If its Friday, it must be Austria

Trip Start Jun 25, 2012
Trip End Jul 19, 2012

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Flag of Austria  , Vienna,
Friday, June 29, 2012

It was up early again for a scrumptious breakfast featuring fresh, warm Brötchen. Everyone was at breakfast at 7 AM, and we were waiting by the bus stop, with our luggage, at 7:30 AM. We are getting really good at showing up on time and navigating public transportation. The bus delivered us to the gates of the main train station, and all of us knew that we had to catch our Inter City Express train at track 6. We knew we had reserved seats - what we did not know was the the seats were in a specific section. So, you guessed it, all 18 of us struggled to get our luggage overhead and promptly sat down in the wrong car.
Our train, where I am sitting as I write this, was actually two trains joined. After the, exceedingly pleasant, conductor from Hades informed us of our ignorant mistake, he also explained that only the train in the very front would carry us all the way to Vienna. After three or four trips up and down a rather long train with our luggage, we figured out that we needed to get off with our luggage and run the distance of two very long trains IN TWO MINUTES! Talk about adventure.
Well, I am happy to report, we made it and had a wonderful ride, mostly along the Danube, admiring the scenery, learning about Germany and Austria, eating in the restaurant car and having pleasant conversation. The sky is blue and the sun is shining, and we are looking froward to a great dinner at the Naschmarkt and an evening stroll through the Prater.
Arrival in Vienna:
We arrived in Vienna on time and, after purchasing tickets for the subway, we immediately made our way to the Meininger City Hostel. While we changed subway lines once, the subway was relatively easy to navigate, and the ride was pleasant. The only problem was the relentless heat! The hostel was located a very short distance from the subway stop, and the staff was prepared for our arrival with room keys and maps ready. Meininger felt more like a hotel than a hostel, and everyone was happy with their accommodation.
After taking our luggage to the rooms, we detour on a tour of Vienna. First stop: Naschmarkt
The Naschmarkt is an open air market where you can find a wide variety of foods and spices from all over the world. Some of us braved the Döner Kepab,while others stuck with the more familiar pasta or sausage.
Second Stop: Prater Amusement Park
Our next stop was the Prater Amusement Park in the banks of the Danube river. We were entertained by some of the interesting carnival rides from years ago, as well as the newer ones. Everyone enjoyed exploring and riding.
Downtown: On our way back to the hostel, we made another stop in downtown Vienna. St. Stephens cathedral and the architecture of the city, combined with the nighttime splendor of the Hofburg Palace, were simply astonishing. To top it off, there was a summer ball being held in the Hofburg that night, and we all caught a glimpse of the ladies in their ball gowns and gentlemen in their best tuxedos.
Students took turns navigating and planing our subway routes. I am happy to report that we always arrived at our destination, and everyone found the system of subway trains, trams , and buses easy to navigate and very reliable.
We had just enough time to plan for the next day upon our return to the hostel. After all the walking we did (9+ miles),we were ready for bed.
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