Tricky Ricky, Shnitzelwirst & Turkish Top 40
Trip Start Sep 20, 2009
11Trip End Ongoing
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Having made it onto the bus in one piece, (phew!) we arrived in Vienna which was freeeeeezing. After seeking advice from our busabout guide as to how to locate our hostel (once again we had missed out on accom at the pickup/dropoff hostel) we ignored all of his advice regarding trains, taxis and decided to walk it, as when assessing the distance on our map, it seemed we had walked much further on our previous hostel-locating pursuits. However in retrospect, with the frizzling conditions; both wind and rain, the chilly gusts viciously blowing the rain into our eyes, perhaps we should have reconsidered...
Our scenic walk included about 30 different sex shops and strip clubs, even some with chicks sitting in the window, and here we thought we'd left all of that behind in Amsterdam...So clearly we were not in the nicest part of town, but at least it had character. Interesting given that Austria and Vienna in particular are apparently quite conservative and religious, 75% of the population are practicing Catholics..
Ah well, we got there 20 minutes later and were greeted by the rudest reception staff ever known to man. Incidentally, Lewey had read reviews on Hostelworld, about how the staff didn't give two hoots, and having experienced it, we can totally agree with the assessment. Three chicks all chatting for a good 5 minutes, while we stood with our packs on looking exhausted... biatches of the first order! Eventually after an arduous check-in, they half heartedly apologised for the fact that the elevator had just broken down. Thinking that it wouldn't be too bad a climb as our room was number 314, we assumed only three flights of stairs, we began our descent.... Seven flights of chunky stairs later, we were regretting our lack of exercise in Cesky Krumlov!
Our room was tiny and we mean Ikea tiny. Two itty bitty twin beds next to each other and a window, a mirror and a mini bathroom with the most kickarse shower ever, it was practically a luxury hotel to us! Dani tried to take a photo of how tiny it was, but couldn't as the camera didn't capture it. Put it this way, both our packs, still zipped up, took up most of the floor space. Having said that we didn't care, cause this shower was so impressive and even had its own really nice liquid soap, called 'Tricky Ricky', (freebies, bonus!!!) and we had two showers a day, just for the hell of it
Dinner that night was hilarious - we couldn't be arsed trying to locate the restaurants that we had been advised to check out as it was sooo cold (gloves and thermals getting a good use) so we found our way back to the main shopping street, Marienhilfenstrasse and got cravings for KFC (our guide had mentioned it on the bus, and it must have stuck in our heads...). We ventured in and managed to order, Lewey very disappointed that there were no chicken nuggets on the menu... and our disappointment grew when we saw the chips were like maccas ones, I mean the whole reason you venture out to Kfers is for the chips with sauce... Oh well, it really stung though when we handed over our hard earned Euros to pay, 11Euro (approx $20AUD) and it wasn't even that good. Lewey is still bitching about it, and he nearly lost it, when still peckish, we ventured across the road to McD's and saw we could get a jnr burger, or cheeseburger for 1Euro (cheaper than back home....).
The next day we vowed to eat some proper Viennese food and happily sampled two local delicacies.
We first ventured to a Schnitzel place called Schnitzelwirst, where the locals go, and our Dad's would have cried at the size of the Wiener Schnitzels we had
Well, our meal arrived, (we were ready with the camera this time!) the plate chock full of potato salad, cabbage salad like Dani's Mum makes with caraway seeds, roast potatoes and giant pieces of the best schnitzel we've ever eaten - totally shits on Limors, sorry guys.
The other couple's food also arrived then, they each had a giant plate of schnitzel (3 large pieces per plate) and the lady very kindly gave us some of hers to try - as it had a special garlic salsa on top
Dani managed to request the bill using her German (with the help of our trusty guide book of course), feeling like she was in a public speaking contest, very embarrassing, as we now had a waitress and two witnesses to her poor pronunciation. :)
It was good value though, for 10euro we both had oodles of food. Additional kilos here we come!
As we were leaving, Dani got out the language guide book to try and say thank you and goodbye in a more articulate way to our couple friends. The lady says to Dani, as we were leaving "aufweidersein", saving Dani the trouble, (I knew that's what it was, I've seen the 'Sound of Music', but wanted something more...I mean the woman had shared her food with us!!!!), and her husband says "bye bye", it was sooo sweet. Was a very nice experience after some of the nasty attitudes we've experienced lately, and people seem quite sweet in general here!
We tried to work off our food with a brief sightseeing trip to the Hofburg palace (huge!) and also the famous Stephensdom Church, Mozart's funeral was held there, and it is quite beautiful, we're not over all the churches yet..
Our chosen venue was a huge German diner called "Aida's", two levels of cake shop goodness (beat that Acland Street!), literally set out like an American diner with cute pink uniforms on the waitresses, who all had name tags with "Frau Betty" or "Frau Helen" on them - oddly formal. There were a few tables and chairs and lots of standing up areas to eat at. We managed to snag a spot and chose the local specialty of Sachertorte (Sacher cake) invented here a while ago, when the Hofburg King and Queen demanded that Austria have a special dessert, and a 3rd year cooking apprentice picked up the call and came up with whatever was handy. The cake is basically choc sponge cake with a layer of apricot jam in the middle and choc around the outside, was very unusual and tasty. Dogs seem to be everywhere in Vienna, restaurants, shopping centres, you name it and in the middle of the cake diner, were two ladies having coffee and cake, and we looked down, and there in one of their Louis Vitton gym bags, was a dog (and not a small Pekingese or something, a decent medium sized dog....), we must be bad people, if Dani had a Louis V bag, she certainly would not store Munchkin (her dog) in it
On our walk home from the train station (mastering yet another transport system, go us!!!) we discovered a giant shopping centre right next to our hostel, complete with supermarket, food court with yummy restaurants, we felt very Dubchecky as we had shelled out for overpriced KFC the night before (Lewey is still grumbling about it!)! We decided to blow off the markets the next day, feeling a bit lazy and hung out at the shopping centre, Dani unsuccessfully attempted some retail therapy, with Lewey reluctantly but patiently by her side. We chose to spoil ourselves for dinner/lunch and ate at a Turkish restaurant, tasting some of the best dolmades (vine leaves filled with rice) and good food in general, with lots of guys smoking like chimneys and drinking tiny cups of Turkish tea and coffee. Dani was thrilled to catch a bit of top 40 Turkish music clips on the tv - the fashion amongst many other things was most amusing... We spoilt ourselves rotten for dessert with a chocolate covered marshmallow in an icecream wafer cup, from a stall outside the supermarket and the jumping castle (yes guys, an actual jumping castle in a shopping centre, cool we know!) and it was sooo delish, Lewey got sticky yummy marshmallow all over his mustache.
The only downside to our yummy dinner, was coming home smelling like we'd been to the Marlboro factory, from all the smoke in the restaurant, but also in the shopping centre itself, as you can smoke everywhere
We felt a little guilty that we had gone through Vienna without really seeing that much, but it was sooo cold and although the idea of seeing the opera at the famous State Opera House, for a mere 5Euro was appealing, in order to get the tix you had to line up outside for 3hours, so we decided it wasn't worth it (and anyway, what would we wear darlink....?).
So that was it for Vienna, some other random highlights included hearing someone native actually use the term 'Sheisen' to describe his situation (classic!), getting a photo of an actual Wiener dog (sausage dog) in the land of the Wiener was pretty cool, and for the fifth time we got asked for directions (we're keeping count now as it seems to happen so often)...
Off to Munich via Salsburg, til our next installment, love to all around the world, we hope you're enjoying warmer weather, you lucky bastards!