Friday, June 24, 2005

A Visit to Vienna's Giant Ferris Wheel

June 8, 2005 – 1:05 PM, Vienna, Austria

I’m sitting here in our hotel in Vienna, waiting for my hair to dry a little before I try to style it. Luckily, they let us check in early, so we decided to shower and then, to counteract jet lag, we’re going to hit the streets. Because our bodies are still on Virginia time—7 AM—we have to stay up until at least 9 PM tonight.

The flight over was awesome! No doubt about it, Business Class is the way to travel. The head flight attendant actually came by and personally spoke to each traveler, asking if there was anything she could do for us. The food wasn’t all that great, but the menu was nice. We had a choice of lamb, Cornish hen or cod. And Kathy and I both chose champagne for our drinks. The seats went all the way back so you could lie almost flat, and each seat had its individual TV. So, I managed to get a little sleep.

We made it from the airport to the hotel with very little trouble—except for the fact that we went the wrong way out of the train station and walked a long way before realizing it. If we keep making stupid mistakes like that, we won’t have to worry about gaining weight, even if we overdo it on that great Italian food, we’ll probably walk it off.

Well, my hair feels almost dry now, so I’m going to take my European hot styling brush and try to get myself presentable. And then we’re going out to explore.

June 8, 2005 – 9:40 PM, Vienna, Austria

I’m still awake, but just a little drunk. Kathy and I have had a great day! We went out for a coffee “pick me up” and damn, it was expensive—well, about the same as Starbucks, but I’m not a Starbucks fan. I just wanted plain old coffee, and got a very nice latte, but it wasn’t worth three Euros. Anyway, we jumped on a tram and headed for the Prater where Riesenrad, the world famous giant Ferris wheel is. We rode on it, just like Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy did in “Before Sunrise,” one of my favorite movies (and the one that made me want to visit Vienna.) It was fun, but yes…expensive. I have a feeling that’s going to be the case with just about everything we do here in Europe. Here’s one for the “Get a Clue” file. Carole, you didn’t bring enough freakin’ cash! Apparently, though, nobody cares whether you’ve bought a ticket for the tram because they never check it. Of course, we already bought ours—for both days, so we’re totally legal, but wondering why we had to cough up the Euros when nobody even checks to see if we have a ticket. Anyway, it’s fun taking the tram around Vienna, and I think by the end of our first day, we were really getting the hang of it. We actually found a restaurant that was recommended in a guidebook, and had a very nice dinner. I wanted Wiener schnitzel, but pork, not veal, and they didn’t have it, so I went for chicken Wiener schnitzel, and it was delicious! Good choice. We walked around Stadtpark for a while and came across a statue of Mozart and took a few pictures. Then we rode around the city on different trams before coming back to our hotel. It was still early, so we decided to go have a beer at a gasthaus down the street, and there, we struck up a conversation with Biergette, an Austrian waitress, and Hetti, a German woman who works at the German Embassy in Vienna. Hetti had lived in the Washington DC area for four years, working at the German Embassy there, and she told us how terribly homesick she was for America. We had a great time with these two very friendly ladies, and Biergette invited us to play a drinking game with her where we had to drink shots of…well…can’t remember what she called it, but I just know it burned as it went down. Anyway, we lost, and that’s why I’m feeling just a little drunk now. So…I’m off to bed, hopefully to sleep like a log in a real bed tonight. What a great first day in Austria! Until tomorrow…


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