Monday, August 10

We woke up this morning later than normal for a travel morning. I think we got to sleep in until 7am! It was quite exciting considering the noise that the other roommates made when they came in at 4am!! I guess I should get used to it because in Prague we will be sleeping in a room with 70 other people. Makes 12 seem like nothing.
We took the bus and the train and the tram to get back to the far train station where we were early – Sophie hates it that I like to be early for trains…I guess I am just so used to planes where you have to be early that I insist in applying this idea to trains as well. In any case, we had time to eat our brioche with nutella and peaches before we climbed aboard. And, it was a good thing that we got on when we did because, once again, there was a shortage of train seat space!
The ride was uneventful, really. I think the train was mostly full of North Americans, which was funny because aside from the guy running the hostel in Budapest, there haven’t been many North Americans around.
We got to Vienna around noon and made our way down towards the centre. It is, once again, a big city – and there is so much to see!! Thankfully, Herman, (from our first couch surfing location in Munich ) lived in Vienna for 8 years and gave us a map and provided us lengthy details of what were the mandatory sites!
We passed by almost everything at some point or another, I think. Firstly, we walked along the Mariahilfestrasse where there was a tonne of shopping! It was kind of difficult, actually, because we were really trying to resist shopping!! I, however, was excited to see a huge Swarovski shop. After I saw the ones in Salzburg and decided that I would probably buy something, I went on-line and checked out what my options were! I found the exact thing I wanted on-line, but neither of the stores in Salzburg carried it…so I was excited to see that this first store we entered had the necklace I wanted! And, it was also nice to see it was listed for the same price as I saw on-line. It took about 2 seconds of looking at it to make the purchase (which is pretty amazing, for me!). It really helps when I know exactly what I am looking for and what I am expecting to pay for it! I decided to buy a necklace instead of a trinket because I don’t like to dust – and necklaces are really more my thing, anyway!! J
We continued walking and walking and walking and passed many museums including the ones for natural history and art. We continued walking and saw the Hofburg castle (I think that is what it is called). It was nice – they really like white statues here in Vienna (and I guess in Austria in general!). We continued walking through the castle district and saw where the Vienna Boy’s Choir practices and where the Lipizzaner Stallions also ride – both of which don’t run this time of year! I was very disappointed, but I think Sophie was rather relieved. I don’t think she is much of a concert person at all.
Sophie was hungry – and I guess I was too, so we walked to the Cafe Landtmann where we had a nice little argument because Sophie couldn’t make up her mind between eating and only having a coffee…which irritated me because I just wanted to have a nice big meal and call it done for the rest of the day, but Sophie thought it was too expensive and told me to eat by myself, which I obviously didn’t want to do. And so, both of us being incredibly stubborn sat there and didn’t talk for a while – quite nice, really! Who knew there could be someone who was even more tight with money than myself?! Go figure!!
We silently walked around the Rathaus, which was also quite beautiful and Cathedral-like. There is a film festival going on right now and it was one of Wagner’s operas that was going to be playing this evening. (Quite fitting, because of the castle we went to see in Germany that was made to bring his operas to life!) Of course, because we weren’t really talking, there was no real decision made to go or not to go – but it ended up being a good thing that we didn’t go because there was a huge rain downpour!
I don’t like silence, and talking to a person that doesn’t reply gets irritating, so, quite maturely, we split up for an hour and a half – I hoped that that would help the situation! It was only food, after all!! I went and walked back through the castle district – read up about the stallions and poked around all of the tiny little streets with amazing little shops in them. The shopping here in Vienna is just amazing.
We met back at the castle around 5pm, where we headed back up towards the train station where we had arrived because we knew there was a grocery store there. We managed to find useful things to eat – pretty much the standard bread and cheese, however, here in Austria, they have milk that is actually refrigerated, which tastes just soooo much better. We ate in a little park before deciding to walk all the way to Bernd’s place.
We walked because we had two hours to kill before he would be home for the evening, and we didn’t want to just sit on his step – and you get to see more things when you walk, rather than take the tram…however, by this time, we had already been walking for 8 hours with our packs on our backs, so the walk was rather long!! And…to top it all off….it really did start to downpour when we were about 40 min away from his place. It rained and rained and rained and we got wetter and wetter and wetter. The worst part was after we had actually found his building complex…the way he had written his address didn’t make much sense at all and we wandered around looking for the right place for a good 10 minutes in the downpour. Finally, Sophie ran towards someone who was walking and it was him!! It was a good thing too, because we had walked past his place several times already!!
Bernd’s place is absolutely spotless…makes me even nervous to move about! It is very comfortable, however, because he has done this a lot and has good ideas to make sure we are who we say we are – for example he checked my passport before giving me a key to the place, which is a really good idea! So, yah, tomorrow we are going to make pasta for all of us – so Sophie and I can eat something else for a change…
For now, good night – breathing may be a challenge – as my lovely cold is completely in my chest – but I am sure I won’t die!
Night -AJ

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