Stopping to look up for once
Trip Start Jun 19, 2008
69Trip End Sep 04, 2008
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The train to Vienna was short and sweet: 3 hours long, no passport check and plenty of room. Once I got to Vienna though, the trouble started. Here is the thing. In the 10 weeks I have been away, I have not gotten mugged, sick or hurt (knock on wood). I was in Egypt and Turkey for weeks and was fine. And EVERYONE gets sick and constipated in those places. I picked up languages and people in the places where some people would only pick up unknown illnesses, bruises and cuts. I got over the worst. With Austria, Czech Republic, and Germany, what could possibly happen? NOBODY gets hurt while traveling in these places. Right?
Overzealous with the fact that I am in Austria, I ran out into the streets, following the simple directions to the hostel ("Take a right from the station and walk 2 blocks"). Actually, I followed the two Austrian boys in front of me because they seemed like they knew where they were going. I know it doesn't make any sense, but whatever, I had all the time in the world. I turned my head left and right, up and down, like a country hick in a city. There was nothing really important in sight. Then came the slip- I stepped on a slippery pamphlet and my left leg skidded forward. To my amazement and others' amusement, I did a banana split with my 20kg backpack on. My flexibility failed me, however, and my right knee hit the concrete- OUCHHH! I have been spoiled and pampered with nothing but pleasure and excitement in the past 10 weeks that the sting was rather UPSETTING than painful. I got up instantly. This is what I do whenever something embarrassing happens. I just put on a poker face and keep on walking. I felt blood drip down my knee. It reminded me of the time I climbed up a white column at a Weezer concert. My knee got scratched, but my adrenaline was pumping so much that it numbed the pain. Then people below started pointing and freaking out and shouting to ask me if I have AIDS. No, I don't have AIDS, Jesus Christ.
So here I was in Vienna, with the first injury of the summer (small but still!), I went up and down the street looking for the hostel for about 20 minutes. All the buildings were closed, except for some kind of AIDS Awareness office. I was sure they can help me with both my bleeding knee and the directions. It was a small office, and a young, presumably gay guy greeted me with a curious smile. I told him about this hostel, and he looked it up online (he was watching youtube at work!) and printed out a mapquest-esque map. We chatted for a while- he had studied abroad in Michigan and now taking time off from school to do the mandatory service for his country. He gave me some free condoms and posters to take as souvenirs. Go AIDS Awareness!
So I followed this very simple map and got quite some honks and hello's on the way. I didn't know being sandwiched in between two huge backpacks and trekking up the main street can be a turn-on. I eventually got to the hostel at 8:30pm, a ridiculously late hour. This hostel is probably the most famous one in Vienna, and it looks more like a university dorm/community hall than a hostel. It makes all the previous hostels look so dingy and shabby! Frankly I prefer the smaller hostels with more personable staff members. You just get more personal attention and free stuff. Either way today's been quite unproductive, so I feel like I should go out and explore the night life in Vienna. Yes, that I shall do. After all, I only have one day in this grand city!