Aug201206

We didn’t have any serious plans for Vienna…just to walk around the city and see as much as we could.  So another early start to the day.

Up early and downstairs to fill up on breakfast before we set out for a day of walking and adventure.

oh…and during the night, we discovered that when the unit above ours would use their shower, the floor would leak into our shower.  While this clearly is a structural issue for the hotel, normally it wouldn’t be an issue for us, except that when it did leak….it caused this really out there odour that was pretty nasty.  So we decided to tell the front desk staff on our way out for the day.

We were out of the hotel by 8ish that morning.  We walked and walked and walked.  Vienna’s downtown core is pretty big place.  I would say that we walked the whole thing in 2 full days, but there are definitely nooks and crannies that we missed.  The streets are crazy & crooked and amazingly strange.

I honestly don’t even know where to begin.  Vienna is a place to see and hear for sure.  I really enjoyed our time here.  Such amazing buildings, such amazing history.  To walk where history’s greats…(and not so greats) stood, strolled and lectured is a surreal moment for sure.

I have to start the with the first picture I took of the day though.  My comments, “a great progressive city”… we saw these in the window of a florist shop.

We went to places including Baroque castles and gardens, as well as the late-19th-century Ringstrasse lined with grand buildings, monuments and parks, such as:

  • State Opera House
  • Imperial Palace
  • Rathaus (New City Hall)
  • Museum Qaurter
  • St. Peter’s Church (Peterskirche)
  • Stephansplatz
  • St. Stephen’s athedral (Stephansdom)
  • St. Augustine’s Church (Augustinerkirche)
  • Ringstrasse
  • St. Charles’s Church (Karlskirche)
  • Parliament Building
  • Rathausplatz
  • Kaerntnerstrasse (shopping street)
  • Volksgarten
  • Mozart Statue
  • Maria Theresa Square
  • Karlsplatz
  • Danube Canal

We came back to the room mid afternoon to find that nothing had been done about the bathroom, which was disappointing.  Luckily the super friendly girl at the front desk that was there when we checked in was back at work, opposed to the not so friendly women that I spoke to in the morning about the leak.  The hotel promptly dealt with the issue, they moved the people that were above us and first thing the next morning…someone was in the room upstairs drilling in the bathroom.  High five and two thumbs up to the hotel for taking care of it ASAP.  Another reason I would recommend this hotel.

We had a little snooze and a snack, then we ventured back out for the rest of the night and to end the evening with the famous Sacher Torte that Austria is world renowned for, and some gelato.

Here is a collection of photos from our day.

On the left: I found this on the back of the bathroom stall at the Parliament Building. I thought this was a great thing to tell people. LOVE IT!

 

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Aug201203

Today was the day we were going to be on the road for a while.  We were originally supposed to travel to Vienna from Salzburg today.  But since Rob had an accident during his cycling tour, we needed to drive to Innsbruck first to go to the hospital to have the stitches in his lip removed.  His appointment was for 8:30 am (I think), so we got up early, ate breakfast so we could get on the road and travel 1.5 hours west to Innsbruck.  We figured if we left by 7am we would be good.  We ended up being a few minutes behind, then we got to the car and programmed in the address for the hospital in Innusbruck and the ETA was 10:30….WHAT?  The GPS took us on this crazy back roads adventure all the way to Innsbruck.  It was beautiful but now we were sooo late for the appointment. We drove through some Alps, and it was very very beautiful so at the end of the day, it was really nice to see what we saw.

We finally arrived at the hospital, which the faithful GPS took us straight to….and got help getting to the location Rob needed to be in.  We waited in the waiting room for about an hour, then he was in and out super fast, with again amazing, friendly service. With some helpful tips for driving in Vienna as well….”Don’t do it”…LOL.  Come on, it can’t be that bad can it?

Time for lunch, but it had to be quick because we still have a long long road ahead of us.  We still have 476km to get from Innsbruck to Vienna and it is already just after 12:00.  So, roadside McDonalds it is….sorry to say.  but yes, we stopped at McDonalds.  And you know what? They have curly fries….the best damn curly fries I have ever had.

We drive and drive and drive to Vienna….when we get to Vienna, it is huge.  We kept driving and driving, into the city….through the city….and then the GPS turned on us.  From this point on, she is no longer referred to as the nice GPS…she is the devil voice.  She was telling us to turn when it was too late, telling us to make U-turns when we were sure we went the right way…and after retracing our steps 3 times, we finally went the right way.  Just in time for Rob to say “I though you said this hotel was in the city”….and I said “it is…I don’t know…maybe there is more city on this side of the hill?”.  We then the Devil voice tells us to make a left…so we turn left…into an alley….AN ALLEY in a totally residential area and she says “You have arrived at your destination.” WHAT??  Turns out, that when you print your itinerary from Expedia…the accents and little added things to German letters are not translated…FYI when programming in an address…there is a HUGE difference, about 20 km and some 600 lbs of patience,  between a “u” and “ü”.

So a quick phone call to the hotel, Deutschmeister, Vienna to find out what the cross street is, so we reprogram the address in and it turns out we drove by it a couple times.

Now, I have to park the car…so I drop off Rob, he has had enough driving for the day, and rightfully so after the nightmare we just went through. (poor guy) So I leave him at the hotel with the bags and some hotel guy gets in the car with me to drive to the car park.  So out the driveway we go, we make a right, and a right, and a right, and a left, and a right, and a left, and a right, and a right, and voila we are there…simple right? HELL NO! where the heck am I? How am I going to find this place when we leave.  OK, so one thing at a time…first, finish parking the car.  So I drive up the ramp and the guy says, “You can park here”.  I look and unroll my window and said “Are you serious?”.  he says yes, it is the only spot we have.  To be clear, parking in that spot was a little like giving birth.  You are asking me to fit this in there? Are you serious?

OK….deep breath, I pull in the mirrors and I position the car to back in.  I did it!  Clearly even he was amazed and had his doubts cause he gave me a high five for the feat.

Now, let’s find the hotel….we walk out of the car park and make a left…and there it is.  WOW!  Vienna is riddled with one way streets…not just regular one way streets, but one way streets that only go 1 block.  I parked the car and we didn’t think about it again until we left the city.

Walking back to the hotel I check in, find Rob and go to the room to drop off our stuff.  After the long long day, we needed to relax.  Once we cleaned up and relaxed for a few moments, we decided to venture out into the city to check it out for a bit. What else do you go to eat? Beer and Schnitzel.  And why not at the WeinerWald.  It may be like an Austrian Denny’s….but it was soo good and very inexpensive compared to everything else around.  Good find Robert, a huge pat on the back for that place.  The night is wrapping up for us, but Vienna at night, even at 10pm on a Wednesday, is just getting started.  Good night Vienna. Until the morning…

PS.  Rob, don’t forget about the Eastern European Family with the shady body guards and their sunglasses at 10pm.  Yes, a big family went to eat at this place while their bodyguards stood outside.  Makes one question, who are these people that they need a bodyguard…and it they have bodyguards…can’t they afford to eat at a better establishment? hmmm…something doesn’t add up.

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Aug201202

A fantastic start to the day…nice weather and we have a day to explore what’s left of Salzburg.  We literally spend most of the day walking around and checking things out.  Here are a few of the pictures I took with my iphone.

So around 1pm, we decided to find a place for Rob to get his hair cut….when in Europe, one should get a Euro cut.  The hotel we were staying at recommended a place so we went there first.  The girl who cut Rob’s hair did an amazing job and she was lovely.

Now we have to go back to the hotel to get ready for our evening plans.  Before we left for Europe, I booked an evening performance of The Sound of Music at the Salzburger Marionettentheater.  When I was researching for things to do in Salzburg, I came across this place.  It looked amazing…like an evening going to the Opera….fancy!!  So I insisted that we dress up.  We took extra dress up clothes, ironed, etc…especially given the temperature in Salzburg, to put on fancy clothes was a bit of a task.  When we walked down to the theatre and were waiting to go inside…Rob took note of the other patrons of the show.  Apparently, we were the only ones that got the impression that is was a dress up affair.  Literally, everyone else in the audience….jeans, shorts, leopard print, t-shirts…and then there we were…in our sunday best.  CRAP!! I am SOOO sorry Mr. Thompson.  Not as awful for me, while I was clearly over dressed…I at least still had on short sleeves and a skirt.  Rob, however….dress shirt, pants, tie….I am SOOO sorry Rob.

The performance was very cool though.  Grateful it was in English, and there were a few parts to the story that are not in the movie…FYI.

After that…we walked back to the hotel, taking a detour to explore and enjoy the rest of the evening.  We walked through these beautiful gardens and then we stopped by a place for some beer before we retired to the hotel.  While sitting under the umbrellas drinking our beer…it started to rain.  While we were there, the rain, when it rained, was consistent…all of the sudden crazy downpour for 10 minutes, then clear up and be done.  Every time it rained, it was the same thing.  You just needed to find shelter for 10 -15 minutes, then you could carry on your way.

PS: This is a smart car

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