Sunday, June 26, 2005

A Rainy Send-Off in Vienna

June 9, 2005 – 10:50 PM, Somewhere in Austria

Okay, so I’m sitting here on the overnight train to Venice in our 4-person “Couchette,” which Kathy and I are sharing with a very nice Viennese couple. The train is a little bit of a surprise. It’s a “sleeping train,” which means pretty much just that. In other words, there are no seats, just beds. So, if you want to sit up, you have to sit up in your bed. What a concept! There was an even bigger surprise. There is no lounge car, no dining car and no snack bar. The man from Vienna told us they do have coffee in the morning, but we’d be better off skipping it. Apparently, it’s pretty bad. We ordered it anyway because we’re Americans, and we have to have our coffee in the morning—bad or not.

Okay, so it was an okay day—not as good as yesterday, but we had fun. We wisely decided to make a trial run to the bahnhof, and lucky we did because when we got to the Sudbohnhof, we found out that our train actually left from the Westbahnhof, which of course, wasn’t what our schedule said. So by the time we figured everything out—how to get from our hotel to the Westbahnhof, it was two o’clock. We stopped into this little café and had coffee and a bourbon-soaked cake with very sweet pink icing. Sat next to two gorgeous Austrian men—the kind you see skiing in the Olympics, but of course, they didn’t even notice a couple of “over-the-hillers” like us, even if we do look pretty damn good for our ages. :)

We shared a delicious chicken schnitzel sandwich at this fast food place (and if we’d known there wasn’t a dining car on this train, we probably would’ve each had our own.) Oh! Forgot to mention—it started raining about three, and we walked all the way back to the hotel to get our umbrellas, and I couldn’t find mine. So we stopped in at the gasthaus we went to last night, thinking maybe I’d left it there. Biergette was there, dressed in this cleavage-revealing dirndl—and it was the damndest thing! She acted like she didn’t even remember us from the night before—after all that talking over beer, the shot game she played on us, making us lose, and the 2 Euro tip Kathy left her. So, we figured the explanation has to be one of two things—either she was a little bit sloshed last night when we met or else she has a split personality, and really didn’t remember us. (Or a third possibility...maybe she has a twin?) Well, at least she posed with us in a picture anyway.

Well, Kathy has turned her light out, and I guess the couple in the upper bunk is ready to sleep, so I’d better stop writing now. This keyboard is making too much noise. Still lots of noise out in the aisle, though. I think some people must think this is a party train.



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