Friday, 8 September 2017

Newcastle in the Sky 2017 - One of the Best Lunches Ever

Anyone that knows me knows I'm a absolute lover of heights! So when I saw this amazing opportunity to go have lunch 100ft in the air with the amazing Newcastle in the Sky team. I knew I couldn't turn this opportunity down. 


I first heard of this amazing experience last year when I saw a Rachel from Life in Geordieland talk about it on her blog and I knew I would have to do this one day. It has definitely been on my bucket list ever since and when I saw the crane setting up at the Sage Gateshead I got extremely excited. 

The Events in the Sky Table
I was lucky enough to be asked to go up for lunch in the sky (4:30pm) with Red's True Barbecue. We arrived to a champagne reception (for some people I think it helped to calm the nerves) and this was where we got to leave our handbags and coats as they weren't allowed up in the air.  

After everyone had arrived we were given a quick briefing which explained what was going to happen and how getting strapped in to our chairs worked. By this point I was extremely excited and couldn't wait to go up. 

After our briefing we headed over to the platform and shown to our table which is a unique sky table and seats 22 guests with a pop up kitchen in the centre of the table. We were placed near someone we knew and I was very lucky to be spending the night sat beside two of my favourite blogging ladies Gemma from Gemmas Little World and Katie from Katie Jane Online

After being strapped into our chairs (which felt like I was about to go on a rollercoaster) by the Newcastle in the Sky staff we were introduced to our team for the night. We had 3 members of staff including Head Chef Anthony Hepburn from Red's True Barbecue which is a American style smokehouse restaurant chain, whose first site was in Leeds in 2012 and is also now has a location in Intu Eldon Square

Head Chef Anthony Hepburn
Head Chef Anthony Hepburn who has worked in the industry for 15 years and his team explained about the restaurant history and menu that we would be tasting up in the air. 

On the Menu for us was The Red Sky BBQ Platter:

St Louis ribs x 2 bones Pulled pork and cracklings
1/4 smoked cheese and jal sausage

Potato salad, Buttermilk slaw and Awesome foursome garnish. 

Cocktail: Red's Iced Tea

The Red Sky BBQ Platter

Red's Sauces
The food was amazing as you can see from the pictures above but I think the thing that I was most excited about was the view. I've always been in love with Newcastle and with the Quayside being one of my favourite places to spend my time I was excited to see it from 100ft. I was so excited that I even face-timed Mr M while I was up there! After a small amount of time I learnt that the chairs moved and that you would look out and see the Millennium Bridge it all its glory which I think was one of my favourite parts of the lunch. 


Like I said above I was lucky enough to go for Lunch in the sky but Newcastle in the Sky were offering a range of different types of sitting that you can do in the future. You can have Breakfast in the Sky, Lunch in the Sky, Champagne in the Sky, BBQ in the Sky, Dinner in the Sky and Finally Cocktails in the Sky. They range in prices and you can choose from a variety of restaurants depending on the sitting you wish to do. You sitting is around 45 minutes which is enough time to eat your food and to take in the beautiful views.

One very happy diner!
If you want anymore information you can check out the Events in the Sky website for more information or if you want to go on their mailing list to get first look at the 2018 timetable you can here

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Monday, 28 August 2017

Bodyform Black Daily Fresh Liner - #Bodyformblacklinerchallenge*

*This post is in collaboration with BodyForm 

Say Hello to the Panty Liner that might just make going to the gym even better.

I was challenged by Bodyform to trail out the NEW and First EVER Black Liner (Why is this only just happening in 2017). They were designed to be discrete in whatever you wear to the gym that might be black leggings or them colourful bright leggings that you just loving running in. I was asked to do a challenge and trial these the next time I exercised. You can read how I get on below. 

Photos taken by Michael Teasdale
Exercise has always been a massive part of my life from such a young age. From 13 years old till I was 18 years old I was on a trampoline 5 days a week training. When I went to college I really got into gym classes and wanting to build my upper body strength (that didn't actually happen) and most recently I got a job that involves me cycling pretty much 24 hours a day. As you can tell exercise has always been a huge part of my life but so have periods.


Photo by Michael Teasdale
When I was younger my trampoline coach was a man and as you can imagine feminine hygiene and periods was not something I wanted to speak to him about but because trampolining was my sport at school and I lived in a leotard most of my life it became a  subject that had to be talked about. I was lucky and had a great female PE teacher who talked to me about everything I needed to know including telling me how empowering periods were.

Photos By Michael Teasdale
When it came to this taboo subject it was subject she was happy to discuss and help me fully understand. I find it strange that it isn't talked about more on the internet and in society but I do know a few ladies and brands that are pushing the boundaries and discussing periods more and more. 

When I was younger I was very keen on using liners when I was training but the one thing I hated was that they were always WHITE, lets just say a white panty liner and a black leotard was never a good look then let alone now. Even when I stopped trampolining I used liners in the gym and they still were white which didn't always look great with my gym wear.

I won't lie when it comes to exercising I alway wear black leggings but I'm adding more colour to my gym wardrobe so when I got a e-mail from BodyForm asking me to be part of the #BodyformBlackLinerChallenge I jumped at the chance because this sounded like something that I needed in my life and Bodyform have always been my go to liner.


Who are Bodyform?

Bodyform are one of the leading feminine protections brands and are focused on helping women feel comfortable and confident. They want women to be able to live life and have nothing hold them back. They offer a range of products including uniquely shaped liners that fit any type of body and are products that actively care for you. 

Why do I love Bodyform?

Bodyform has always been my go to products when it comes to periods and feminine hygiene. When I got older and started buying my own liners I went for the cheapest but learnt very quickly that wasn't the way to do it. Thats when I found out about BodyForm and their large range of products that can be fitted to any individual. It doesn't matter what age, flow, occasion and where you are in your cycle Bodyform will most likely have a product for you. 



What is the #BodyFormBlackLinerChallenge?

BodyForm challenged me to take on their NEW Bodyform Black Daily Fresh Liners which are designed especially designed for black underwear and black leggings. I decided to take on the challenge but try it out twice with two very different types of exercises.

First up was a fitness class at my local gym and lets say I was impressed I felt extremely comfortable and definitely found that they moved well with my body. With exercises ranging from squats to push ups and even a bit of running around the park I felt that I definitely gave these black liners a run for their money and I was extremely happy and comfortable which is always a bonus when your sweating your backside off.

My second test of these black liners was on one of my many bike rides. If you read my last post (here) you will know that recently I've been cycling around 50 miles a week and it pretty much my life. So I needed a product that would be suitable for this and thought that the black liner would fit that job well. Well lets say it really did, I regularly commute to work on my bike so that was the first try out of the day and I didn't know what to expect but to be honest it actually felt great. I arrived at work and felt fresh and because I've never cycled to work and felt comfortable with a liner on for the main reason being is that they didn't stay in place but these did a great job of staying secure throughout two rides that day. 



Both times I've tried these liners I would say that I have never felt so comfortable in myself when exercising with a liner but also they made me not scared to wear my lovely tight leggings to the gym or on many bike rides. 

Overall thoughts on the Bodyform Black Liners?

I would recommend these to anyone. I don't think you even have to use them just for exercising. Remember that gorgeous little black dress you have in your wardrobe that you hate wearing with liners? This is your answer. What about the uncomfortable liners you've been using for years but can't be bothered to switch? It's time to change and I would definitely recommend the Body Form Black Liners.


*All these opinion are my own. 


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Monday, 21 August 2017

How buying a bike might have just changed my life for the better.

Bettie @ The Quayside
Have you ever bought something and thought this is going to change my life. Well let's say I didn't think that when I bought my bike, I knew it would make my life a little bit easier but I didn't think it was going to change my life this much. I bought my bike (which I've called Bettie) around about 2 months ago from Halfords in Team Valley and I went with a Carrera Subway 1 Women Hybrid Bike and with my British Cycling Membership card I got an extra 10% of the price. I'm super happy with it and I'm starting to fall more and more in love with cycling. 

I've listed 6 ways that buying a bike has changed my life and some of these are things I wouldn't have expected to happen. Some of these reasons are practical and some of them are more personal but all positive. 

1. INCREASING MY FITNESS

Before I bought my bike around 2 months ago, I would say that I wasn't at my fittest at all. I had lost interest in the gym and wasn't running because my knee couldn't handle the impact. When I got my new job I started cycling and I'm sure I hated most of it and was telling myself I hated it and that it wasn't helping my knee at all. That changed after I eventually bought my bike, after about a month I started to really see a difference in my fitness and in my knee. I wasn't just using my bike for my led bike rides but I was using it to commute to and from work and to meeting. I actually started to notice a different in my knee and my cardio fitness has improved massively, I went from doing less than 3 mile runs to do up to 50 miles on my bike.

2. SPENDING TIME OUTSIDE AND SEEING THE WORLD DIFFERENTLY

Everyone told me seeing the world on your bike was one of the best way to see the world and I have to say that seeing Newcastle on my bike has made me fall in love with Newcastle more. I've always been a lover of my home city but going to places like Tyneside Country Park and Wylam on my bike has made me fall in love even more. 

The best part of owning my bike is that I get to see more of Newcastle. I set a challenge on my personal Instagram (here) to take a picture of my bike in a different location every month but I really got into taking picture of my bike in different locations that I started an Instagram just for my bike. If you fancy checking it out and given it a follow I would be extremely grateful (https://www.instagram.com/melissasbikejourney/)


Bettie Down Ouseburn near The Tyne Bar

3. SAVING THE PENNIES

When I bought my bike I knew I wanted to try and save some money and I knew I could do this through commuting to work on my bike instead of on the bus. For the first couple of weeks I really struggled, I'm not the best morning person and being organised in the morning remembering everything for my bike wasn't working but I'm starting to be more organised the night before and commuting atlas 3 days out of 5. 

Since the beginning of August I've most likely saved around £48 in around 3 week which for me is great as I'm shocking at saving so I'm hoping this is will help me save more.

4. MEETING NEW PEOPLE + CONNECTING WITH DIFFERENT PEOPLE

Leading around 4 bike rides it kind of guarantees that I'm going to meet new people but I didn't think I would meet so many great people. I work with people of all ages and abilities and I love seeing them achieve the distance we do on the ride and even progressing from our absolute beginners rides to our social rides. 


Bettie @ The Cycle Hub

5. GIVING MYSELF SOME ME TIME

What I've learnt the most from having a bike is that, when you ride a bike you do a lot of thinking on your own. My favourite time on my bike is when I commute, its the time I'm all alone with my headphones in and its the 20 or 40 minute ride home or to work where the world just passes by and I am alone in my own world (but obviously watching the traffic). On the way to work it's time for me to plan what I need to do when I get in the office and on the way home its time for me to just relax and pace myself. 

6. GIVING ME SOME GOALS TO HIT + IMPRESSING MYSELF EVERY TIME

I stopped setting goals for myself while I was running because I was failing a lot but when I started cycling I didn't set specific goals but I was using the app Strava to track my milage. When I first started cycling on my own bike I would do on average around 25 miles a week but now I'm can cycle anywhere between 55 miles to 90 miles a week. I don't specific goals but I might set a goal of commute more then 3 days a week or reach 60 miles over the week or even I want to reach over 200 miles in 1 month. 

I never used Strava til I got my bike so had no idea how it worked but I think what I've loved the most is the trophy section and finishing a route and seeing if I've got a new personal record or maybe I've moved up a leader board. At the moment I'm number 1 for females this year on the leaderboard for the section 'Scotswood Road Track - Westward'. I've learnt that its more about impressing myself with what I do rather then setting goals and failing all the time. 


As you can see there many things that I'm extremely thankful for when it comes to my bike. I've started to enjoy exercising again and I've fallen back in love with Instagram again. I'm going to be putting a review of my bike up on my blog soon so keep you eyes open for that. 

Do you have anywhere you think I should head in the North East with my bike? If you have any advice for a new cyclist please leave a comment below as I love hearing from you guys. 




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Monday, 14 August 2017

Guest Post - The best laid plans of mice and men... MR. M'S JOURNEY TO THE 2017 GREAT NORTH RUN

In January Mr M wrote his first blog in a 4 part mini series all about his journey to the BIG Great North Run in September. Here is his 2nd instalment including a number of different experiences at a variety of races over the past 6 months. Keep reading to see how he is getting on. 


Remember the chest infection I was suffering from at the time of writing my first blog post? Well that lingered on for ages, to the extent that I didn't feel well enough to go out for my first run of 2017 until February 18th (a park run). Eight days later I completed the 5k Stroke Association Resolution Run with a still recovering chest and an ankle I'd rolled in footy training earlier that week. I was just relieved to cross the line.

Tara, Michael, Oscar (the dog), Emma and Sarah
That was the feeling when I crossed the line of the Freeman Fun Run in April. I'd only managed to run 20km total since the Resolution Run and this was a last minute entry when Melissa had to withdraw. Suffice to say going out for an Italian and drinking plenty of house wine the night before, combined with the temperature on the day and a sadistic route which climbed out of Jesmond Dene did not make it the most fun of runs. I did, however, cross the line in 7th place overall which is quite an achievement and one I doubt I'll ever match!
Freeman Run - Alison, Ay, Sarah, Emma, Michael + Oscar (the dog)
As April went on I built up the combined running/cycling distance (111.6 km) cycling to my new job or running in the lighter evenings after work. The regular footy season got under way with weekly training and matches to and with my first 10k  (Sunderland 10k) of the year on May 7th things were looking good, with the slight exception I was going to spend the first 3 days of that week in Amsterdam with some of the lads from footy...

Suffice to say the beer to exercise ratio of that week swayed wholly to the former. Despite my lack of preparation it still felt good to assemble on the start line of a major, mass participation running event again and when we set off it was pure fun swarming through the streets of my home city and crossing the Wearmouth Bridge (twice!) The week caught up with me pretty quickly though and I was suffering before I'd run 3km. Fortunately, and unusually for a 10k, there were 4 water stations along the route so that helped in some respects.

Since I started running I've found I always have something left for the finishing straight and this was no exception. I'd pulled out my headphones after crossing the Wearmouth Bridge on the return so I could take in the atmosphere and this combined with seeing the race clock approaching the 50 minute mark prompted me to kick extremely hard to get over the line before it. I had forgotten I hadn't crossed the start line for a good minute at the start and so was very, very happy with my chip time of 48:55, a mere 19 seconds slower than my personal best!


The following  weeks were a bit of a whirlwind as Melissa and me moved into our new flat and then jetted of to Vienna for a week (keep your eyes peeled for her posts on our holiday - here & here). Whilst I didn't clock up many km running before my next 10k I did get out on the bike a lot more, especially with the HSBC UK City Ride Newcastle taking place at the beginning of July. I clocked up a combined total of 163 km between the Sunderland 10k and arriving at the start of the Great North 10k.

 I felt much better prepared for the Great North 10k than the Sunderland City 10k, even if I had played a game of Aussie Rules the day before. As with the Freeman Fun Run it was another warm day and had there not been a water station at the start line I would definitely have struggled more than I did.
Michael, Tara, Emma, Tracey, Sarah and Kat
I got off to a good start and where I normally find I have to overtake several people within the first few km as I find a comfortable pace I had managed to position myself so that I didn't have to weave around slower runners.

As with the Sunderland 10k I seemed to be blowing quite early on and so the water at 4.5 km was a relief. IT's reassuring when on a route like this you hit the point it turns back on itself and it allowed me to take the SIS gel I had been saving for the second half of the course. I could've done with saving some of the water as it left my mouth surprisingly dry!

By the time I hit the base of the 'Slog of the Tyne' I didn't feel like I had much left in the legs and it took a lot of willpower to not slow to a walk at any point in the last 2 km, especially when climbing the 'Slog on the Tyne' itself. Once we were back onto the roads I realised it wasn't far at all to the finish line in Gateshead Stadium, and it was an incredible experience running through the gates and onto the track of the stadium with the crowds in the stand cheering runners on towards that finish line. As I rounded the track onto the finishing straight I opened up the taps even if it left me feeling like I was close to collapsing after crossing the line. I think I finished the bottle of water in the finisher's pack before putting the hard earned medal around my neck!

I hadn't given much thought to my finishing time as I knew how much I felt I was struggling. Melissa had been tracking my run using the official app and when she told me I had crossed the line in 48:33 I was delighted: it was a new PB by 3 seconds!



I'd been putting off any proper training for the Great North Run until after the Great North 10k so where do I go from here?

On Wednesday I've got the Durham City Run 10k (a last minute sign up) and then a two month break until the Gateshead Trail 10k. I've also signed up for the Great North 5k this year to accompany  Melissa. The pace will be slower for me so it'll be a nice warm-up for the GNR the following day. It'll be the first time we'll run the full course and cross the line of a run together so I'm looking forward to that.



The footy season draws to a close in a fortnight (with us playing in the Plate Final for a second year running!) which frees up my Saturdays and I can realistically can start doing weekly 'long' runs of 10 km building up to half marathon distance and maybe a bit more. I will also try run from work a couple of nights a week which is a distance just over 6 km and the majority of which is uphill. Hopefully all of this should leave me sufficiently prepared when I come to assemble on the central motorway on September 10th.

My next blog post should come in late August as I reach the final weeks of training for the GNR.


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Thursday, 13 July 2017

Vienna Travel Diary - Day 2


Well Hello and welcome to day 2 of my Vienna Photo Diary. I you haven't read my Day 1 photo diary, I recommend heading over (here) and see what we got up to on day 1. I think you'll start seeing a bit of pattern with these post and that is that I love royal history so when Michael said that we could head just out of the city to Schönbrunn Palace, let's just say I was slightly over the moon. Keep reading to find out more about things to do at Schönbrunn Palace.




Schönbrunn Palace was original the imperial summer residence for the Austria Imperial Family and is located around about 10-15 minutes from the city centre (on the train system). It's the main tourist hotspot so we knew that this was going to be a full day activities so we went for around 11am and spent most of the day there. Along with the tour of the palace itself, the gardens of this palace are HUGE and I could have sat here all day and not moved.
The mass scale of this building is eye opening. I remember just standing with a opened mouth because I don't think I've ever seen anything this big in my life. We decided to do the Grand Tour which was €17,50 and this got you in to the state rooms and private apartments of the palace. Like the Hofburg in my last post (here) you were given a audio speaker to hear all about the history behind the palace. 



The tour can take around 40-50 minutes depending on how interested you are in Austria Imperial history you are. I took in everything, if you know me you will know that I'm a absolutely lover of royal history it doesn't depend on what royal family I'm just fascinated. The tour goes into detail about 40 rooms in the palace and fascinating stories spanning 3 centuries. We headed in the Palace Gardens and like when I first saw the palace, I was amazed by the size and beauty of surrounding I was standing in. We decided in the morning that we would buy lunch in the city and bring it with us to save a couple of euros. We found a little spot and sat and took in the views around us. I think getting to take in the garden was a favourite part of my day and I got to see a squirrel (easily pleased can you tell).




What we learnt after we got our tickets was that if we had bought the classic pass we could have done even more in the grounds of the palace including Crown Prince Garden, Maze & Labyrinth (a part I would have loved to do), The orangery garden and the Gloriette with the viewing terrace. I would definitely recommend getting the Classic pass (€24) instead of the Grand pass as you can get do a lot more within the ground. 

We headed around to the Palm House and it reminded me of somewhere similar England with what the outside looking very Victorian and 18th century. Before looking further into the ground we decided to head up to the Gloriette, I was slightly gutted that we couldn't go up to the viewing terrace but the view from the Gloriette was stunning itself. 

Here we just sat and took in the view and the beauty of our surroundings, how couldn't we. 



The grounds has 32 sculptures and Roman Ruins dotted around including the Neptune Fountian and what was originally known as the Ruin of Carthage.
Roman ruins is not really what you really expect to see in the grounds but it was kind of like a treasure hunt to see how many sculptures and ruins you could find dotted around. You could feel the wealth that the Austria imperial had was known by the mass scale of everything they built. 

I definitely think I left a small piece of my heart in Schronbrunn, it was everything I could have expected from a imperial palace, I felt like I was in a movie and was prancing around like a princess for most the day. This is definitely a tourist hot spot but if you go early and take lunch and search the grounds you can definitely get away from the large groups. 




We left Schonbrunn around 3pm after spending a good 3 or 4 hours there. Michael had read online about a Ferris wheel that gave you great views of Vienna. We decided to head down straight from Schonbrunn rather then head back to the air bnb. 

After a short trip on the train we ended up in Leopoldstadt and headed to the Prater to go on Weiner Reisenrad (€9). Tickets got you a little tour of the history of the Ferris wheel and on to the Ferris wheel.

The carriages can carry about 10 people and you get around 15 minutes inside. I have to say it's nothing like the London Eye and it does shake a bit but it is 120 years old it still gives you great views of Vienna. We had wanted ti di when it was getting dark but we learnt that it didn't get dark till around 10pm so settled with around 4pm. 

That was day 2 of our little trip to Vienna and I have to say this day was definitely my favourite day. If you fancy being a princess for the day and if you love a bit of European history I would recommend spending as much time at Schohbrunn as possible. This day made me fall even more in love with Vienna. We had 1 more day left in Vienna, so keep an eye out for that post coming soon. 






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Tuesday, 13 June 2017

Vienna Travel Diary - Day 1


Everyone has a bucket list of places that they want to go to on holiday and one of mine has always been Austria, I really want to go to Salzburg so I can go on the Sound of Music tour but when Michael found cheap flights to Vienna which is on the other side of Austria I knew I couldn't turn the opportunity to tick it off my bucket list.


Austria is located in Central Europe with Vienna located to the east of Austria and is famous for it's cultural events, its imperial sights, coffee houses and the Viennese charm. With tonnes of history throughout the city with Imperial Palaces, baroque building located all over the city and beautiful gardens on your doorstep its a tourist heaven.





Monday was out first day and was maybe one of the most beautiful days when it came to weather.  We went to Vienna with a bit of a plan nothing huge but a few places we knew we wanted to see. Monday we ticked off one of the places that was on my list which was the Stephansdom which is one of Vienna's most prominent Gothic Cathedrals. Ever since I went Wroclaw in Poland I kind of fell in love with looking at cathedrals, so when I go to a new city in Europe I have to check out the cathedrals they have so much history behind them and they are some of the most beautiful building to be created in a lot of cities. Stephansdom didn't let me down it was beautiful inside and with holy mass being held while we were there the atmosphere was amazing. Back outside Michael attempted his best King Kong impression! 




After checking out Stephansdom and climbing to 
the top of the tower to check out the view of Vienna (which is beautiful to see) which cost us €4.50 for us this was the opportunity to spot out where we wanted to go and it was great to see the city from the sky. We decided to head towards the Hofburg Palace, I'm pretty sure Vienna is known for its stunning palaces, The Hofburg Palace is 1 of 3 main palaces in Vienna it is the former imperial palace and was home for the Hasburg dynasty and is now home to the President of Austria and lets just say this place is big. We decided to go for the Sisi-Museum and Silver Collection Tour, this cost us €13.90 each which I think is reasonable for the amount you get to see. The Sisi Museum was definitely something I won't forget, the exhibition has personal belonging of Sisi and the myths behind the Empress as well discussing here assassination, when you enter you get giving a little audio speaker which goes into dept all through out the museum. I'm a massive history junkie so I was in my element.







Vienna was hot while we were there on Monday it was 24 degree if not hotter. Michael had heard that the MuseumQuartier (Museum Quarter) was the place to relax and get some ice cream, so we headed up there. The MuseumQuartier was originally the imperial stables and now hosts 10 different museums ranging from kids museums to Theatre. In the MuseumQuartier we found a great little ice cream stall where you could buy maybe the nicest ice cream ever which was from Biosk. We decided to chill there for a bit before  heading up to see something that Michael was really interested in seeing. 










Vienna has 6 Flakturm which are above ground anti-aircraft gun blockhouse towers which were built around 1943-44 by the Nazis. These are dotted around the city in pairs and not been used since the end of the Second World War but Michael had found that one of these had been cleverly redeveloped into an Aquarium (Hans Des Meeres) and that you were able to go to the top for €5 (you do have to put a €10 deposit down for the keys) and again the views from here were amazing. This isn't one of them attractions that is huge with tourist so was quiet and great for taking pictures.







After a long day of discovering Vienna we decided to head back to our AirBnB which was located not to far from the city centre. Our AirBnB host gave use some great recommendation to get something to eat including Figlmuller which is well known for selling traditional Schnitzel (I'm going to talk about food in a different post so click here to find out more) it was on the pricey side but was highly recommended and it is very well known in Vienna. A lot of bars were closed because it was a national holiday but we found Roberto American Bar before heading back to our apartment to relax ready for our second day exploring Vienna... 









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