHF at one of the stalls.


Bahnhofstrasse. The Swiss really know how to do Christmas!

At Hauptbahnhof with the locals enjoying the start of the weekend with a few drinks.


On my way back to the hotel I stopped at a supermarket to check out the famed Swiss chocolate. As expected lots of different types, including some Jack Daniels flavoured stuff (centre).



Day 2.

After having breakfast at the hotel, I walked down to Hauptbahnhof for the trip to Liechtenstein.


The famous Swiss train station clock design that Apple tried to rip off.


Platform 9 for the 9:37 train east to Sargans.


Anzeige.


Passing Lake Zurich on the journey east.


Outside Sargans train station, about to catch the bus to Liechtenstein.


The new Parliament building at Peter-Kaiser-Platz in Vaduz, the capital of Liechtenstein.


Vaduz Castle, the palace and official residence of the Prince of Liechtenstein. Liechtenstein is one of the smallest countries in the world with 160 km2 area and ~37,000 people.


An old wooden covered bridge over the Rhine.


The river is on the border of Switzerland and Liechtenstein.


I then went to a local restaurant for lunch and had some tasty pork with mushroom sauce with spätzle and vegetables.


I then caught the bus again for the journey up the mountain to Triesenberg.


At my hotel for the night in Liechtenstein, Hotel Kulm, complete with a Christmas nativity scene outside.


My room.


And the amazing view from my balcony, looking over to the Swiss Alps.


For the rest of the afternoon I went for a walk around Triesenberg, taking in the great views.


I went to the hotel restaurant for dinner, which was suitably decorated with lots of Christmas stuff.


And had the Chicken Cordon bleu for 29 CHF.



Day 3.

The view from the breakfast buffet in the morning.


Church in Triesenburg.


And about to catch the bus to Feldkirch, Austria.


Crossing back into Switzerland at the motorway tool booth on the border with Liechtenstein.


And about to catch the train to Vienna at Feldkirch station, Austria.


It was only 10 euro's extra to upgrade to first class cabin for the 6 hour journey.


Taking in the beautiful alpine scenery on the way to Innsbruck.


At Innsbruck station at 12:21pm, where I changed to a Railjet train for the trip to Vienna. The train was 8 minutes late leaving Feldkirch, and although I had a 4 minute connection in Innsbruck, the train made up the time and we arrived on schedule to Innsbruck.


The Railjet train was abit more modern, with wi-fi and a top speed of 230 kph.


Chicken masala for lunch in the dining car for 9.90 euro's.


Stopping at Salzburg Hauptbahnhof after passing through Germany.


And arriving at Vienna's Westbahnhof.


Only 4:30pm but already dark!


I then caught the metro to Rathaus (Town Hall) to see the main Vienna christmas markets.


Bratkartoffel (Sauteed Griddle Potatoes).


Lots of people enjoying their Sunday evening in the markets.


Hearts.


I then caught the metro to Praterstern to my hotel for the next two nights, Hotel Vienna.


The room was small but was cheap and had a cool, kitschy vibe.


Dinner was at a great Mexican place called Restaurant Pancho where I had Chicken Fajita's.

And some tasty chocolate chimichanga for dessert.



Day 4.

At Taborstraße to catch the metro into central Vienna.


Outside the Burgtheater.


A deluxe croissant and cappuccino for breakfast at Café Central.


Café Central is a traditional Viennese café, and was opened in 1876. It was a great change from the usual hotel breakfast buffet.


Former clientele at the café include Lenin, Trotsky, Freud, Tito and Hitler.


Inside Katholische Kirche St. Michael on Michaelerplatz.


Graben, one of the main shopping streets in Vienna.


St. Stephen's Cathedral in Stephansplatz.


The beautiful interior.


And the view from the north tower, looking north with the Wiener Riesenrad Ferris wheel on the horizon.


At the Hundertwasserhaus in Landstraße district. Built from the idea's and concept's of Austrian artist Friedensreich Hundertwasser with architect Joseph Krawina.


It features undulating floors ("an uneven floor is a divine melody to the feet"), a roof covered with earth and grass, and large trees growing from inside the rooms, with limbs extending from windows.


One-way.


Rolltreppen.


The Belvedere.

Lunch of Austrian deer stew with dumplings and cranberry sauce at the restaurant Skopik & Lohn in Leopoldstadt.


Blumenhändler.


At the Wiener Riesenrad at the Prater amusement park.


It was built in 1897 to celebrate the Golden Jubilee of Emperor Franz Josef I.


I then went for a walk through the Christmas markets in Spittelberg. Much less busy and a bit more relaxed than at the Rathaus markets:).


Back in Graben with all the Christmas Lights.


Dinner at a restaurant called Figlmüller, the top pick in the LP guidebook for a decent Schnitzel, and they certainly delivered!



Day 5.

At Café Prückel, another iconic Viennese coffee house.


With the original 50's styling and waiters in jackets and bowties, it was a real treat to have breakfast there.


At Wien Hauptbahnhof to catch the train to Bratislava, Slovakia.


Plenty of room in the cabin for the 50 minute trip.


The scenery was flat farmland with the occasional wind turbine.


A welcome to Slovakia at Bratislava hlavná stanica.


Unfortunately the rain had followed me from Vienna however.


I then visited the indoor markets of Tržnica.


Groceries.


And got some tasty štrúdľa for 80 euro cents.


My hotel room at the Bratislava Crowne Plaza. Very modern, clean and friendly, courteous staff.


I then went to the Slovak Pub which was recommended for some traditional Slovak cuisine. Cabbage soup.


And Halušky. Potato dumplings with sheep cheese and bacon.


I then went for a walk to explore the city.


Underpass.


Bratislava Castle.

Grassalkovich Palace, the official residence of the president of Slovakia.


After relaxing at the hotel for a bit, I went for a walk into the old town.


At the Christmas markets in the town square.


Very picturesque!


The locals enjoying some of the tasty food on offer.


A delicous and decent sized steak sandwich for less than 3 euro's.


I was still hungry though, and went back for seconds and got a pork and onion sandwich too.


Live music adding to the festive atmosphere. The Bratislava Christmas markets were my favourite of the trip, just the right size, great vibe and not too commercialised.


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