Grandiosity in a GRAND capital

Trip Start Jun 19, 2008
Trip End Sep 04, 2008

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Flag of Austria  ,
Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Vienna, wow, just WOW.  It's the grandest city I have been to.  It's everything you would expect Vienna to be and more.  The architectures are different from Budapest in that they are very colossal and ostentatious, in addition to being ornate and beautiful.  The important buildings definitely stand out here.  After feeding myself a good breakfast, I got a 24-hour pass (5.5 euros- cheap!) to take tram #58 from Westbahnof to Schonenbrunnen Palace (sp?).  It was a huge, butter yellow palace.  I got there at 9:45am and the next guided tour in English was starting at 10:30am, so I just decided to do the cheap "Imperial Tour", or a self-guided tour.  To my pleasant surprise, the staff member handed me a FREE audio recording thingy that gave an explanation in each room.  It had a background music and cool features like rewind.  Neato!  The palace were decorated with portraits and paitings of various sizes and cushy furniture.  It was what you would imagine a palace to be like.  I absolutely loved it.  I walked through the garden, feeling so happy and dandy.  Life is good!  Until I realized that my camera battery is dying!  I had to come back and chill in the hostel for a little. 

Then I set off to the other big palace: Belvedere.  This place was divided into upper and lower palaces.  I liked the gothic exterior of the palace, which I thought was classier than the other palace.  Also, this was more of an art museum than a palace showcase.  I saw the famous Napoleon painting and Klimt's The Kiss, with which I am now absolutely infatuated.  I rarely buy museum souvenirs, but I bought bookmarks, postcards, and a BAG featuring The Kiss.  Now that I can actually use my credit card with an ease, money is just flowing out of my pockets!  I am loaded!  It's good to be able to use the plastic again.

After Belvedere, I take the metro back to the city center and walk through the imperial palace, admiring the gardens and buildings.  Then I enter the Kunsthistorisches Museum, or simply the Museum of Fine Arts.  The structure itself was beautiful, even more elaborate than the palaces.  It is the paintings inside though, that makes the museum priceless and overwhelming.  The museum is loaded with big-name artists like Brueghel the Elder and Titian.  Afterwards, I walked through Neumakt (sp?), a busy street, all the way up to St. Stephen's Church.  It's an old gothic church and felt really dark compared to the little churches with frescoes I have been seeing for the past 2 weeks.  It's funny how churches make money off of tourists by selling admission tickets and souvenirs.  That's the difference between a mosque and a church: mosques don't try to sell you things.

After a productive day, I was back in the hostel for a nap.  I started chatting up with two guys in the lounge, one Australian guy who is studying abroad in Madrid and backpacking through Europe for the summer, and the other a Ukrainian guy who studies "Fashion Marketing" and swears is not gay.  He just stopped by Vienna and Milano for 3 weeks to shop for designer clothes and shoes.  I am wearing the brown skirt and white top I got from a flea market in Turkey for 5 USD.  We bond anyway. 

Our hostel has a decent bar in the basement.  It actually looks like a bar, unlike the dingy unfinished basement at the hostel in Romania.  I have a handful of free drink coupons, so I use them up.  Then the three of us depart on a night-long journey in search for a club.  The Australian wants to go to the famous gay club, the Ukranian wants to go to the classy club that charges 12 euros on a Wednesday night, I just want to go back.  By the time, we end up in a tiny bar with a dance floor, it is 2 am and apparently closing (or does not want us there?).  So much for a crazy night in Austria!
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