Braving the metro!

Trip Start Dec 20, 2010
Trip End Jan 01, 2011

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Flag of Austria  ,
Thursday, December 30, 2010

So today was a much better day for me.  After a good rest last night, I got up slowly and had a nice breakfast in my hotel.  I adjusted my attitude for a lower expectation.  I remembered that i had several tours in the last week and that it is ok for me to just relax in a new place until new year's eve.  Plus it's very cold here.

I made my way to the center by metro and found myself right in St Stephen's plaz in front of the cathedral.  as I exited the metro I found that they had built it right over old cool.  It seemed like going to the top of the bell tower would provide me with a few minutes of entertainment at a low key level.  The tower is 100 meters high and contains the largest bell in the world at 2800 tons...2800 tons!  wow.

Well I get a little jittery at high places especially when I can see through the flooring below me.  the views were great and I got some pretty good shots of panoramic views but I got cold and went down.  

Once inside the church, i went into the catacombs..There was a guided tour and pictures weren't allowed.  Anyway, once down the first level of graves, it was explained that the bodies in this area were of special importance to the church and deemed sacred.  In the next level were the royal family, oddly, there remains were divided with the main corpse in a casket and the internal organs in urns and jars to be paraded around during sacred holidays i n order to spread the sanctity....Down below, were the piles and piles of decaying bones of the common people.  Even these commoners were deemed of importance and were allowed to be buried under the church.  On some of the walls were depictions of ancient peoples committing tortures upon the less fortunate people.  Somehow, the church people believed that if you were poor you were from the devil and if you were wealthy and or supported the church, you were godly and therefore it was a good thing to torture these heathens into seeing the light.  Thank goodness we've learned to grow past that thinking.
   Beyond the next wall was an underground parking structure....Imagine building that! It was a very  interesting tour that left me again questioning the predicament of man...namely, who decided that it is ok to burn people?? and how did they convince the masses to agree... How did they decide on these heirarchies? and how did everyone agree???  It really bothers me 'cause i disagree and would have been tortured in those days.   Christians have historically proven that even if their belief is of peace, the system of power can easily be corrupted.  

Anyway, i digress. By now it is getting around 11:00 and the square is hustling and bustling with activity as the stages and booths are being set up for the New year's celebrations.  I actually ducked into a shop that was just opening in order to buy a sweater as I was still beyond cold.  I bought still more gifts for my friends and also a sweatshirt for myself 'cause I am so so so cold. A nice sweater of fleece in Navy blue emblazoned with VIENNA in giant red letters across the front.

I kind of worked my way through the streets aimlessly following the crowds but also wide eyed. Soon I found a philatelist's shop wher I found some really cool stamps...I collect stamps...I'm a geek.  I was thrilled to find some really rare stuff like a Johann Sebastian Bach from Germany commemorative stamp dating to the early 1900's and also a commemorative New years stamp from this year 2010/11 and it's 3d!!! Later I tried to find this shop again but it disappeared. 

By now I was getting hungry, so, I stopped for a nice lunch where i actually sat down and enjoyed some traditional Austrain food.  It was a spicy mix of sausages and dfferent breads that were smothered in cheese and baked.  there were several types of sauces on the side, I think related to mustards of different spicinesses. UMMMMM MMMM!! That will hurt won't it!

After lunch, I went back near my hotel, again using the metro!! (I'm always happy when I can get around efficiently in a new city) I had some business to attend to at the nearby pharmacy and they were extremely nice about my medical needs even if I failed to have the proper documents needed, I got my medicine. Actually, I had counted out the correct amount of meds before I left but somehow, in the confusion forgot one box at my apartment.  Oh well, no harm done.

Being so cold, I changed into yet warmer clothes and went back out to find the area called "Prater"  It is a large park with 19th century amusement park and an ancient ferris wheel that was built sort of to compete with the likes of the Eiffel tower in paris.  It is absolutely huge and the technology was state of the art for the day.  The original burned to the ground but it was quickly rebuilt.  Either way, the amusement park itself was a fun stroll and it made me feel young.  Here was also being set up for an obvious party in the next days to come.  Obviously, vienna would prove to be a good choice for new years eve.
On the way I found the art neighborhood that I had seen on my tour the day before.  It is a little Gaudi esk reminding me of Barcelona a bit.  It is actually a structure of apartments and shops taking up a bout a 2 block area.  In the center was a little plaza.  the whole structure was a bit hippy like, using assorted broken tiles and bright colors over very smooth but uneven surfaces.  To one side was a gift shop but once I entered it was a little mall with a bar in the center surrounded by little gift shops.  There was a sighn that said "Art Bathroom" needless to say I had to look at was unbelievable, only the Keith Harring bathroom at the gay center in NYC could compare.  I had to take a picture of the  bathroom even  if I got funny looks from the guys in there...

After a long walk through the park I made my way back to the metro station and on to my hotel and my room for  a "disco nap" before I brave the nightlife this evening.

For my evenings entertainment I was going to try the neighborhood just below the Nachtmarkt. it has many pubs and friendly bars.  I went out strolling the wrong way at first but then got into a recognizable area and felt better. I ducked into a bar for about an hour but it was picking up just as I was ready to head back home.  In a new city, I don't want to find myself stranded late at night in the dark alone...get it?

I don't want to be too tired for New years eve tomorrow night where i will be in the center. It looks like there will be festivities wherever I decide to go!!!!!

P.S. the subway is very conveinient and easy!!!  User friendly city..I like that!


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