Europe 2009 – Vienna Sights


I was awoken by the pleasant sound of the refuse truck dumping bottles from the recycling bin. This was about 6:30am. Not a bad time to get up, just not what my body wanted.[more] I laid around for a little while and then got up to do a little laundry. I’m down to my last pair of socks (Maybe I shouldn’t have left those other socks back in Prague). No big deal though. I just cleaned the rest in the sink and hung them up to dry. By tomorrow they should be fine and I’ll be set until I get to Bratislava, where I should have a washer in the apartment.

The mini-mart mostly sells fruit, meats and cheese. Not much for ‘On the Go’ eating. But I did grab a bottle of water. Luckily just another block down I found a bakery that had a great selection of pastries. So I got one berry filled item and a juice to go. There was a little park across the way to sit and enjoy my breakfast.

Heading off again I realized I forgot to grab my map of the sights. I guess I’ll just have to find them the old fashioned way. I headed in the direction I remembered the palace to be. I found it and the garden park behind it.

I would describe everything I saw here. But, to keep it short, everything is beautiful. There are monuments everywhere and great buildings with beautiful architecture.

My only problem is, just about everywhere you go they are remodeling the exteriors of the buildings. So you see a lot of scaffolding and protective mesh around the structures. Sometimes the mesh has an image of how the structure did look, sometimes how it will look and then, mostly, advertising.

I did find the main church in Vienna. It is huge and the inside is amazing. You can walk around most of it for free. There is a section in the middle you have to pay to go into. There is also an elevator up one of the bell towers. I paid the 4.50 Euros to check it out. You get a great view of the city and some up close looks at the architecture of the church itself. The bell is big, but not much else to see on it. I was up there at the top on the hour and I heard many other bells ringing around the city. But that one didn’t. I guess they don’t ring it while people are up there. I would imagine it is quite loud.

After leaving the church I wanted to try and find an internet connection. I found one outside a hotel. But there wasn’t anywhere to sit. So I just used my phone to update my facebook status and moved on. In the distance I could see a large fountain with a tall monument behind it. When I got closer I realized that all the writing around it was in Russian. It turns out to be a memorial to the liberation of Vienna from the Germans during WWII.

I could read most of it, but still need to look up a few words to understand everything it is talking about.

I then returned to my quest for internet and maybe a bite to eat. The only place I could find that had both was the Scottish hamburger place (McDonalds). I was really trying to avoid eating there but I wanted to check my email. Oh well, I guess I’ll have to make up for it with a real dinner.

In my quest to find different places I often just point myself in a direction and walk. I did that again after lunch and this time I think I went too far. I just kept walking in one direction until I realized I had been heading that way so long I really wasn’t sure how long it would take me to get back.

It took me about an hour to get back to an area I knew. I’m still about 15 minutes from the hostel and its 2:30pm now. I needed another break. So I sat myself down at a beirgarten and had a tall one.

I think I may have pushed myself a little hard today. My back is aching and my feet feel like I might be starting to get some blisters. I will need to stop at the drug store on the way back and see if they have any pads to put on my feet. The last thing I need now is to not be able to walk. As far as my back is concerned, I just need to rest it for a little while and it will probably feel better. I will have a good rest tomorrow since I will be on trains for a good part of the day heading to Trencin, Slovakia.

I got back to the hostel and laid down for a little nap. I was just starting to sleep when I heard this funny song playing. In my sleeping daze it took me a moment to realize it was my phone ringing. I missed the call, but recognized the number as one of my clients. I waited for a voice mail, but instead received a text with their problems. Dudes, I’m on vacation and you want me to give you international tech support. I called them and after a 10 minute (I can only imagine what that is going to cost me) conversation I convinced them that there was nothing I could do from my end and they just needed to do a little more troubleshooting before calling me back.

It was probably good that they woke me up, because if I sleep too long now I won’t get any sleep tonight. Since I can’t get Wifi in the room, I headed down to the commons room to see if any of the PCs are available. They weren’t, but one of the guys was heading to Bratislava the next day and I talked to him about the city. He was from Perth, Australia and said he had run into a few other Texans on his trip. Not too surprising. This is the best time of the year to get away from Texas. I imagine the population drops quite a bit in July and August.

When I finally could get online, I set in motion my reservations for Trencin and Bratislava. I hope I’m not too late with the Trencin hotel. I didn’t think the internet would be so scarce here in Vienna. I guess I got spoiled in Venlo and Prague. I’ll have to check before I leave to make sure I’m all set.

It’s time for my last real meal in Vienna. Once again I’m heading into the great unknown to see what I can find. The best part about just going out and searching is you’ll never know what you will find. I saw a sign for some passage through a building. I went in and found it was this old tunnel between two streets. It was lined with antique shops and at one end there was a fountain inside an atrium. Not something in the usual travel books I’m certain.

I headed back through the passage to where I was going originally. I passed what looked like a circus tent. But it looked like there were TVs inside. Continuing on I came across a cafe serving various Austrian/German dishes. I sat down and ordered the roasted Bratwurst and (of course) a beer. It was all very good as usual. But, I don’t know if I could ever get used to the European style of service. I appreciate not being asked a hundred times if everything is ok like in the US. But when my beer is empty I would think it would be obvious to ask if you want another and not wait for me to wave the waitperson down. It’s the same thing with the bill. I could see people waiting for tables. You would think they would want to get rid of me since I wasn’t ordering anything else. But I guess it’s just a culture thing that you have to get used to or grow up with.

After I finally paid my bill, I wanted to go see what was showing at the film festival. But other parts of my body were telling me I needed to sleep. So I headed back to the hostel to clean up and get rested before I head out again.

Author: Alan (Travelin' Al) Stiebing

Alan Stiebing has been traveling for over 20 years. He blogs and photographs his experiences and passions for and other digital and print outlets.

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