That Sorta-Before-Sunrise Walk Around Vienna

About two years ago, I dragged my friend Robson to come do the ‘Before Sunrise’ walk with me in Vienna and his response was, “What is Before Sunrise, bitch?” And of course, I went to great lengths explaining to him about the love story of Jesse (Ethan Hawke) and Celine (Julie Delpy) which started with Before Sunrise (1995) then followed by Before Sunset (2004) and concluded (?) with Before Midnight (2013).

For those who are clueless, please watch the trailer here.

It was easy to convince my friend because he also wanted to visit Vienna and lucky for us, we can just hop on a bus from where we were at that time which was Szeged, Hungary to go to Vienna, Austria. We paid about  €12 for our 6-hour bus ride through Flix. Important note: The fair varies  depending on when you purchase your ticket and your travel dates, but I recommend Flix as they are always on time and their rates are quite fair.

Anyway, it was both going to be our first time in Vienna and so I thought using the movie’s route would be a good way to go. Hmmm. Now that I am reflecting on that trip, Robson’s end-of-day review of our walk actually made sense as we ended up jumping from one location to another and not really following a more practical path. Besides, we also got lost and ended up discovering places that were not part of our itinerary. 

So let me take you to our ‘Sorta-Before-Sunrise’ walk around beautiful Vienna.

1: Prater Park and Wiener Riesanrad

I cannot remember why we decided to start in this location but either way, it was significant as this was the place where Jesse and Celine shared their first kiss. It all happened in one of those cabin on the Wiener Riesenrad Ferris Wheel. No, we did not buy tickets just so we can get a ride but we did enjoy a cup of hot chocolate+breakfast which was perfect for starting our day.

2: Zollamtbruke Bridge

In the film, Jesse and Celine were walking from Westbhanhof to a green bridge, with a running metro line underneath, where they meet two actors who invited them to a theater show. This bridge was Zollamtbruke Bridge, but often interchanged with Zollamssteg Bridge.

3: While walking to the next location

While we were on our way to Kleines Café, we ‘sort-of’ got lost. Trust me, even with google maps, you can still get lost (either that or we are just bad at it). We knew that it was near Stephansplatz metro station but that was about the only clue we had. Anyhow, getting lost was to our advantage as we discovered interesting things and nooks along the way. (Not to mention that those park benches were very much appreciated as we needed to rest a bit. Tita woes here.)

4. Kleines Café

After going through the interesting maze of Vienna’s city center, we arrived in Kleines Café just in time for afternoon coffee (a badly needed afternoon coffee as we were freezing!) a.k.a merienda. We were about to give up looking for the tiny square where the café was located (the on-going construction also obstructed our view of finding it) but just as we were about to head back, viola! The small street café in Before Sunrise revealed itself. We took our time hanging out in this place. The atmosphere was so cozy and buzzing with guests conversing in different languages. 

5. Stephansdom

Since we were so close to Stephansdom (not included in my list of movie locations), we decided that we were going to head there after having coffee at Kleines Café. We have already wasted so much of our time trying to find the locations in the movie that it would be a bad idea to continue doing so. At this point, we had to be more practical because it was already getting dark and we had to make the most of our trip in Vienna. Besides, the main walking street, Stephensplatz, was already in the area and we got to ogle at shops too. 

6: Albertina

More walking led us to the location where there was obviously more Jesse and Celine kissing scenes, specifically on the balcony balustrade of Albertina. Even if you care less for the movie, the location is worth visiting as it is smacked right in the heart of the city and gives you full view of the amazing Vienna State Opera.  

7. Café Sperl

Do you remember that iconic phone scene in the movie? Well, this was where it happened. We busted our asses finding this place as we were determined to end the day (in time for dinner also) within our Before Sunrise theme and it was worth it. It was also good that we found it before the rain poured. The place looked exactly the same! Plus, the hot chocolate was what we needed and the food was delicious. Kudos to the man who warmly ushered us in and took care of our needs. 

So that’s that! I remembered repeating several times to my friend how I still cannot believe that I have finally visited Vienna and followed the Before Sunrise route (well sort of). We could not visit all the locations during that time but we did on our other trips to Vienna. Some were planned and some were discovered accidentally. I will reserve those stories in another article. For now, “Bis später!”

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