Spotlight: Travel Shack, Vienna

The Travel Shack

  Travel Shack, Mariahilfer Gurtel, Vienna 1150 Austria (Just around the corner from Wombat’s Hostel, not far from Mozart’s, where you can get a mouth-watering schnitzel at all hours of the day or night)

What is this place?  It’s a bar.  It’s a book swap.  It’s an internet centre.  Most importantly, it’s the place to go for great tours of Vienna, whether you want to go via pub crawl, grape graze, or night bike tour.

Tell me more:

I’ll start with the Grape Grazing Tour.  I briefly mentioned this in a previous post, but feel that I didn’t do it justice.  This was one of the activities I had circled in my Busabout activities brochure, because despite the 48 euro charge, the idea really appealed to me.  How could I pass up cycling through the Austrian countryside, stopping periodically for a taste (or glass) of wine, feasting on a barbecued lunch, then cooling off in the Danube before commandeering my bike back to the train station?  I couldn’t.  And, despite running on very little sleep and an enough leftover alcohol fumes to open my own winery, I actually perked up and had a really good day.  Adam, an expat Aussie, was our guide, and gave us the rundown on everything from how to tell a good wine to the history on King Richard’s trek through one of the tiny villages we visited.

Grape grazing along the Danube.

I hate to say that food was the highlight of this day, but it was all so good – the homemade chutney tastings, the eggnog schnapps, the apricot chocolate, the sizzling sausages at lunch – I’m drooling just writing about it.  It’s a toss-up, really, between the food and the views we got from the late afternoon hike.  Heights aren’t really my thing, and neither are endless stairs, but I think I could have stayed up there forever.  And not just because it was a long walk down.

The Travel Shack also runs city Bike Tours of Vienna itself, which are offered night or day.  I spoke to some girls who did a night bike tour, in the rain, and still highly recommended it.

And Vienna just wouldn’t be a European city without its own Pub Crawl.  The theme of my Viennese odyssey was rain, and it wasn’t about to let up just so I could stay dry between drinking establishments.  For around 14 euro, you will have access to plenty of drinks, a slice of pizza, and a couple of guides to shepherd you and your new mates between pubs.  They will even pack you into the night buses in the wee hours of the morning, so you aren’t left stranded and confused.

Mingling with the bar crawlers.

The night started with an hour of unlimited beer and wine at the Travel Shack, while everyone filled out their country-coded name tags and started to mingle.  I was a bit hesitant to put an American flag sticker on my chest, but I needn’t have worried, because by the time we hit the first bar, I was wearing a sticker that said I was Kristen, from Sweden.

By the second bar we were all drenched, and I was now Connor from Ireland.  I spotted my own nametag in the mix, worn by a stocky, dark-haired English guy.  Free shots continued to circulate, and it wasn’t long before people stopped caring about being so wet.

Bar, nail game and book swap.

If getting wet, cycling, or crawling between pubs isn’t your thing, then stay in the Travel Shack, order a Bundy and coke, and have a go at the nail game.  I didn’t have much luck, but that doesn’t mean you

For more details, check with your Busabout guide, hostel, or just head down there when in Vienna.

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