The couch

Trip Start May 24, 2006
Trip End Aug 02, 2006

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Flag of Austria  ,
Monday, July 10, 2006

One thing that struck me right away in Vienna is that there is a lot of diversity, at least a lot more than I expected. There's quite a bit of Filipinos here as well as other Asian groups well represented - especially South Indian contingents. Also those that are apparently Austrian natives often appear to me the same as Hungarian. I suppose that makes sense because of the Hapsburg Empire but I was expecting a lot more German-appearing people.

Vienna was one of the places that could be easily excised in case of emergency on the trip. I wasn't particularly attached to visiting but thought it would be worth it to just take a peek. It's a very nice place to visit but I'm a bit underwhelmed and I think it has a lot to do with coming from Hungary. I was thoroughly surprised by all that Hungary had to offer, so coming to Vienna where I was expecting the world, I came out a little apathetic about Vienna. I'm sure if I had gone from Istanbul to Vienna, I'd be a lot more pleased with what I've seen. But the Hapsburg architecture and all the churches and museums are starting to become tedious rather than exciting. It takes something new to excite me. Vienna didn't give it to me. Vienna has so much though and I'm surprised I was able to cover so much ground in so little time. Yesterday I went through the very impressive Schönbrunn gardens. I spent a few hours there since it was the only site that I needed to see that was open so late. Vienna was definitely worth coming to for Schönbrunn gardens. It's one of the most impressive gardens I've ever seen. Definitely in my top five - along with Buen Retiro, Hyde Park, Versailles and the grassy area between the two mosques in Istanbul. That glorietta was nice and the fountains are the second best after Versailles. The fountains definitely made it real. The palace itself was very nice, but after seeing Peles in Romania, pretty much any other castle pales in comparison.

The main reason I came to Vienna, or at least what broke the camel's back was the Sigmund Freud Museum. I came and saw it, but it was so tiny. Just three rooms with a lot of pictures and historical documents. The explanations that they offered were extensive though and I ended up spending about three hours in such a small museum. Knowing a bit more about Freud's life gave me more insight on how he was able to think the way he did. The new things I learned about him were his friendships with other famous people - Marie Bonapart, etc, his interest in Egypt and its archaeology and religion, and also his religious background.

I think another reason why Vienna has not impressed is because its prices are close to American standards. When I was able to see Peles castle for two bucks with guided tour in English, it's very tough to be impressed by Schönbrunn for eight euros with only an audio tour.

I will not say that I regret coming to Vienna, but I wish I had come here first rather than when I had. It's very hard to ignore all the comparison sites and I've been very impressed with other places so far.
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