A Big Change of Environment

Trip Start Jun 06, 2009
Trip End Aug 31, 2009

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Flag of Austria  , Vienna,
Monday, July 27, 2009

I arrived by train to Vienna from Budapest in the pm after a 3 hour train ride.  The first thing that I notice is how much different the place is from Hungary.  It's amazing how Vienna is right on the border of Hungary and how much more well-kept the city and country is.  That whole ex-Soviet thing is definitely in effect here.  Like night and day.  When I stepped off the train I noticed how much brighter and cleaner the place was.  People were dressed in nicer clothes and with more color.  It kind of reminds me of going from San Diego into Tijuana Mexico.  Nice on one side, not so nice on the other. 

My first day I headed to the Schonbrunn Palace early in the morning.  It was the summer palace for the Habsburg family(Royal) for like 500 years.  Upon first seeing the outside, it reminded me of the French palace-Chateau du Versailles.  I must say though, immediately upon walking in the place, it was really organized and flowed really well.  Everyone got an audio guide and right when you entered into the different rooms, it would let you hear the info only for that room which was cool.  Walking around was pretty neat.  All the differently decorated rooms with all their fine furniture.  We even went into the room where Mozart gave his first concert at the age of 6 in front of the Royal Family.  Also the ballroom where Prez Kennedy met the Soviet leader Nikita Kruschev in 1961. After I finished my self-guided tour,  I grabbed a sandwich and parked myself on a bench.  Immediately after,I looked for my ticket so I could enter my other areas that I paid for.  Well guess what? I lost my dam ticket.  I donīt know what it is but I have lost 4 things thus far on my trip.  I am not the type of person to lose things at all and I have lost 4 things.  #1: My sunglasses in a German guys car that I hitched a ride coming down from Mt Olympis, #2: My sunblock somewhere in Greece.  #3 My alarm clock in my last hotel in Athens Greece.  I didnīt expect on pulling an all-nighter before catching my flight but I left it under my pillow to use that night.  #4 My ticket.  I was kind of pissed that I lost it because again Iīm not the type of person to lose stuff and I keep losing stuff.  The rest of the ticket was only for some private gardens that I could peek through a fence anyway so it wasnīt a big deal.  I think I have been losing objects because I can only keep track of so many things at once before I start to forget stuff.  Thinking of stuff like should I stay awake, how to get to the airport, what time I should leave, and a multitude of other things on my mind that take up processing space.  I sure am learning what I am capable of on this trip.  Some good, some bad.  Next I headed to the Fine Arts Museum which I couldnīt really find but stumbled upon a place called the Museum Quarter.  I must say it was really cool and I bet it is even better at night.  Itīs basically a complex with a bunch of museums, shops, cafes/restaurants, and a lot of night performances.  I tried to go into the Leopold Museum but guess what? The thing was closed. This is the third museum that I have tried to go to that was closed.  I donīt know what it is with museum closures in the summer months, but I donīt agree with it. If you want to clean the art, hire a night-shift team to do it.  People are traveling from all over the world to see some of these places and probably donīt expect them to be closed.  Oh well!  I decided to go to the Modern Art Museum which was right there.  I must say, I am learning a lot about art on my trip.  I didnīt really know much about the styles or types of art for that matter.  But I have learned that I donīt like Modern Art.  A lot of I saw was just random objects put together and called art.  One of the pictures I took is just of a canvas that was one solid color.  Is this art? Give me a break.  Another one just had scribble lines on it.  How much talent does one need to make scribble lines on canvas? My picture to keep thieves away from my bag took more artistic abilities than that. 

The next day I went to the Fine Arts Museum which was really amazing.  It was mostly paintings which I like a lot.  I learned that I really like Renaissance paintings and they had quite an extensive collection there.  I like the paintings that look like they really put some work into the picture.  I also learned that I donīt really like Rembrandtīs pictures because all Iīve seen of his work is all dark and only just a head shot of somebody.  Except for the Night Watch which was really big and actually had some color in it.  But I donīt think I even took a picture of it.  They also had some Raphael, and Michaelango paintings which I seem to enjoy.  When I was standing in front of their art, I was pondering something.  I was thinking whether I enjoyed their art because it was good, or because it had a famous name attached to the art.  If I were to see the same painting with the name of Joe Schmo artist, would I stop and look at the art quite so long? I would like to say so but then again Iīm not sure.  There was other work that I appreciated and took pictures that were by no names but it makes me wonder.  If the Mona Lisa were to be sitting in the corner and not be so famous, would there be bullet-proof glass on it and millions of cameras snapping pics of it?  Maybe for the art affiicionado but again Iīm still learning.  Afterward I hit a kebab/pizza stand and enjoyed the weather.  I stumbled upon the Parliament Building which looked really awesome from the front.  It was actually modeled after the Acropolis in Athens and the main building looked just like the Parthenon.  I took a tour inside and learned a lot about their government system.  The building was bombed in a few different places during WW II but was quickly rebuilt.  Later on in the evening I bought a ticket for Bruno(English) the movie.  After buying the ticket I realized that his character is of a gay Austrian guy.  Being that I was in Austria, it would make for an interesting time.   A lot of the viewers were Austrian  and seemed to laugh at the same parts as myself which meant their English was just as good as mine.  The movie was funny at times but kind over the top.  I donīt think Iīve seem more penis in an "R" rated movie and donīt care to ever again.

My last day I planned on going to the Leopold Museum that I missed out on but decided to hit the UN Building in Vienna instead.  I signed up the tour and we were herded into language groups.  Our tour guide asked us what countries we were from.  There were 3 Americans, and 6 Iranians.  How ironic I thought.  Maybe it was only me but I could feel that kind of uneasiness in the air.  That feeling that our two governments donīt like each other and are duking it out.  Our tour guide was from Sudan and spoke horrible English.  And he seemed to know nothing about the UN at all and the building he was giving a tour of.    In my little fantasy world that I call my head, I was thinking that they were Iranian spies sent to gather intelligence from the UN and it was my job as a loyal citizen of the US to stop them.  Afterall, the IAEA(International Atomic Energy Agency) Headquarters was there and the whole thing about Iran going/being nuclear made you think.  Itīs stereo-typing I know and was nonsense.  I tried to say hello to the Americans but they were kind of doofusīs so broke the ice with the Iranians.  There were two guys that were about my age so I said hello.  All 6 or them spoke English well and were very nice and easy to talk too.  I ended up talking to the two guys the entire time and I know not to talk politics on the first date so didnīt ask about the protests which I wanted to so badly bring up.  But we were all taking pictures with each other and for each other so it was cool.  Ironically enough the Iranians were asking quite a lot about going into the IAEA part of the complex but our tour guide was a doofus and nothing really came of it.  I think for them it was more for pictures and bragging rights that they were there than planting listening devices or something.  They were all picture crazy and I donīt think they were spies at all.  Only in my Jason Bourne fantasy world.  At the end we swapped emails and I made two new friends around the world. 

I really enjoyed Vienna and loved just walking around the city.  I didnīt really know too much about it and it seemed to me as such an artsy laid back city.  It didnīt seem too busy but I think it should be up there with the New Yorkīs, Parisīs, and Londonīs as a world-class city.  I really dug the place.  As always, I wish I had more time.  Thereīs never enough time.  Some is better than none though. 

Onward to Salzburg Austria. 
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