After 13 hours in two planes we found ourselves in Vienna, Austria. We are extending a work trip with a vacation because I am attending Drupalcon in Vienna with my team from work. So we decided to go a week ahead and burn some of Steve’s vacation time. We arrived in the evening after starting out the day before – west is best, east is a beast as they say.
We were tired to the point of crispy around the edges. I didn’t sleep much on the plane – just snatches and then a 3-hour layover wandering the airport in Frankfurt just added to the weird. A short train ride and we arrived at our apartment.
The owner’s mom (this is a trend throughout central Europe) buzzed us in and told us which floor. We rode a tiny elevator that looked like it was out of an old movie – you had to close both doors and wait a minute for it to engage. We nodded and smiled s she showed us the apartment. As soon as the mom left, we curled up and slept. I slept very well that night. We slept about 10 hours straight. This is the lovely little kitchen window.
The next morning, we took a city tour by bike. We were still a little fried around the edges, and it was raining steadily. Yes, what else do you do when you’re jetlagged and a little nutty but don a rain poncho and ride a bike around a strange city? It’s just how we roll. Our tour guide, Chris, was loads of fun and gave us all the info we needed to make it around the city on our own.
Vienna is beautiful and so so clean! Here is the Maria-Theresien-Platz square. Surrounded by her trusted advisers (whom she brought with her), Maria Theresa was the only female emperor of Austria and her statue is positioned between the natural and art history museums.
We kept riding and found ourselves at Hundertwasser House, Vienna. I loved this place. It felt so natural to me all curves and soft edges and roundness. Super hard to take a good photo in the wet and dark weather so you’ll have to imagine.
I have read about this guy but I had no idea he as a native of Vienna – Friedensreich Hundertwasser. Throughout his life he championed just about everything but to me he embodies a sense of freedom … after growing up Jewish in Austria’s Nazi-influenced times, I can only imagine his need to embrace everything with joy.
After our 3-hour bike tour, we walked the long way back to our apartment, grabbed showers and headed back out for dinner and more sightseeing. We found ourselves at St. Stephen’s which this photo does not do justice to.
We said prayers and lit candles. I attended confession – on a Tuesday afternoon! we attended mass and found a restaurant that was open even though it was not quite 6 in the evening. Restaurants here close between 3 and 6 p.m., which makes things difficult for us because we don’t eat late in the evening.
We met a lovely waiter named Peter and he as from Bratislava, which we are visiting later in this trip. He gave us some pointers – don’t take a taxi from the train station, they will rob you, he said. He gave us the numbers of trustworthy taxi drivers and his own phone number in case we needed it. He recommended a wine from Domane Wachau which is where we are touring tomorrow!
One thing we’ve always experienced – people are nice everywhere as long as you are polite and you try to be respectful.
Another night of sleep to catch up.