Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Exploring Vienna: Part 1

Drew is chopping peppers and boiling potatoes, and I am sipping neocitron and writing a post, in the kitchen of Paul, our host.  This is our second day in Vienna, and let me just say that it's really a good thing that we have two more left here.  We arrived yesterday morning from Zurich, via night train, and that experience deserves a few words.

Us in our car!

In total, the night train was really not so bad, but that had to do with a number of lucky coincidences for us.  We were travelling in second class, which means that basically you just get a seat that reclines, and it faces another seat.  There are six seats in each cabin, so potentially you could spend the night knocking knees with someone across from you - especially since the seats slide out towards the seat across from you to recline, and not back. Drew and I were lucky, because it turned out that we had the car all to ourselves.  Once we realised that the seats slid out we pushed all six down so that they met in the middle and we stretched out on some kind of strange double-bed awesomeness.  

Unfortunately, around 3 a.m. we were woken up by a train-man barking rapid-fire german at us - which was completely ineffective since we don't speak german - because three soldiers were getting on and needed seats.  We then had to try to sleep sitting up, but I'm terrible at that.  I found myself looking out the window with a blank mind as the train streaked through the dark night, watching as the partly-concealed moon lit up the snowy peaks of the Austrian Alps, which were breathtaking and eerie in the moonlight.  

Fortunately, the soldiers disembarked around 5 a.m. and we slid the three seats on our side out again figuring that there was still room for others if they should need to come in.  We were awake again around 7:30 or 8, and commuter passengers started to get on, which was honestly a bit disconcerting since we'd been sleeping there all night and now, bleary-eyed, had to face prim students and business people travelling into Vienna for the day.  It's lucky that we were able to sleep as much as we did, but it was still not as restful as I'm sure the first class and sleeper cars would be.

We arrived at the Westbahnhof just after 9 a.m., and set out in search of the downtown and some coffee.  We set out on the right street, but in the completely wrong direction.  We ended up touring all the way down Marie Hilfer Strasse to the Museum of Technology and Schloss Schonbrunn, only to discover that we would need to walk all the way back down this street to reach the 'ring' -  the inside and heart of Vienna.  That represents about, say, just over 2 hours.  Not only were we tired from train-sleeping, but we had our backpacks on (about 25 lbs each) for this whole trek, and my legs were exhausted.

Us in the Cafe, before realising we'd walked the wrong way, caffeinating

Last night we stayed with my friend, Jakob, and that was wonderful.  We met him near his house, and he cooked dinner for us.  We drank some beers, watched Surveillance, by Jennifer Lynch (very much as creepy as her father), and then went to bed.   SO GOOD.  I was asleep before Jakob even had the lights out.  Tonight we are couchsurfing with Paul (post on couchsurfing coming soon), and we are presently hanging out in his kitchen while he's at work.  Today was a very chill day, late breakfast with Jakob, the Albertina museum for an Andy Warhol exhibit, and then a little walking around but not very much.  It's so nice to just take it easy and not feel like we have to keep moving to rush through the city.

At the Albertina, in a Hall of Mirrors

Tomorrow we'll see the Belvedere for the Klimt collection, the Museum of Music which is where Paul works, and the Naschmarkt for some wandering and good eating of fresh foods.  I'm very excited to go out on Thursday night to a club called Flex, which is one of the best in Vienna, and very close to both Paul and Jakob's places.  

Oh, and the best part so far:  United Nude shoes.  Designed by an architect and a shoe designer, and this particular pair inspired by the Charles and Ray Eames chair.

The Eamz Sandal

1 comment:

  1. oh my god these are SO GOOD the shoes. whoa. so very good.