Slovakia & Austria

Trip Start Apr 14, 2009
Trip End Aug 06, 2009

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Flag of Austria  , Vienna,
Saturday, May 9, 2009

Hi folks!
Patience is a virtue and although some have been waiting a while here's a travel update regarding our time in Slovakia & Austria, 2-9 May.

Leaving beautiful Hungary was a tough slog. Ventured back to Budapest, in order to get our train to Bratislava, which we missed. Rushed around, caught a probably illegal taxi, but still missed our train and endured a 4 and a half hour wait till the next one. Chris resorted to eating stale bread and leftover Eger wine from a plastic bottle (yes, communion for dinner). Arrived at our Bratislava hostel around 11pm.

That night and the next morning it seemed like a ghost town. No-one around, and were wondering what we got ourselves in to. After stopping for a beer and walking some more we stumbled across the old town sqaure and discovered some life! Very cute, cobblestone streets with cafes, old monuments and souvenir carts. Back at the hostel we got in to 1.5L bottles of beer at less than $4 a pop, and got chatting with an Aussie couple and a bloke from Sheffield whose brother got stuck in Thailand after getting a girl pregnant. Thanks for the story, mate.

Classic backpacker breakfast of 2 minute noodles on Monday before checking out and walking around Bratislava castle grounds, pizza for lunch. Then a couple of trains through Vienna to Wiener Neustadt, to meet Frank, an old friend of Uncle Jim & Aunty Kaye. (Hi guys!) It was a little odd waiting at the station for an Austrian guy we'd never met before, but the next few days were great and really nice to have some home hospitality. We stayed at his place for 3 nights and he looked after us well.

On our first full day there we walked through the town centre of Wiener Neustadt and after lunch were driven up Hohe Wand, a 1000m mountain area with a great big plateau for easy walking. Had some beautiful views. Had a beer & dessert in a mountain style pub, enjoyed some more delightful mountain scenery and had a nice, long sleep.

Next morning was nice and slow, and took our time to do any real adventuring. After lunch Frank drove us over to Lake Neusiedl and a charming town called Rust (roost) where we discovered more charms and had a glass of wine each. And after giving it a chance on the first day, we were now convinced that Frank is a maniac of a driver :-) We held on for dear life alot of the time but was great to see the sights!
Dinner was at a Wiener Neustadt restaurant called 'Good On Ya'. Yep...a "fair dinkum" Aussie pub in semi-rural Austria. Aboriginal art, possum skins on the walls and didgeridoos. Chris had kangaroo and XXXX which as Victorians know is a pretty useless beer, but thought he'd get in to the "Aussie" spirit. Hilarious to read an Australian restaurant menu that was printed in German.

Frank took us out to a couple of bars after that and we had a good night. Watched Barcelona v Chelsea with a few drinks then off to karoake! Odd that a German speaking country was singing all the songs we know in English. Because we didn't know anybody there we got up and had a go, lots of fun.

Left Frank this morning and back north to the Austrian capital, Vienna. Thanks for a great few days Frank you were great. Found our hostel quite easily and walked around town to Schonbrunn palace. This place was amazing. Massive and so indulgent! The garden area was insanely big with statues, waterfall, and hedged mazes. Ice cream for dinner haha then into the hostel bar where we hung out with 5 or 6 people for a few hours, great time.

Next day involved the very long walk into the centre of Vienna and back, taking about 5 hours (once we explored, had lunch etc.) Wiener schnitzel for lunch, saw many people dressed like Mozart hassling us to watch a concert, and enjoyed the "No kangaroos in Austria" souvenirs, which we knew was total bollocks after Chris ATE one the other night. Good day just checking out the town. Dinner, another beer with our hostel friends and off to bed before we head off for RUSSIA!!

(We did arrive in Russia safely, details in the next blog) Have fun Crew!
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