Throwback – European Summer

Sitting here in the crazy air pollution of Mumbai, I’m flashing back to my Epic European summer from 2018. We visited Austria, Croatia, Germany and the U.K. The trip was amazing and there are so many details I want to talk about, but let’s start with the weather.

 

Now I don’t know about you, but when I think of a European summer up in Austria, I think of a pleasant 25 degree day, bright green fields drenched in sunlight etc. What I don’t expect is sweating all day, a need for intense air-conditioning and just a generally crippling sort of heat. However when I landed in Vienna on the 2nd of August 2018, the weather felt all too familiar, in a hot Mumbai summer sort of way – perhaps worse, because we are prepared for the heat. 

On our first day in Vienna, there had been a light rain – so we were blessed with humidity. Barring this insanity, that city really is quite something else. We walked down the winding streets from our hotel and landed up at an adorable little place http://www.boheme.at/ the food here was really good and we ended up going back there on our last night in Vienna.

We spent the next day walking around in the heat in the center of the old town looking at all the tourist attractions. What struck me the most over here, besides the death rays of the sun, was the stores. The entire center of the city felt like a really, really fancy mall. The squares were really massive and impressive, as were the cathedrals and all the architecture in general. I would recommend not going to the center on a weekend, and avoiding the peak summer time there anyways. We ended up eating lunch at  Miznon, which was really good, super interesting and was conveniently located right by the Mozart Apartment museum.

 

We ended our time in the city center by eating the famous Sacher Torte at the world famous Sacher hotel, which was a total letdown. Definitely not having that again. 

 

We were meeting a friend later that evening, who had just come in from Zurich. While we waited for him, I think I had my favourite Vienna moment. Sitting in the park listening to the musicians play. It felt very hollywoodesque – wandering through Europe. That’s one touristy thing I didn’t mind

Having had it with the tourist stuff and finally having got a hold of a friend,, who lives in Vienna, we decided to check out something more “local”. He suggested we visit a Heuriger, a sort of wine garden. Most of them are located in the outer districts of Vienna, but this one was closer to the central area. 

Me: What’s the best way to get there

Him: In Vienna – Walking is the best way to get anywhere

And it’s true. We walked EVERYWHERE and it was amazing – BUT it was so hot. This was the hottest summer in 15 years. The conversation with all my friends,  from Vienna, my old college roommate who came in from Zurich, and the friends we met in Salzburg & Graz.  

We constantly spoke about the weather. In Zurich, people weren’t allowed to water their lawns or have barbeques because of the drought.

On the way from Salzburg to Graz We went to visit the beautiful Gruner See where a valley turns into a lake with submerged trees and benches. Let’s just say no one taller than a foot would be able to drown in that water. It’s been such a hot, dry summer that the lake has just dried up. 

So what does someone who loves to travel do? 

Here’s a basic set of rules I follow:

  • Offset carbon credits – fly light, fly economy we often forget that doing laundry on a trip is pretty easy and a single business class seat can have upto 4 times the carbon impact of economy
  • Carry your own natural toiletries instead of using the single use hotel freebies
  • Since you’re on holiday – chose to eat in instead of doing takeout – it’s both lovely to experience a cup of coffee at a cafe instead of walking around with a to-go cup destined for a landfill, or carry a keep cup
  • Want to eat on the go – Carry your zero waste kit (For everyone on the trip)
  • Walk everywhere or take public transport – the public transport systems in Europe are amazing, affordable and super easy to work with (we got from Austria to Croatia for 15 Euros each

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