Vienna 3: Another day, another Starbucks

Trip Start Nov 01, 2007
Trip End Mar 01, 2008

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Flag of Austria  ,
Monday, November 12, 2007

It's sad when you're in Europe and one of the highlights of your day, for a second time, is Starbucks.  Apparently, Vienna and I do not click.  I woke up this morning to sun, which went away and turned to snow immediately upon me leaving the hostel.  My new roommates from Korea (who only speak Korean) clearly do not understand the concept of closing the shower stall door when showering, and I conducted my morning routine in at least half an inch of standing water.  I can't complain too much though...the US study abroad students woke up to find their ~60 year old roommate videotaping everyone in their room sleeping.  They decided to leave today.

So anyway, back on track...  In an "I'm a cheapass student" moment this morning at breakfast, I snagged an extra roll and some Nutella packs (enough to keep me supplied for a while).  I'm eating one right now in Starbucks.  So taking Lauren's suggestion, I headed to St. Stephens this morning to take a tour of the catacombs.  They were really cool!  I loved the old sections, where apparently they just filled rooms to the ceiling with bodies of commoners.  They had to stop when the stench got too bad to celebrate shit...that was after 11,000 people had been decaying for 5 years.  I can't even imagine.  The other cool room was where they dropped plague victims down this pit.  You can look down to see the desheveled pile of bones.  The final room had been rearranged by prisoners.  To make more room, they unbacked the old bodies out of their coffins and stacked the bones into organized categories.  It seriously looks like piles of firewood, and extends ~10 ft upward.  Gotta love the Austrian sense of organization...all the femurs are put together, the pelvises are neatly stacked, and the skulls are thown into the center.  When I left the church, it was still frigid (5C according to the sign on the OPEC building).  I wandered, looking for a reasonable place to be inside.  All of the cafes were attended by white coated waiters, and looked way too fancy for me.  I went to one place to try apple strudel (it was decent...nothing special...) and got told that it cost extra to stand at the bar to eat what I had bought from the counter (apparently to-go).  C'mon, I had just paid 3 Euros for this not even delicious apple thing.  I kept wandering, seeking a decent restaurant for dinner.  All the ones I saw touted their gorgonzola-filled pork schnitzels...can you say heart attack?

I did manage to thaw in a bookstore for a bit, looking for a travel book on the middle east.  No dice.

I decided to give cultural Vienna another chance, and went to a museum.  Plus, it was warm inside.  I looked at the prices...student ticket 3.50 Euro...excellent!  I passed over my ISIC card, the lady handed me my ticket and said "10 Euro".  What the hell?  I pointed out my student card, and asked about the price.  "Only for less than 17 years old."  I tried to reason with her, pointing out that the poorest students are usually in college, and always older than 17.  No luck.  I muttered something about age descrimination and told her that I didn't want the ticket.  Apparently, that was not possible since I had already been handed the ticket.  I just walked out.  Stupid Vienna.

Now I'm in Starbucks with all the fat, map unfolding, camera toting, American tourists.  At least they don't charge me extra to sit here.  The 4 Euro small coffee is worth it just for that.  Tonight, sushi or Indian food...anything as far from schnitzel as possible.  Tomorrow, Cairo!  Hopefully I will no longer need the crutch of Starbucks.

Late addition to today's update (post Starbucks):

I decided to give Wien yet another chance.  I resolutely left Starbucks and headed for the Hapsburg treasury.  The lady said that they were closing soon and that it wasn't worth it to go inside.  Strike 1.  Next, I went to find Indian food.  Walked for 30 minutes, and it didn't open until 6.  Strike 2.  Decided to try the opera: standing room tickets are 2 Euro.  I got there semi-early and claimed a spot where I could see most of the stage.  The opera house was really beautiful.  Very aristocratically European.  There were little screens that translated everything into English (my feeling is that opera should not be translated...the plots are too pathetic to actually want to understand what's going on).  The opera started, and I was good for about 10 minutes.  Then my feet started to hurt, so I sat down on the ground and promptly passed out.  I woke up 45 minutes later...some uncultured American in jeans probably snoring on the floor...when some singer started her screaming, but by then it was intermission.  I decided to leave and went back to the Indian place, which redeemed my evening.  I ordered lamb curry, saffron rice, and naan too take back to the hostel (I hate eating out alone).  Got back, ate, had a beer, and slept.  Tomorrow, Cairo!
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