06/06/2011 at 10:50 pm 2 comments

Woke up. Got dressed. Walked to the train station. Boarded the train. Same shit different day.

It was already the evening when we arrived at the Happy Hostel, so after dumping our stuff in the room we headed to a place called Gasthaus Franceschi which had been recommended by the hostel staff. It was a nice little pub run by an friendly (albeit slightly drunk) American called Gary. He talked to us about our travels and how he was planning a trip to the UK in the coming months. He also professed to us his love of snooker (which he insisted on pronouncing “snucker”).

It’s surprising how tired you can feel after a whole day of sitting on a train not really doing anything, so after the meal we headed back to the hostel and went to bed.

As usual we got up late in the morning and headed back to the gasthaus for a classic meat and cheese breakfast. At the hostel in Krakow there had been no option for breakfast in the morning, so it was good to have something prepared for us rather than having to worry about where the nearest supermarket or kebab shop was.

Afterwards we headed down Vienna’s main shopping high streets towards the city centre. We passed through the Museumsquartier and on towards Hofburg Palace which is where the Habsburgs used to hang out. The Lonely Planet guide had also recommended that we take a look at Saint Stephens Cathedral which is probably an architectural masterpiece, but unfortunately some wise guy had decided that a load of scaffolding would greatly improve its look. Either that or it just isn’t finished yet. This has been a constant problem/theme throughout Europe. We get to a place only to find that it has been turned into a construction site. I’m sure the same problems probably exist in England and I just haven’t noticed.

We crossed a bridge going over the Danube expecting to find plenty of bars and cafés, but unfortunately the whole place is very poorly utilised. At this point the Viennese should take note: when you’ve got a river like that take advantage of it. Cover the whole place in bars, cafés and restaurants. The tourists will love it. Unfortunately I expect that my cries will go unanswered.

We’d read somewhere (possibly on the internet) that the Viennese are very keen on their coffee, although this does seem to apply to most of Europe. Once again Lonely Planet came up trumps in recommending Kleines Café. It was full of locals as well which is always a good sign.

In the afternoon we headed to a corporate supermarket and purchased some corporate fruit before heading to the very public Sigmund Freud Park. The park is fairly small and at one end sits the Votivkirche (Votive Church), although this too had been ruined by scaffolding and advertising boardings. The Roman Catholic church certainly is selling out hard these days.

On the way back to the hostel we popped into an independent record store and had a good peruse of the shelves. I used to think that I had a reasonable knowledge of the music scene, but it soon transpired that I know little or nothing about the subject. About 90% of the CDs in the shop were by artists that I had never heard of.

In the evening, following much aimless walking around, we eventually found somewhere to have dinner. Chris and I settled down to some fine Austrian cuisine accompanied by some Schneider Weisse wheat beer.

The previous evening our American friend Gary had advised that we check out the nearby Travellers Shack. As the name suggests this is where a lot of travellers go. We arrived to find the place almost completely empty but the barman informed us that things in Vienna don’t really get going until 11pm. Because we had to get up early in the morning to catch a train Chris and I had originally intended to just have a “few” beers. However this plan went out of the window when the barman pulled out a bottle of something called “Vienna Blood”, which is a delicious chili based liqueur.

The bar steadily filled up throughout the evening and we found ourselves playing cards, table football and pool with our fellow travellers. The alcohol flowed steadily and several more shots were consumed (some of which were a little bit on fire). My pool skills went from bad to worse to non-existent and I eventually decided to call it a night. Fortunately I remembered where the hostel was and stumbled up the stairs and rolled into bed.

I awoke the next day to find my face covered in paint. Sign of a good night.


Entry filed under: Austria. Tags: , , , , , , , .

Auschwitz Bratislava

2 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Alan  |  08/06/2011 at 11:25 am

    Hi David
    Just catching up with the tour. The cities get evermore interesting as you make your way and the content of the blog very informative. You provide a great historical account and the added amusing remarks make for a good read.

    We also watched the Champions League Final on a large screen on the boat from Scrabster with a beer in hand. You are absolutely right Barcelona are far and away best team and the world.
    I don’t think a truncheon in the hand can be assumed to be a traditional Eastern European policing technique. In the 70s & 80s League fans were often subject to the same and it took 100s of dead to bring down the wire fence used to cage the fans in.
    Dresden and Prague seem to be the places to be from what you say they are well worth a visit.
    By now you have been to Bratislava and Budapest and from there on the itinerary you left runs out ! Maybe you could post the next leg to keep us all informed as to where you will be ?

    Take care Love Dada

  • 2. Ben Reynolds  |  08/06/2011 at 10:55 pm

    You went to Happy Hostel!? After all my warnings?!

    Did Gary let you get a word in edge-wise?


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