Vienna’s magnificent charm

Taking the train from Budapest was very easy, and comfortable. I got a seat which was great, because there were many reserved, and only a few open, where people feverishly went up and down the aisles looking for a seat with their backpacks. Finally some settled for seats that showed the person would get on in Vienna and continue on to Switzerland, but others weren’t so lucky and sat in the food car hallway.

When I arrived, I got into a taxi and driven to the hotel nearby. Upon checkin, I got situated in my room and was excited to have a nice clean hotel room for a change. The balcony was great, and let me have fresh air in the room with CNN going with the Gaza saga, as well as internet. It was a good pause in my trip to get caught up on some things.

That evening, I headed out and checked out the grounds nearby of the Schönbrunn Castle, which was huge and expansive. Walking up to the top of the hill gave amazing views of the city below, along with the palace. I then went on to the bus parking lot to see if I could get on the hop on hop off bus tour and squeeze out an extra day by getting down to the center to explore tonight.

On my way to the bus, I did find that the palace was doing a concert that night that I could attend. After saying no, no to the price of $60 or so, I passed by a couple other times, and the price went lower, down to $35 :) Not being able to pass up a good deal like that, I decided to check out the orchestra production of famous songs performed by the symphony. Before the show, I went around and found dinner nearby and had a filling heavy meal.

After a relaxing dinner, I went back to the concert hall and enjoyed beautiful music played in a hall that was the site of Mozart’s last performance. It was amazing to be in this musically historic place, and I was excited to see what more Vienna had in store.

The next morning, I went on the bus tour that brought me down town so I could explore. I found the spot where the walking tours began, and explored a little before the walking tour. Finally, a group began to form around this little old feeble looking woman that was to be our tour guide.

As the tour began, she made me laugh because she had this attitude of wanting to tell us some interesting things, as if Mozart and Bach were her friends/peers, but also having that ‘I don’t give a damn’ mentality when crossing the busy streets with a gaggle of tourists feverishly trying to keep up with her.

Along the tour, I met up with another few Americans, and they were actually from Austin too! It was very random, so we chatted a bit and continued along the tour weaving us through Vienna’s streets where famous composers, and musicians all lived, worked, and played.

That evening, I went on another tour at the amazing Opera house. This was one of the best tours I’d ever been on, the woman doing the tour was amazingly fluid, knowledgeable, engaging, and brought us all around the opera house giving us insider information about the beautiful historical building. She was fluent in four languages, and gave her tours everyday in each.

That night I had a hankering for some sushi, so I found a nice Japanese restaurant and had a good meal–and it was all run by Japanese, so I got to speak too! That evening, I went for the Haus of music tour to learn more about the musicians who lived in Vienna, and it was a really great interactive museum. As I had an extremely busy day, I headed back to the hotel for a relaxing evening.

The next day, I got to now do the full bus tour, and see some other sites of the city, and I explored some places that seemed interesting. I went into a beautiful old library that was stunningly perfect in its awe inspiring beauty of sweeping spiraling staircases, globes, rolling ladders, and the spines of books being hit by the light that came in from various windows above. I got some great photos of this.

That afternoon, I continued through some other museums like the Esperanto museum and the Papyrus museum, and enjoyed my day wandering the streets of Vienna. I had a wonderful visit to this beautiful city of history, and will definitely be coming back one day :)


Trip to Hallstatt

This morning, Daniela and I took a drive out to the countryside again, but this time to a village called Hallstatt, situated between the mountains. The weather was again so perfect, and the scenery, of course gorgeous. The green grass, the flowers in all the windowsills of the houses built from wood, and little roads curving throughout the hills really will always be my memories of Austria. This village was so cool though, and it had a cemetery that is quite unique. The people who had died, signed up to be placed in this ossuary… so you’re buried, and they wait until only bones are left. They then take the bones and place them in this room, decorating your skull with your name, date of death and flowers or crosses.


On the way home from here, we stopped off at these other villages along the way, and one place we stopped particularly for its dessert. This dessert is a famous dessert for Austria and is only made at this one place. It was quite expensive for a little tiny piece, but it was the most interesting dessert I have ever had, and for those of you who know me, you know I have tried SEVERAL desserts in my day.. =)

So, back to the dorm we went and had spaghetti for dinner. It will be a little sad to move on because I have really enjoyed the people I have met here! But, such is the life of a globetrotter*

Bike Ride with Ginchen

Today, Daniela, Verena, and Dorni all had to work during the afternoon, so Ginchen (a friend from the dorms) and I went for a nice long bike ride. We went first to a flea market where Ginchen had found some things she had wanted to buy. Then we were off to the grocery store to buy sandwiches for a lunch in the park at Hellrunn, where there is a little castle that was constructed in one month! That should tell you though how big the castle was. We then headed to Hallein to GelatoK, an AMAZING place for ice cream.. Just to give you and idea, the most expensive ice cream on the menu was the Königschale (Kings scoop) for a mere ¬ 37.95 = $~30. This thing was huge, and could feed about 10 people! Needless to say, I opted for a smaller version for just ¬ 1.50, but it was sooooo good! We then rode our bikes home and met up with Daniela and Verena. This weather is sooooo great! Shorts, short-sleeve shirts and sunglasses are the only things necessary!


So last night, we packed up the car and headed toward Daniela’s parents house in Eberschwang. It is a tiny little village located east of Salzburg and a little north. Anyhow, the night was very fun because we went to a place to have a traditional Austrian dinner. Here at this restaurant, well if I could call it a restaurant, was a house, and we were the diners for the evening, along with some other drunk Austrian men hitting on the ladies sitting at the table next to ours. Anyhow, what is so traditional about this restaurant is not only that all the food prepared is handmade, even the bread they serve, but it is all cold served. So, I got a huge plate of all these sausages and meats with bread. It was really good, but it was too much. After the dinner, we headed to a bar for a while to hang out. After that bar, we went to another, one owned by Daniela’s ex boyfriend. It was a nicer, smaller place. Anyhow, enough talk about bar hopping in Austria, the next morning, we spent the day at the parents house. It is a huge house that they built themselves in 1972. It was really cool, and the bed was sooo nice. That morning after breakfast, I went with Daniela’s dad around the town for a walk, and to watch a music fest of traditional music and costume. For some reason, they were having it as a festival, and I got to see all the traditional dress and listen to the music. That afternoon, we had a huge barbecue with steaks, my favorite käsekrainer, salads, potatoes, and juice. It felt like I had been eating for hours but it was sooo good! After the barbecue, we hung out, Dorni and Verena practiced their juggling with the bowling pins because they have to go volunteer at an elementary school tomorrow. They will be teaching the kids how to juggle. Anyhow, I was very impressed by their talent. I was also part of the -act- today because they needed to -practice- on me. I held a stick in my mouth, and they juggled around me, and got closer and closer to the stick. Eventually the stick was knocked out of my mouth, and I was set free =) So, the afternoon quickly left, and we packed the car and headed back to Salzburg.

Hitler’s Eagle Nest

Today, Daniela, Verena and I set off in the morning to see the old hideout of Hitler in the hills of Berchtesgarten. We paid $12 which was a complete rip off for this bus that took us to the top of the mountain, and from there we could either hike up the rest of the mountain to the Eagle’s Nest or take a huge elevator up to the top. The weather was completely awesome, so we decided to hike the way up. You would not believe these views, as they were sights I had never seen before. The massive mountain tops with snow covered cliffs and the green trees toward the bottom really made this trip a picturesque memory. Unfortunately, the Eagle’s Nest is really just a nice place that you can sit down and eat with obviously an amazing view of the mountains and lands below. There was absolutely no museum within his house. After we descended the mountain we walked over to a museum that was more about the history and stuff about this time during the war, and Hitler’s rule. It was really interesting because it had a lot of film and pictures from the Holocaust and details about some of the ideas behind Hitler that I don’t think are always completely explained in books. Anyhow the entire day was a really cool event with the mountain fresh air and the amazing views, I would definitely put this site in a things-to-see list.

Hiking to the Sound of Music

Today, I met one of Daniela’s friends, Daniela, yes I know it’s confusing, but anyhow, we all went together for a hike up this mountain. It’s in the same area where the Sound of Music was filmed, so I am sure you can imagine how beautiful it was. I think also that I couldn’t have had more perfect weather for the hike… the sun and the temperature was absolutely awesome! The only bad thing was I have allergies?! My nose was running, sneezing, and having a fit, I guess I can’t handle all this clean air! Anyhow, the hike was great, and we’re relaxing the rest of the afternoon. Actually Daniela has to work at this dinner, so me and Dorni (Daniela’s sister’s boyfriend) and I are going to hang out and go to a party.

Salzburg Downtown, Home of Mozart

Today we had perfect weather… we went this morning on a long bike ride to the center of Salzburg to see the castle, and all the sights. We went to Mozart’s birth house, and his regular house after he moved. It was really interesting. We also ate at a really nice café and I had my first Bosner.. it’s just really like a hot dog, but it had curry spices and mustard..

Anyhow, we had a great day walking around the town and catching up. I am thinking about staying here a little longer than planned since there’s so much we can do..skiing, Hitler’s hideout, Daniela’s house in the countryside, hiking etc..

Daniela and the Barbecue

From the window, as I was arriving in Salzburg Hbf, I saw Daniela as we arrived! We met up and had some lunch–I was starving, and we drove to her apartment about 20 minutes away. It was raining, so you really couldn’t see the mountains nearby. That afternoon, we hung out and I met her sister and all her friends. Everyone is so nice and I like it here so much. That night about 10 of us had a huge barbecue with steaks, sausages, potatoes, salads, and it was really fun. I went to bed early though cause of how exhausting the day was.