A chronicle of Alison and Ron's trip around the world in 2009-2010.

"Not all those who wander are lost"
- Tolkien

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Vienna Sausage and Broken Dreams

We knew Vienna was going to be expensive but we had no real clue just how bad. I tried in vain to find a sofa to crash on couchsurfing.com but nothing worked out so we got off the train to head towards the cheapest place we found online, a hostel for 48 euro. It was a metro ride and 20 min walk away and totally booked. Wah wah wahhhh. It was dark and there was nothing else in sight so we caved and booked a room at Academia Hotel for the slap-in-the-face cost of 72 euro. The room was the most expensive we had been in the entire trip, delivering the least. We even had to pay 5 euro extra for internet!

Our luck was about to change as we headed out for dinner, only 100 yards away stumbling on Wiener Wurstelstand and perhaps our best meal of the trip, a Kasekrainer. We are talking about something from a childhood dream fantasy, a giant 12” cheese filled hotdog wrapped in a soft fluffy baguette filled with ketchup and mustard. It was the best damn hotdog in our entire lives. Ron and I moaned and groaned for 5 solid minutes and realized why the universe delivered us to Vienna. I’m actually salivating a little bit right now as I tell you about it. The nice owner of the stand even gave us some Pferde-Leberkassemmel to sample which was horse! It tasted ok but I felt bad for poor Mr. Ed and a tad guilty we were eating him...

The next morn we headed to train station to get a ticket that night for Venice. If we are going to pay an arm and a leg for accommodations we might as well be hearing Solo Mio with the moon reflecting off the canal every night. That gave us exactly 6 hours for a whirlwind tour of the city. Where else to start but the beer garden?! We had a few pints, which of course were tasty, and noshed on some traditional Viennese food: Rindfleisch Grostl and Kasspatzle. The meal was pretty heavy and we were moving awfully slow afterwards with so much to still see.

We walked in the moccasins (or more likely buckled leather booties) of Beethoven and Mozart alongside horse drawn carriages pulled down quaint cobblestone streets.

Vienna is clean and efficient, things makes sense here. They have cute shops selling everything imaginable and red bull is only a dollar fifty. Tucked away in hidden corners of the city center are pretty little gardens to escape the throngs of pedestrians.

But what do you know as we approached the piece de resistance of Vienna, St. Stephen's Cathedral was being renovated. As Ron sarcastically exclaimed, “Sorry for the inconvenience, all of Europe is under construction, please come back later”. We can’t figure why half of the most famous monuments in capital cities around Europe including the Hagia Sofia have giant scaffoldings up everywhere. Nevermind that they sell out the space to advertisements. But more on that in Venice…


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