Boiling Wieners

Trip Start Jul 08, 2013
Trip End Aug 06, 2013

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Flag of Austria  , Vienna,
Sunday, July 28, 2013

Our train from Prague was at butt-early o'clock. We cleared out of our LOFT and walked down to the station, alongside the orange vested street cleaners. We had nothing to say so damn early in the morning, so we walked to the sounds of birds, trams, wheels on cobblestone.

The ride to Vienna was picturesque.We shared our compartment with a middle aged couple, the man staring woefully out the window, only sometimes responding to the woman's short comments that occasionally interrupted their otherwise meaningful silence. When I got up to go walk around, the two slowly leaned toward each other and pressed their foreheads together. Erin wished I'd hurry back. Awkward!

They got off the train before we did. You better believe we spent the remainder of our journey imagining their story. That is, we played with this idea until I suggested the man might have some terminal illness. That ruined the game. Sorry, Erin, and pressing forehead couple. I hope you were just deciding what to do with the lottery money.

We got to our apartment early and sat outside to wait for Peter (PEE-TAH) to show up. The day was already boiling. Listen, if you're tired of all the complaining about the heat, just stop now. This is a very serious issue we had to deal with. So you can read on or go sit with your head in your freezer all afternoon, Spoiled.

Pee-tah came out of the apartment covered in sweat. He explained that he'd had to clean up the vomit (!) from the previous tenant. Sorry about the smell. The smell was fine. Just regular apartment smell. I tried to make small jokes but it didn't work. He was very nice and very literal. It turns out that is the Austrian way.

The apartment was modern IKEA shelves and cabinets (all empty), leather couch, flat screen, catalog cozy nestled into a 19th century apartment building. A narrow spiral staircase with a recently added tiny elevator ran down the middle. No thank you to the tiny elevator - spiral stairs suit me fine.

We were close to the metro, and took a train downtown to eat at a fabulous ice cream shoppe. The waitstaff all wore cute striped sailor outfits HEL-LO! (Erin). Next to us a dapper gent also enjoyed the scene.

Have I told you how hot it was that day? Remember your oven? This was that hot. Remember when you accidentally took a sip too soon of your herbal tea on that cozy day in Tahoe and burned your tender tongue? This is hot tea ALL OVER YOUR BODY, friend.

This was a day of searching for air con. Erin had a great idea to tour around the Ringstrasse by sweet, cool tram. This street circles old town Vienna and replaces the 13th century walls that used to protect the city. Franz Joseph I tore down the walls and installed a boulevard with opulent buildings to show off how fancy those Hapsburgs were. Soon all the elite were building their showy mansions along the Ringstrasse, like a carousel of castles.

The tram was not cool but the sites were. We read along with Rick Steves and mopped our pink faces so the sweat didn't blur our vision. Our tram stopped across from a gelato place, where we eagerly disembarked to go and get some relief. Our gelatos were melting so quickly, it was a race to eat it before it liquified all over our hands. I pushed as much of mine into my cone with my tongue but that wasted precious time and soon there was a small pistachio puddle at my feet. I frantically attacked my cone, too furious to enjoy the deliciousness. So angry!

Across from us sat a couple with their TOTALLY FROZEN ice cream! What the hell? She was casually reading her magazine, taking the occasional delicate lick with no hurry whatsoever. I had never been so cold jealous in my life.

Our next stop was the museum, where we spent the next couple of hours cooling our heels and - oh yeah - looking at art. That's right. Thus, I only have pictures I took in there. My fave were the Hapsburg automatons, because the room was so cold.

We were kicked out at 5:50 because the place closed at 6. More heat, but with hunger this time. How do you do it, desert dwellers? We walked along the shopping mall street, dodging clowns and tourists until we turned into a tiny street with precious tiny restaurants and bookstores. Our dinner was at a place that made their own wine. The waitstaff wore obviously uncomfortable yet completely charming traditional clothing. Checkered table cloth. Wieners, goulash, potato dumplings. More wine.

Again we perked up as the sun went down. Human again.

We worked on Erin's German. Her favorite phrase is "beispiel geben".

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