Archive for the ‘Austria’ Category

The Hills are Alive

August 24, 2011 - 10:10 pm No Comments

Most of today was spent on the 3-leg, 10-hour trip to Bled, Slovenia, the longest journey of our itinerary. We headed through southern Austria, where the tunnels were impressively long and the mountains and valleys were suddenly majestic. The hills are definitely alive.

Hochosterwitz Castle (more…)

Vienna: Falco, Mozart, and Schnitzel

August 21, 2011 - 10:36 pm No Comments

Vienna’s got a touristy center, but it’s not as concentrated as the other cities we’ve been to, so the only way to really see everything is to use the trains and buses. The trains here make a cool Spies Like Us alarm sound when the doors are closing.

We started our morning with Mass at St. Stephen’s Cathedral. I poked my head in for a quick listen, but so did every other tourist in Vienna.

Inside St. Stephen's Cathedral (more…)

The Bouncy Bus to Vienna

August 21, 2011 - 4:15 am No Comments

A local guy with a minivan provided us with shuttle service from Český to Vienna. He drove like a bat out of hell, swinging around the windy, crumbling roads of the Czech hills without even tapping the brakes. I don’t normally get carsick, but this was pretty extreme.

The road straightened out a bit, and we passed under a nondescript wooden canopy in the middle of nowhere. Turns out that it was the border, and just like that, we were out of the Czech Republic and in Austria. Signs changed from Czech to German, and the roads got smoother. An expressway took us into Vienna, or Wien (“VEEN”) as it appeared on the signs. Seeing the local spelling, it suddenly dawned on me where wieners and wienerschnitzel comes from.

After stopping at the hotel to check in, we took a train into town for another one of Tomi’s city orientation walks. At the train station, I spent 20 euro cents on a public scale and weighed myself with all of my gear: 96.5 kg (212.7 lbs). No wonder my feet hurt. They are used to 30 pounds less than that.

Vienna is expansive, with nothing that really stands out. It’s got some history, but there’s nothing all that impressive about it. The cathedrals, churches, government buildings, and museums all seem to have scaffolding around them. Vienna seems to be in a constant state of repair.

St. Stephen's Cathedral (more…)