Hostel Staff Meeting

5th International Hostel Staff Meeting

Isn’t it great to work at a hostel? All the crazy shit you experience and the funny stories, but yet again there’s so much stuff you can’t share with people outside the hostel bubble.

Good news! wombat’s brings the bubble together for the 5th International Hostel Staff Meeting.

If you can make it for the 25th until 27th November.

wombat’s Budapest will be hosting this event and supplies a limited number of free beds available only for hostel staff.

If you work at a hostel or run one yourself, feel free to send an e-mail from your hostel account over to events[at]wombats.eu and we’ll do our best to squeeze you in.
It is going to be a beautiful opportunity to network and share the stories and experiences of hostelling.

Obviously this will turn into a crazy party weekend at some point, but we’ll try to let it appear as professional as possible.

Our lovely staff at wombat’s Budapest already arranged a walking tour, a Hungarian cooking session, a pub crawl and some other specials.

You’re definitely going to enjoy Budapest to the fullest, join us!

Check out the Facebook event!

Viennale – Viennas International Film Festival

Viennale 2013If you´re visiting Vienna these days you´ll have to face moody autumn weather. May be the best way to escape fog and rain is to take advantage of the Viennale, Austria´s most important Film Festival. Last year The Guardian commented on the Viennale: If the prime purpose of a film festival is to open up exciting new vistas and present work one is unlikely to see elsewhere, then Vienna in autumn is the place to be.So you obviously chose the right place to be.

The international Film Festival takes place since 1960 and offers a broad spectrum of artistic movies from around the globe. Many movies are shown in original language (subtitled in german). Commonly it is known for the variety of movies, serving the needs of main stream and more critical minded cineasts.

The Viennale 2016 takes place from October 20th until November 2nd. Participating cinemas are Metro, Filmmuseum, Stadtkino Künstlerhaus, Kino Schwarzenbergplatz and Gartenbaukino. All of them are places with a unique atmosphere and wonderful charme located in the city center. Every single one is easily reachable from every wombat´s CITY Hostel in Vienna. A special goodie is the retrospective in vienna´s Filmmuseum. The Viennale retrospective shows movies from previous editions of the festival. By the way, the Filmmuseum is worth a visit at an time of the year. For additional information, directions and most importantly the festival´s program check out their website www.viennale.at

 

free guides Budapest free walking tours Budapest

Welcome,

have a great time in Budapest and stay at wombat´s CITY Hostel!

Our reception staff member prepared some interesting guides for you, check it out!

24 hour guide Budapest

72 hour guide Budapest

We also offer free walking tours, more information at the reception.

your womcrew Budapest

womTip

 

72 Hours in Vienna – City Guide

72-hours City Guide

Vienna

Day 1: Encounter the old city

Never been to Vienna?

Well, it’s about time then.

There is a lot to be seen, and our tips how to see Vienna in three days may be a good start.

 
After breakfast, start the day with a tour of the Imperial Palace, viewing the private rooms of Emperor Francis Joseph (ruled 1848-1916) and those of his wife, Empress Elisabeth. In the Imperial Apartments, the Sissi Museum gives an insight into the life of the beautiful empress.

Certainly a must here: the Treasuries with the magnificent crown jewels.

Full-dress performances at the Spanish Riding School tickets must be ordered in advance.

Time for a little break? Drop into the dignified Demel cake shop, once a Purveyor to the Court (Kohlmarkt 14).

You can then continue to Judenplatz for a short visit to the Judenplatz Museum and the memorial in remembrance of the persecution of the Jews. You can also explore the maze of narrow streets where time seems to have stood still.

Now on to the oldest church in Vienna, St. Rupert’s (8th century), from where you have a nice view of the Danube Canal and Franz-Josefs-Kai. Climb up again to explore the medieval romanticism of Hafnersteig, Heiligenkreuz Court, the Jesuit Church and the quarter around Blutgasse, reaching on these winding paths the very centre of Vienna: St.Stephen’s Cathedral the city’s most famous landmark for just 850 years. If your feet will still carry you, climb the 343 steps of the south tower: the panoramic view is certainly worth it. (Guided tour of the cathedral at 3 pm)

Go for a stroll across Graben with the baroque Plague Column or in the famous Kärntner Strasse, both of which are lined with nice shops and cafés and street musicians or artists playing at every other corner. Walk through the pedestrian zone toward the State Opera and on to the Secession a magnificent specimen of Art Nouveau architecture that has just celebrated its 100th birthday. Take your time to study the Beethoven frieze by Gustav Klimt.

The buildings on Linke Wienzeile and the subway pavilions at Karlsplatz are more wonderful examples of Art Nouveau by architect Otto Wagner.
Roam across the Naschmarkt this produce market is a delight for all the senses – easy to see that Eastern Europe (or even the Orient?) begins in Vienna.

Before you plunge into Vienna’s nightlife, you may want to stop by at wombats for a little rest and enjoy the happy hour (6 – 8 pm, 9-10 pm and 12-1 am) in our famous wombar before you go on celebrating in the city… Check out the info wall for any parties and concerts!

Nothing more authentic than an evening at a “Heuriger – one of the wine taverns with gardens in the hilly outskirts, and the more plain and remote they are, the cosier the atmosphere. Therefore, don’t just try places in Grinzing but also in Sievering, Pötzleinsdorf, or on the other side of the Danube in Stammersdorf.

In the city centre, there’s still time to wander around the old town. If you feel up to it, finish the evening in the maze of streets called Bermuda Triangle (Rabensteig / Seitenstettengasse) where you find one bar next to the other.

Day 2: From Schönbrunn Palace to the Ferris Wheel

Take tram 58 to Schönbrunn Palace. Here you can enter the extensive gardens, where you are immediately faced with the beautiful palace. The famous glass-and-steel Palm House is a 5-10 minute walk through the gardens. Take a walk up to Gloriette where a spectacular view over the palace and the city awaits you at the café. Or you can visit the Zoo, the maze & the labyrinth.

In the palace itself, rent an “Audio Guide” for an individual tour through the magnificent state rooms to see the living and working atmosphere of the Habsburgs.

Now take the U4 back to the city centre where at first you can stroll across Karlsplatz with the Church of St. Charles Borromeo and Otto Wagner’s Stadtbahn pavilions.

Do I hear your tummy rumbling? Sit down in any cosy inn. On the Naschmarkt you can find nice little restaurants!

There’s the guided tour in the State Opera House: the grand staircase, marble foyer and red-and-gold auditorium are well worth seeing. Afterwards, you will pass the Hotel Sacher behind the opera – famous for its chocolate cake – and take in the Monument against War and Fascism by Alfred Hrdlicka on Albertinaplatz.

Not far from here (Neuer Markt/ Tegethoffstrasse), go down to the Imperial Burial Vault, the final resting-place of the Habsburgs’ bones. From here, take the city bus (3A) or walk through Annagasse to Schwarzenbergplatz, behind which rise the exquisite gardens of the baroque Belvedere Palace – enjoy a great view of the city centre from the Upper Belvedere, in which the Austrian Gallery has a permanent exhibit of works by Klimt, Schiele and Kokoschka.

After so much art and history, some diversion should follow. From the South Railway Station (Südbahnhof), the “O” tram-line will take you to the big amusement park in the Prater (Wien-Nord station) – or walk to Südtiroler Platz and take the U1 to Praterstern.
Try a ride on the Giant Ferris Wheel and taste some typical Viennese hot sausages with sweet mustard at a “Würstelstand” (sausage-stand). Or else take in a real meal at the Schweizerhaus, for instance Spiegelkarpfen nach böhmischer Art (carp Bohemian style) or Stelze (roast leg of pork). If you have had enough of the fairground hubbub, go for a walk along the Prater Hauptallee – a paradise for jogging, in-line skating or strolling.

Enjoy Vienna’s cultural life to the fullest – after all, Vienna is a center for theater and music: in addition to the traditional venues, musicals, and concert stages, there is a lively alternative scene with numerous cabarets and venues for live music – check out Jazzland, Joe Zawinul’s Birdland, or Porgy & Bess.

There’s a busy nightlife in the pedestrian zones around Stephansplatz until the early morning hours. No problem finding a nice streetside café or good entertainment in one of the many side streets.

 

Day 3 Special Tipps

Now that you’ve seen quite a lot of Vienna already, you should have an opportunity to set your own focus of interest
But before that, a little tour of the Ringstrasse:

After breakfast, take your constitutional through the Burggarten Park across Heldenplatz and into the romantic Volksgarten Park where the Art Nouveau memorial to Austria’s most famous empress is a must for all fans of “Sissi”. Opposite the Volksgarten, there is the Parliament with the Athena fountain. Or have a refreshing walk through the cool Rathauspark past its many fountains, statues and exotic trees.

Facing the Vienna City Hall, there is the National Theatre – its programme is always a controversial discussion matter among the Viennese. Treat yourself to a Melange, Vienna’s most popular coffee variation, at Café Landtmann, a fashionable meeting-place for theatre people and politicians from the nearby government buildings.

The tour ends at the University Building and the picturesque neo-Gothic Votive Church behind it.  Now plan the rest of the day according to ideas of your own… care for a few suggestions? Interested in whimsical architecture? Then go and see the Hundertwasser House (Kegelgasse/Löwengasse) – a “somewhat different” council house. More of this eccentric building style can be seen in the nearby KunstHausWien (with a permanent Hundertwasser exhibition).

The House of Music (1st district, Seilerstätte 30) is imaginative and unconventional; it presents musical highlights and visions, history and entertainment, according to the motto: “Your ears will be amazed.”  Friends of classical or modern art can make a selection from many museums, exhibitions and galleries – for instance, the Museum of Fine Arts (Maria-Theresien-Platz) with its great collection of the old masters, in particular the Bruegel Room.

Vienna’s MuseumsQuartier is a spectacular cultural complex located on the fringe of Vienna’s old city and one of the world’s nine largest museum districts. It is a sensational blend of revitalized baroque architecture (the former court stables) and impressive modern edifices.

The new cultural district comprises the chalk-white Leopold Museum in the new section, the Museum of Modern Art shrouded in dark-grey basalt, the Kunsthalle, Halls E und G (Vienna Festival, Dance Centre), some restaurants, the Architektur Zentrum Wien (Vienna Architecture Centre), the Zoom Children’s Museum, the Dschungel – a children’s theatre and experimental areas for cultural initiatives.

 

womTip

Interested in ART?

 

“Westlicht” > smaller art gallery famous for their exhibitions, check out > http://www.westlicht.at/

just 6 minutes with the tram tram 5 (direction Praterstern) from Westbahnhof) to

Kaiserstraße/Westbahnstraße, from there ist a 2 minutes walk to Westbahnstraße 40

 

womTip

Spittelberg:

 

From MuseumsQuartier few streets further on, a charming blend of restaurants, shops and crafts businesses has evolved there.

 Dip into Vienna’s young and creative scene – the gamut runs from interesting shopping offers to trendy art and a lively nightlife.
The city’s old building stock, which was barely damaged during the war, has been carefully renovated and modernised. Now there are many lovely streets with the charm of ages past which can be explored during the daytime or in the evenings – apart from the 1st district, especially the 7th (Spittelberg Quarter) and the 8th (Josefstadt) can be recommended.

                        

womTip

English Theatre

 

check their homepage for the latest program.

Vienna’s English Theatre is the oldest and most established English-language theatre in continental Europe.

Take U3 Underground line (direction Simmering), go out at Volkstheater, from there  you can go for a walk about 10 minutes Josefsgasse 12 in the 8th district.

 

womTip

Vienna CITY OF MUSIC > Collection of Ancient Instruments

 

Admire the instruments on which such musicians as Beethoven and Chopin once entertained the imperial family. Here, in the Collection of Ancient Instruments in the Imperial Palace, you will also find the zither on which Anton Karas played his world-renowned melody for the film “The Third Man.” Open Wed – Sun 10 am – 6 pm Take U3 Underground line (direction Simmering, go out at “Volkstheater”, from there its just a 5 minutes walk to Kunsthistorisches Museum.

 

womTip

The Central Cemetery

 

with its honorary tombs for numerous prominent artists and politicians and with its Art Nouveau church is a special kind of “museum”.

 

If you found anything that should be changed in this city guide or had a good time using our 72 hour city guide to Vienna let us know. Just tell your receptionists.

HAPPY TRAVELS

New Year´s Eve in Berlin

New Year's Eve in BerlinOne of Europe’s largest open air parties  is celebrated on New Year’s Eve in Berlin, between Brandenburg Gate and the Victory Column. Together, about one million people await the beginning of a new year.

New Year’s Eve in Berlin

On New Year’s Eve Berlin invites its guests and residents to celebrate the beginning of a new year with a great open air party. Each year bands and DJs attract about one million people to party along the “Straße des 17. Juni”, between Brandenburg Gate and Victory Column until the early morning hours of the 1st of January.
At midnight a massive firework marks the start of the new year.

New Year’s Eve between Brandenburg Gate and Victory Column

The party area comprises two kilometres from Brandenburg Gate along the “Straße des 17. Juni” until the Victory Column. The festival programme includes music acts, international stars and performances, light shows, food from all over the world as well as the famous firework. The party has no definite ending.

Security Checks at the Entrances

At the entrances of the festival mile security checks take place. Any kind of firework is strictly prohibited. Pointed and sharp items as well as items which can be used as weapons, are not allowed to be carried inside the party area. The same counts for glass bottles and big bags.

New Year´s Eve at wombat´s

If you don´t want to celebrate New Year´s Eve among millions of people and you are one of the lucky persons staying at wombat´s CITY Hostel Berlin, the roof terrace and bar might be the place to be. You´ll have an amazing view over Berlin´s city center and our wombar offers drinks at reasonable prices, specials and Happy Hours.

For more Info on New Year´s Eve in Berlin visit https://www.berlin.de/en/events/2947764-2842498-new-years-eve-party.en.html

New Year´s Eve in Munich

Tollwood Festival Munich

The Bavarian capital Munich, or München to the locals, is one of Germany’s busiest cities when it comes to celebrations. People are on the streets for New Year´s Eve in munich and celebrate in public with their neighbours, with large scale fireworks displays held across the city, lighting up the skyline as midnight strikes.

Munich is often reduced to the consumption of german beer and sausages, but the New Year´s Eve in Munich has more to offer. The big event in Munich over the holiday season is the famous Tollwood Winter festival on the Theresienwiese. The festival actually starts earlier in December and incorporates live entertainment including live music and circus acts before actually ending in December 31st with a last final big party and fireworks display at the  Tollwood New Years Eve Party “Silvester on the Beach”.

It is the biggest New Year’s party in Munich and boasts 5 huge areas enclosed in tents with a wide range of live bands and DJs including Independent, Rock, Alternative, Latin, Salsa, Reggae, Hiphop, Funk, Soul, Disco and boogie. Away from the Tollwood event, crowds gather at various points across the city to watch the famous midnight fireworks displays. Popular vantage points include Englischer Garten and the Bayerischer Hof while the area around the Friedensengel peace angel offers fantastic panoramic views of the city.

The Olympic Park and the city’s iconic Marienplatz also attract large numbers of visitors, with the latter in particular enjoying a thriving trade in it’s many bars and restaurants throughout the evening.

If you are searching for a good place to start and end the party, we´d recommend our wombar at wombat´s CITY Hostels Munich. With specials, cocktail and beer happy hours and reasonably priced drinks all evening long the vivid wombar might just be the place to start.

See also:

http://www.newyearsevelive.net/cities/munich.html

http://www.tollwood.de/

 

Discover Berlin

Berlin. So much history, so much to see and do. Berlin is my favorite city in Europe and every time I go back, I love it even more. Walking into the wombat’s there gave me a sense of familiarity, as it has the same look and friendly feel as the one I’ve been to in Munich. The location is also as equally convenient, right by a tram and train station, Rosa Luxemburg Platz. Helpful staff, clean rooms, and an awesome rooftop bar with great Happy Hour specials!

Knowing backpackers are on a budget, the front desk gave me some excellent suggestions on free stuff to do around Berlin. The first night there, however, I headed up to the bar to check out the view and make some new friends. With a free pool table and 5 EUR pitchers, that wasn’t very hard to do. 🙂

My new wombat’s friends and I decided to go on the Alternative Art Walk the next day, which was one of the recommendations wombat’s gave us. We met in the Lustgarten at 11:30am (not too early after a night in Berlin!) and the guide started telling us about the street art culture in Berlin. We went all around the city and looked at sculptures, graffiti, countless murals, and ended at the East Side Gallery, the longest section of the Berlin Wall still remaining.

We realized how often we walk around a city while touring and don’t actually SEE a lot of what is there, right in front of us. For the next few days, I started noticing all the art on buildings, street signs, shop windows, etc., that I wouldn’t have looked for before this tour. It was really informative and a cool way to learn about the artistic, edgy Berlin culture.

A friend and I also decided to check out the tour of the Reichstag (German Parliament building) dome, which is also free. The only drawback is that you have to make a reservation in advance, which we stood in line to do for about 30 minutes. It was worth it, though, and taught us a ton about the history of German government. You can see all the important landmarks from the top of the dome, which the tour points out as well.

Getting some really good use out of my boots, we walked all around to discover Berlin, visiting the Holocaust Memorial, the Berlin Cathedral, the Brandenburg Gate, and the Otto Weidt Museum (all free). Luckily there are street food stands with Glühwein (warm spiced wine) and Currywurst (a Berlin favorite) everywhere along the way!

Lastly of my free excursions, I decided to go to the Topography of Terror, which is more of an exhibition than a museum. It’s intense, a lot of reading, and a lot of disturbing Holocaust imagery. It’s worth a visit if you are interested in learning more about the dark history of Germany during World War II.

For those who are lucky enough to have a smartphone while traveling, the Berlin transit app, “BVG”, was incredibly valuable. You can simply put in your destination and it will give you a timetable and route using bus, tram, train, or a combination of the three. I bought a 7 day transit pass for 28 EUR, which was valid for any form of public transit. Berlin is big, so it was worth it since I was there for so long and covering a lot of ground.

As for nightlife, there are a thousand options due to the diversity of people in Berlin. I would tell the wombat’s crew what kind of party/event you are looking for, and they can point you in the right direction. Just be prepared for a late night because I don’t think the bars ever close! If you are there during late November/December, be sure to stop by the Christmas markets for some food, warm drinks, and shopping, there are several scattered around the city.

Overall, another great experience in a colorful, historic, and extremely diverse city. Yep, Berlin is still my favorite.

Happy travels!

Kiraly utca Budapest

NYE in Budapest

Kiraly Street is the place to be in Budapest! All the restaurants and ruin pubs are a couple minutes walk from wombat’s in Budapest, making this location absolutely ideal. As I walked into the lobby, I saw a diverse group of backpackers playing pool and a few sitting at tables looking at maps, no doubt deciding where to go next. What a cool traveler community this is!

I got to Budapest by train, so ended up taking a metro line to Kiraly street where I then walked to wombat’s. Travel time from the train station was approximately 10 minutes, and I had no problem finding it based on website directions. Just don’t forget to exchange your money as Hungary’s currency is the Forint, not the Euro.

At the reception, wombat’s also suggests a few free walking tours, which are a great way to see the city. I walked 90% of the time, even though it was winter, to get where I was going. I would suggest taking a few hours to go through The House of Terror, a museum that details both the Nazi and Communist eras in Hungary. The building itself was the headquarters of several of these groups and it held many political prisoners. Very intense, but interactive, educational, and worth seeing.

In Budapest there are events called Sparties, or “Spa Parties” at the thermal baths. It is basically a thermal bath turned into a nightclub, complete with drinks, mist, lights, and music. Even though clubs aren’t typically my scene, I had to do it for the experience. I bought a ticket for the New Year’s Eve Sparty and it was definitely fun and different, and something I haven’t seen anywhere else in the world! Being winter, it was cold getting out of the pool, but I would imagine in the summer it is just perfect.

Lastly, other than all the obvious historical sights, I highly suggest going to a few ruin pubs. My favorite was Szimpla Kert, a popular ruin pub about 5 minutes walk from wombat’s. It has an outdoor area for hookah, and several rooms full of random decorations. Don’t worry if there is a long line, it moves extremely fast!

My experience at wombat’s in Budapest was awesome and I can’t wait to go back! Budapest is definitely one of those cities that has fascinating historical sights mixed with fantastic food and nightlife. I will definitely be back!

Christmas market at Vienna city hall

Christmas in Vienna

Christmas away from home can be hard for some people. Fortunately, wombat’s Vienna did everything they could to make it feel like being home for my holidays last year. Upon arriving on Christmas Eve, there was a nice Christmas tree, and Christmas cookies at reception. I love Christmas cookies, so this already made me extremely happy!

Wombat’s Vienna Naschmarkt is a stone’s throw from the U-Bahn station, making my walk through the Austrian winter extremely short, which I very much appreciated. There is also an open air market right across the street, which has dozens of shops to buy warm food and groceries. After I checked in, the friendly staff gave me two free drink tickets (bonus!) and informed me that because it was Christmas Eve, they would be serving a warm punch at the bar tonight for free. Who needs presents when you have warm punch?

I decided to go on the free walking tour wombat’s has the next day. It was extremely cold out, but there was still a big group bundled up and ready to go! Our tour guide showed us around to a lot of the local sights, and I made friends with a few of my tour buddies!

Vienna is a beautiful, charming city and happens to be home of the original Wiener Schnitzel! There are several restaurants that specialize in schnitzel, so I would advise to do your research to decide which one to go to! Figlmüller seems to be the most popular, but make sure to make reservations in advance, as it fills up very quickly! I would also recommend enjoying some delicious Viennese coffee while you are there.

Nightlife it pretty diverse in Vienna, so I asked the wombat’s staff where to go based on my preferences. Turns out Christmas in Vienna has some special options in terms of nightlife. They had some great insight and made some recommendations that turned out to be just what I was looking for. I also spent some time at a couple of the Christmas markets, which are my favorite part of Europe in December. Nothing beats a mug of Glühwein (warm mulled wine) when its snowing outside.

It was cool to finally visit one of the original wombat’s on my trip around Europe. There is definitely a wombat’s theme, but each location has their own local flare. The most common similarities though, are the fantastic locations (both to public transport and activities) and the amazingly friendly staff. Thanks for making my Christmas in Vienna one to remember!

wombat's London Bar

wombat’s London

As a native English speaker, I was confident arriving in London that even though I’d never been there, I’d be able to figure out the train system. I was right, it is very straightforward and also has a smart phone app to help you figure out which trains to take where! The new wombat’s hostel in London is located very close to public transport making it super easy to find.

After getting off the tube at Tower Hill station, I noticed the magnificent medieval building right in front of me. What a great first impression. It was the Tower of London, a historic castle located on the north bank of the River Thames in central London. Upon arrival at wombat’s (about 10 minutes by foot from the station), I instantly felt at home. They have such an inviting lobby, with chairs and cushions, outlets everywhere, a luggage room, and smiling staff.

At reception I was given a booklet with a map of London and an incredibly helpful list of recommendations for sights, shopping, eating and drinking around town. After settling in, however, I headed down to have a drink at the womBar in the basement. WOW. This is by FAR the coolest hostel bar I have ever been to! The brick archways and unique decor give the bar a very cool, kitschy feel that I really enjoyed. The kitchen is also connected and is huge and fully stocked with cookware. I had my first pint of proper English Ale and started chatting with the other travelers, who were also having a great time.

As for the location, not only is wombat’s London close to a tube station, but it is also in the East part of London, which has a really cool bar scene. It’s outside of the Financial District, so in my opinion, more compatible with backpackers’ style. The bars here also stay open later than most, which is a bonus! This is also where all the Jack the Ripper tours start, because the East is where the murders took place.

There are several other free walking tours (with expected tip at the end) and countless tours that cost around 10 pounds. I highly recommend the Free Jack the Ripper tour as well as the Free Royal Tour which meets at The Churchill statue in Parliament Square.

If you are looking to see, eat, or drink something specific, the wombat’s staff are the best people to ask and have never steered me wrong. I have no doubt this new womBaby will become one of the most popular hostels in London in no time!w