Saturday, August 15, 2009

How do you solve a problem like Vienna?

I think I like Vienna.

Aside from the fact that I'm writing this with an old man sitting next to me puffing cigarette smoke in my face as he plays backgammon and looks at pictures of women, Vienna appears to be a very lovely city, and nowhere near as expensive as Sweden, Denmark, or Latvia.

Today I checked out Shonbrunn Palace, which was the number one recommended thing to do in Austria. This was the home of the mighty Hapsburg family, which at one stage ruled the world through the clever use of political marriage and inbreeding. This palace was huge, and very impressive with it's demonstration of the Imperial Family's wealth and influence.

We arrived early so as to avoid the rush, and managed to narrowly avoid getting stuck between a tour group of Americans and another bigger tour group of Americans, with their trademark sandal/sock combo. After the tour of the palace we (myself and an Aussie tour buddy) took a stroll around the massive gardens and labyrinth (photos to come), sans David Bowie. Though I did hide in the labyrinth singing 'Magic Dance' from the movie at one point, much my own amusement.

After that we went back into town and toured around the inner-city ring, with buildings that are as beautiful as they are difficult to tell apart, and ended up at the Imperial Treasury, with the crown jewels and a whole heap of Christian relics, including a piece of the Cross that Jesus was nailed to, and the spear that pierced him in the side. At least, that's what I think they were. We didn't get an audio guide and all the labels were in German. They could just have easily been ancient cooking utensils. Nonetheless very cool.

I also made sure I had Schnitzel, Crisp Apple Strudel, and coffee with an average piece of Sacher Torte.

Tonight me and my Australian tour group are off to see the orchestra. That should be fun. Hopefully nobody smokes next me there.

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