Saturday, September 15, 2007

Vienna: Day 1 (Long day)

Long day.  Ride and shine, Portland Standard Time at 4:30 am.  4 hours to ORD.  2.5 hours wait.  8 hours to Vienna.  Add in the extra 9 hours and you lose a whole day.  Leave Tue morning from the Pacific coast and arrive Wed morning in Vienna.

Flight from ORD to VIE was surprisingly good.  I got a kick out of the flight attendants red uniforms.  Of course, a majority were blondes with strong Austrian accents.

The food was also surprisingly good.  We were happily presented with a menu.  With two separate times to be served.

We used real silverware on real plates.  Gotta love the recycling impact.

Cool movie, music, games were available in each headrest.  Saw Shrek 3 and Spiderman 3.

Once we landed it was time a little struggle to get out of the airport.  Luckily most signs are in both German and English.  We waited forever to get the 3 day pass for the transit system here in Vienna and then got confused trying to figure out if we should take the express CAT train, the bus, the S-Bahn or U-Bahn.  We did meet a couple interesting English speakers.  A woman from Chicago who was on some kind of spiritual journey through Czech Republic and another from England.  Once we found and boarded the correct train we couldn't help but notice all the graffiti.  In fact, it wasn't until later that evening that I really found the vibe of this town.

We were also struggling with out choice of travel bags a little.  We decided to use the Rick Steves bags.  They have no rollers and are meant to be used like a backpack.  Well I could see Heidi was struggling and I felt bad.  Once we were on the cobblestones in Vienna I can see the point where rollers might be no good but they sure would have been handy in the airports.

We did get a cool room.  It's in the old old old part of Vienna.  The one that used to be surrounded by castle walls.  So you know it's old.  I felt like I was in an episode of the Bourne Identity. 

Then we went strolling around around.  The architecture is very cool.  Lots of statues and ornamental things on buildings.  The roads are non-symmetrical, narrow and a mixture of pavement and cobblestone - including the bike lanes! 

We just wandered and ran across some interesting stuff.

After walking abit we got hungry.  We happened across this place called Trzesniewski.  THis is a Vienna specialty; finger sandwiches.  You basically walk up and pick out what appears to be a single slice of bread covered in a spread of different kinds.  Cheap.  Fast.  And damn good!  Check out the little sandwiches and small 1/4 liter of beer served in a little mug!

We then walked some more and found our way to this large old church called St. Stephens.

We noted it was interesting the woman begging with their children right at the entrance and exit from the church.

Then our jet lag started to catch up.  We headed back to the hotel at 2pm and crashed for 4 hours, showered, and headed back out for dinner and some drinks.

We were recommended the Ofenloch and ran into this nice couple.  We were actually seated next to them in the same booth you see below.  Very friendly and helped us with a couple sights to see.  Their English was bad but that gave me plenty of practice with my German.

After that we headed over to Brezel-Gwolb for some after dinner relaxing.  Had this cool beer called the Raudel? which was beer mixed with fruit juice.  Heidi had the local Vienna white wine.  The interior was old and built upon Roman ruins.

After that is back to the hotel to sleep.  What a long day.  Just after midnight here and it's only 3pm back home.

Auf Wiedersehen.

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