Vienna - day 27
Trip Start Aug 06, 2011
24Trip End Nov 13, 2011
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I had a tour of Schonbrunn Palace which finished at 5.30, then I had to go back there for a concert at 8.30...I knew if I went back into town with the rest of the tour and back to my hotel I'd pass out, so I dumped the group (again) and stayed and had dinner for one...and what does one have on their first night in vienna? wiener schnitzel and apple strudel...I know I was just being a big stupid tourist, but I shall forever refer to it as 'the night I had dinner at the palace'
coincidence: I did something a bit awesome without meaning to..the palace in Versailles is where Marie Antoinette lived (and died), and this palace is where Maria Theresa (Habsburg) ruled as empress (she had no brothers) - Maria Therese was Marie Antoinette's mother...it was like my own mini family palace tour across the continent (mommy's palace is much nicer, though)...the last of the Habsburg's died just 3 weeks ago)
the palace 'concert' was an orchestra thing playing mozart and strauss...it's not like I know anything about classical music, but I'm in vienna so I really just had to do it....it's quite a shame I have little appreciation for it
Vienna is an absolutely stunning city...beautiful, regal, charming, and with a lot of gorgeous parklands - Austria has 805 parks and is 47% forest)...very much how I imagined paris would be but without the grotesqueness...I kind of want to live here - I know how to count to 10 in german, and how to say please, thank you, good morning and good night - do you think I can get a job?
the aristocracy lived in 'palais' homes like my hotel...the arches on street level were for the horses, then the family (one family per palais) lived on the 3rd and 4th floors, with the servants at the top where the small windows are...all the palais are still in old vienna and are being used as offices, shops or hotels...it's street after street full of these wonderful 18th century buildings, and it makes the city THE most beautiful I have ever been to (my room is the one with the open door on the balcony...epic choice)
my bff Viv once said that if the accommodation she pays for isn't better than her own place, then she may as well stay at home...when she says something wise she absolutely nails it
the majority of tourists here consist of OLD people, gray-haired old people...why don't youngens want to see pretty things? do they all just want to go to london pubs and say they have seen travelled the world?
also among the old people were a lot of arabs...it really made an impression on me...you tend to see arabs anywhere you go, but here it was a bit like Lakemba (non-aussies, nevermind)...it was like 99% old people and arabs, and 1% of me's
the locals are so health conscious! everyone is like a perfect picture of health, and the viennese are so tall...i saw so so many people riding bikes, too...every footpath and every park has a separate bicycle track, and even the walk/don't walk traffic lights have a person riding a bike next to the green or red man
and they are all so polite, not just to tourists or anything, but to each other as well (i sit back and watch, remember)...if i didn't fall in love with this city so much i think it may be a bit creepy, 'Equilibrium/everyone is on drugs' kind of creepy - but oh, it was such a pleasure after the italians
THE DANUBE!! i don't know how it came about, but at one point i realised i had seen (or was about to) see nearly all the major city rivers in the world
i travelled the Mekong from Vietnam to Cambodia, i swam in the Amazon, i recently mini-cruised the Seine in Paris, will see the Rhine in Berlin next week, and today it was the Danube (once the Nile has been checked off the list, what do i do???)
The Danube stretches from the Black Forest in Germany to the Black Sea and is the second longest river in europe (which is the longest?)
we drove a little over an hour to reach the Wachau valley and got a river boat from Spitz to Melk where we visited a thousand-year old Abbey (an abbey is a church/monastery thing, to you non-catholics who may not know that - ME!!! i pretty much just chose a tour with the longest Danube ride...i'm glad i didn't pay attention to the church part)...apparently it's a really important Benedictine Monastery *shrugs* it was really pretty :)
on the long boat ride an old man (from Long Island, hi Laura) started talking to me...we spoke mostly about travelling and, oh shock horror, it appears my voice travels when i speak
jeebus mary and george, someone take me to the fat bastardatarium...i am officially eating her way through europe (I'm even typing this while waiting for food! -I'm also drinking and very tired so I may just crap on about (more) useless stuff than normal)
the viennese are NOT vegetarians...meat meat meat and potatoes rule around here...and if that doesn't suit you, you can always just have chocolate torte (I'll be having one if those too)...I think I just realised that by the time I post this it wi be full of pictures of food
[addendum: i abstained]
TRAIN: the overnight train from Venice to Vienna was a little frightening at first...super tiny rooms which were meant to accommodate THREE PEOPLE! (i booked a single)...i really don't know how 3 people could stand each other all night in that space...the trains also move really fast so you need to be sitting the entire time
i thought all overnight trains would have a restaurant carriage, and though this one didn't, it had a menu up on the wall with snacks you could order from the stewardess...an hour into it i go to ask her for a sandwich and she rolled her eyes and went off at me in german while i stared at her, and when she asked "you don't speak german?" i smiled and said no (instead of what i really wanted to say: no you hairy moll, but i do speak greek food, you want me to shove some tzatziki up your ass?)...an old lady further down the carriage heard the pleasantries and made hand signals at me, then gave me her apple...aaawwwwww
summer in northern europe, where you wear a woolen vest in the noonday sun and sometimes feel chilly!
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