Vienna (Wien)

Trip Start Oct 06, 2005
Trip End Oct 25, 2005

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Flag of Austria  , Vienna,
Sunday, October 16, 2005

I got in several hours before Deanne, who was flying into Vienna from Brussels after a conference.  The pension checked me in to a large apartment like suite and I set out walking.  Our place was near a trendy shopping street, MariaTheresian Strasse.  A slice of pizza cost me $5.50. Ouch. I'm not in Bratislava anymore!  I wandered down near the Karlsplatz subway station, which is an art deco station designed around the turn of the century (the last one).  And it's next to a cool Baroque church called the Karlskirche.  I say if it ain't baroque, don't fix it.

Deanne arrived after 9 and we headed out for a late dinner at a Lebanese place. Don't know if it was our bad translation or a tourist ripoff, but our small sampler plate we ordered was a huge tray of 4 types of meat.

The next few days were spent on the museums and walking and taking trams.  Like Prague and Budapest, Vienna wasn't damaged too much in WW2 and so the fine architecture remains.  Those Hapsburgs of the Austro-Hungarian empire reached their zenith in the late 1800's until WW1 and went on a building binge in Vienna and Budapest alike. The zoning laws in the old parts of both cities must have been pretty strict.  Almost all buildings are about 6 stories tall and heavily ornamented in the Rococo and Baroque style.  Just walking around is a blast.

At night, we searched for live music or fun entertainment, but as it was Sunday/Monday/Tuesday, we didn't find much. After having a beer in a pub during a football match, we found a nearby pub with a cover band singing American Classic Rock: "Rolling on the (Danube) River" anyone?  Then we headed for a dance club for some Euro Techno.  We're old but willing to explore a little.  This place was right on the Danube canal but we had to ask directions from some guys getting out of a cab.  "This is the best DJ from France tonight!" the guy said. We followed him down the steps toward the river and stepped into the fray.  I'm not that much impressed with trance/techno but it was fun to see some people with a pulse.   The Austrians are a tad reserved, like the Swiss. I was beginning to wonder if anyone went out at night.  I even had to look up the origin of the word "austere" to see if it derived from Austria.  It doesn't, but you could've fooled me.

On the other hand, the place was completely safe and we had no problems with ne'er do wells.  We cabbed it back to the pension with a Nigerian guy who was nice and said the Austrians don't take too kindly to foreigners but are polite.  He said it's still better in Vienna than in Nigeria.

And I tried my first Wiener Schnitzel.  I didn't know it was a Pork Tenderloin.  I guess it wasn't my first afterall.  The food is OK, but not necessarily anything to write home about.  Deanne's Cordon Bleau was yummy and the beer of course was awesome. The included breakfast at the pension was really good: lots of bread, meats, and cheeses.  But the most fun was the "running sushi buffet" restaurant we found.  For 10 Euros, you sit next to a littlte conveyor belt that has sushi and snacks rolling by.  Just grab what looks good and enjoy all you can eat.

And of course, being a Psych B.A ("you want fries with that?") I had to stop by the Freud museum.  His house/office is a small museum now on the near north side of Vienna.  We arrived a half hour before closing and so it was free.  Wow.  Never had that happen before. There were a lot of photos and documents and you could see the room where he held sessions and developed his theories of pyschoanalysis.  Quite interesting. After we left, Deanne kept seeing phallic objects everywhere.  Who knew?
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