Wien and the Return of the Curry Wurst

Trip Start Jun 08, 2008
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18
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Trip End Jul 09, 2008


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Flag of Austria  , Vienna,
Monday, June 30, 2008

The original plan was to head out to the city of Kosice in Slovakia, and from there search out the tiny village of Habura located in the Lemko heartland where my family is said to have came from.  However, my family in America and Poland urged me not to take this side trip; Johnny also seemed a bit uneasy about heading out to the villages of Slovakia.  Though I felt like it could be done, and had to be done, I promised my family that I wouldn't go there...this year.  Instead, I bowed to Johnny's pressure to see Western Europe for a while and took a trip down the Danube to Vienna. 
 
The boat broke down halfway through the trip and left us haphazardly floating down the Danube River for a solid hour.  Just goes to show you, public transportation and I don't mix.
 
Though prior to this trip I had not traveled a great deal, I felt as though to really experience a different world you have to go to countries vastly different from your own.  That is why this trip for the most part sidestepped most of the touristy Western European countries and instead focused on former communist countries.  Don't get me wrong, Vienna is a beautiful city and I'm sure it has amazing culture...it just doesn't do it for me.
 
We didn't have much time to spend in Vienna, and we packed in our exploring.  We walked our way around the entire Ringstrasse, a road that circles the city and on which the majority of the sights are.  We were unfortunately in the city the day after the Eurocup final, thus most of the roads and many of the squares were barricaded off from use.  However, we did manage to see the major sights along the way such as the Parliament, several palaces, museums, as well as the countless churches and cathedrals.  St. Stephan's Cathedral located at the end of Karntner Strasse was the most magnificent of these cathedrals, with its steeple seemingly piercing the sky above.  The street performers were quite interesting on Karntner Strasse, with one comedian playing with a Chinese yo-yo working up quite the crowd; he must have made a solid 300 euros after that performance. 
 
Trying to at least gain a little culture I agreed to head out to Schlosse Schonbrum, an enormous palace that I suppose once housed the monarchs of Austria.  We went on a little tour of the palace, after which we explored the grounds of the palace.  Johnny had this brilliant idea to see the Gloriette that is perched on top of this enormous hill with the only way up being a windy gravel path.  Suffice to say by the time we made it up there in the beating sun, my shirt was soaked with sweat and I was out of breath; but the views were absolutely incredible from the roof of the Gloriette. 
 
After that arduous journey we decided to head into the Labyrinth where I think I had more fun with all the toys and play ground apparatus than any of the playing children.  I especially liked the Glockenspiel, when I jumped on it would make wonderful musical sounds; of course Johnny had to show me up and play Mary Had a Little Lamb on the Glockenspiel. 
 
We used the metro system to get to Schlosse Schonbrum, and we used it well.  However, obviously that was not without problems either.  On the way back to the hotel on our last night in Vienna the train rounded a bend far too fast in the tunnel, tilted and smashed into a tunnel light.  This caused the entire train to lose power for a moment, shake violently, and then screech to a stop.  Lovely. 
 
Beer was too expensive in Vienna so we did not do any serious drinking in the city, thus meeting no interesting locals.  That was a disappointment; however we did find Curry Wursts.  I however did not learn my lesson from Berlin, and ate far too many of them.  Oh the pain the following morning...
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