Wednesday, August 19

32nd and 33rd - Austria & Slovakia

Friday August 14th, Jen & I met up at London Luton for a weekend adventure. We flew into Vienna, Austria that afternoon, dropped our stuff at the hostel and met up with James (an American History teacher from DC who Louise & I had met at our hostel in Budapest) who happened to be in Vienna for a few more hours before heading to Switzerland . . . see I'm not the only one who travels a lot!

We had a wonder around looking for an Austrian style food place to eat, which proved harder than we'd thought since we were on the south west side of the city & the main street which brings you into the centre is primarily clothes shopping (similar to Oxford St) which has lots of little cafes, but not what we were looking for. Finally James broke out the Lonely Planet guide, found an "authentic" place & we bee lined it there as we were running low on time before James had to catch his night train to Switzerland. Along the way James recommended places to see & things to do. As we turned the final corner we spotted the restaurant sign, but the windows looked rather dark - closed for summer holiday. We headed back to the main street & decided Jen & I would head over to the Film Festival going on at Rathaus (City Hall) since there were sure to be food stalls there. James headed back to the train station.

The Film Festival's food stalls were full of people, but Jen & I meandered our way to the Austrian style food (they had all varieties available, Thai, Chinese, Iranian, Mexican, American, Australian, French, Spanish, Greek, etc) and ordered two dishes to share, one meat & one veggie. The food was delicious, with large portions and even served on real plates, no paper/styrofoam crap ones :)When we were done eating we made our way through the crowds to check out the film which was being shown. It happened to be an opera, which neither Jen nor I am a huge fan of but we stayed for a little while. The Film Festival shows a film of a recent musical event in Austria every night for the months of July & August for free - VERY COOL! Saturday night we watched Lang Lang (pianist) play with the Austrian Philharmonic.

We hopped on the U-ban (subway) back to our hostel & decided to call it an early night as in order to catch the first bus of the day to Bratislava, Slovakia in the morning we had to wake up at 5am! PJs on, teeth brushed, clothes set out for early morning adventure, climbed up to my top bunk and fell asleep for a little while until the others from the room returned. They were obviously drunk & had no regard for others. They arrived around 1am, turned the room light on, spoke in normal voices, and eventually got into bed . . . what Jen & I didn't realise was that actually the two who'd come in were not actually both suppose to be in the room. One was a visitor who'd been brought back for the night. Ever hopeful they'd just pass out Jen & I tried to fall back asleep, but to no avail. The couple decided it was time to chat, giggle, and make out rather loudly for the next 4 hours - YES I'm not exaggerating at all! We'd fall asleep & then be woken up shortly later either for another member of the room returning or from the couple in the bunk opposite us. So 5am arrived quickly, we got up, showered, and ran out the door, but since neither of us had gotten a full nights sleep we were rather sluggish & missed the bus by 15 minutes. Next bus was not until 8.30am, so we bought our tickets, went upstairs to the waiting room, eat our breakfast which we'd bought along the way & took a nice hour long nap.

Bus arrived, we all clamored on, again Jen & I took a nap and 57 minutes later we'd arrived safe & sound in Bratislava, Slovakia. We jumped off the bus & headed off exploring the city. It's a beautiful, quaint city with lots of character & fun statues to find all over the place. We had a lovely meal at a restaurant which was recommended by Lonely Planet guide and we'd never have found it if weren't for the guide as it's on a quiet side street away from the main historic square where most of the tourists were milling around. After lunch we saw a few more sights before heading back to the bus station for our bus back to Vienna. Another hour long nap in attempts to catch up on our night of missed sleep and we were ready for a bit of sightseeing in Vienna. Here you can see a statue of Mozart with a beautiful floral design in front of him.Around 5pm we were starting to run out of steam, so we decided we needed a lil pick me up and thanks to Louise's recommendation of Sacher Torte, we headed right for the cafe! An apple strudel, a Sacher Torte & two Sacher teas later we were on a nice sugar high :)For dinner that night we headed back to the Rathaus but this time checking out their Mexican & Indian delights. Again we stopped for a bit of the free concert (Lang Lang) and then home for what we were hoping would be a more peaceful night of sleep . . . it was!

Sunday morning we woke up & got the tram over to Schroenbrunn Palace. Luckily we got there early as the queues can get rather long & being a warm sunny day we didn't want to be delayed as we had a plane to catch at 16.45. We took the hour long interior tour of the palace rooms before exiting to the beautiful grounds which are covered in different gardens, fountains & such. One of our favourite parts was the maze & labyrinth playground. It only took us 40 minutes to figure out the hedge maze, but we did it :) A quick lunch at a cafe before we headed back to the hostel to pick up our bags & mosey on back to the airport.

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At 20 August, 2009 02:22, Anonymous love, dad said...

great write up and report! fun to see your view on these places that I have recently been to.

At 21 August, 2009 14:18, Blogger mary o said...

Wonderful stories and great photos. Thanks, Ra,

Love, Mommio


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