01.06.2008 - 04.06.2008
Vienna was a great city, lots of coffee houses and schnitzels. We visited another Cafe Central which was a favourite of Trotsky's and Lenin's while in exile; viewed the Schlob Schonbrunn, a royal palace; and wandered the streets. Vienna had a great atmosphere especially since the European World Cup was to be held there and heaps of construction work was being undertaken to prepare the city for the onslaught of 'soccer hooligans.' However, it wasn't all good as this meant that many streets and parks were closed or barricaded up but we still managed to get around.
We arrived on our first night with great dark storm clouds looming on the horizon, after I got us lost, Emily got us back on track after reading the map (I had a gut instinct it was that way though...). Once we found our hostel, another wombats like the one in Berlin (very professional), we set out to find some dinner at the place recommended by the super friendly bar maid. We were half way there when the heavens opened. This was a fantastic storm; thunder, lightning and big hail stones which kept us pinned for about 20minutes under a shop awning. When we made it to the restaurant (after a quick dash), sitting in the covered beer garden the storm struck again. In no time the weight of the hail was too much for the roof and the water started pouring down on the tables around us. Before we could get hit we quickly headed inside. This place was an experience simply for the service. The waiters were more interested in socialising via text message, with other waiters or smoking to be worried about serving us. While it meant it took ages to get the bill (a bit annoying) the attitude kind of summed up Vienna. A casual "we'll get there in the end".
One thing recommended by all the guide books was that we grab a coffee and the waiters would leave us alone to linger over it (again the lazy waiters). This would have been fine if the coffee was a little larger than a thimble. For the most part I was only able to linger for about two minutes and then was searching for a new one. Alas at 4 euro a pop we did not have that luxury. I am now starting to miss decent sized coffees! It's bound to become more interesting in Italy the land of the standing cafe. (I have since learned to handle the smaller servings but refuse to accept small gelato servings!)
The first full day we walked all over Vienna (around 10km all up) including a detour past "Kunst haus wein". This was a museum built by the artist and environmentalist Friedenreich Hundertwasser which now houses his works (as he has died). This was a really fascinating place. There were no straight lines, even the floor was curved and he was passionate about incorporating houses and apartments back into the landscape. He had created some models of what it would look like, it's the kind of thing the town planners in Canberra might think was a good idea but then decide on another satellite city developed by the creators of the smurfs (the houses are all the same). He also designed a new Australian flag, with southern cross above Uluru. It was ok, but being a typical European who believes the world actually revolves around Europe, he thought the flag should be flown upside down. Australian is down under after all. Why not throw skippy and a shrimp on a barbie for good measure?
We also went to a restaurant called Centimetre which was so called because they sold bread by the centimetre, also an actual wheelbarrow of assorted fried food, amongst other staples like beer. We had the schnitzels (as it was all we could understand on the menu) and it was the greasiest meal we have had yet. We have by now accepted that a few pounds might be put on over the duration of this trip, most in western europe.
By the way we have also been cooking in hostels, the night before we made a pasta, don't want to leave the impression of us swanning around the restaurants of Europe every night (just every second).
On our last night, in need of an escape from the reality of stinky dorm living (a dorm mate was riding a across Europe and smelt like he hadn't stopped until he reached our dorm) we went to see latest instalment of Indiana Jones. It was great, just as corny and unbelievable as we remembered well worth the effort! Reinspired by this adventure we left the next day to continue our own, onwards to Hungry!
There seemed to be many statues of bullies beating skinny dudes around the place
The artistic appartment block with no straight lines....
That is a coffee...?
The Palace was not really that exciting
A nice garden we had lunch in, only found it while trying to navigate the labrynth of FAN Zones set up for the cup.
I think She was asking him why he was wasting the water in the pot. Incidently this staute, perhaps a representation of how not to manage resources, was outside the Parliament...