I think I’m turning Viennese

January 22, 2011 at 7:38 PM | Posted in Face Abroad, Globetrotter | Leave a comment

Ah. Vienna. The extravagance, the magnificence, the wonder. I’m not exaggerating, this city deserves all these verbs and more. Vienna came after Prague. When I was planning out my trip I said “hmmmmm…since I won’t be going to Bad Durkheim for the wine festival this year where should I visit?” Brussels was a strong option and Zurich was a close second. “How about Vienna?” my co-worker chimed in. Oh Vienna eh? Might be fun. My co-worker went on to say a friend of his went to visit family there and was blown away. Didn’t take more persuasion than that. “Vienna it is!” I exclaimed. Plus it was a cheap bus trip from Prague and a cheap train ride into Munich. Booked!

I got off the bus from Prague groggy and tired but my eyes popped open when I got off the train, at the wrong stop I might add. Look at this scenery! The hills were green-green, the sun was shinning brilliantly and it was simply beautiful. I got off the train and took about 3 minutes to marvel at the sight. Then snapped out of it and said Wait, I’m lost! I picked a stop on the map that seemed like a huge station. Off I went. I was starving at that point and walked into a cafe to get some grub. I got a pretzel ham sandwich. Delish! I asked the counter people how to get to the stop for my hostel. The one guy who knew English told me how to get there. Go right up those stairs and take the train inbound to the city center. Perf! The train was about to leave, so I dashed inside sans ticket. I made myself as inconspicuous as possible, in case a ticket person came around. Good thing it was only a 10-minute ride. I got on the subway and got off at Thaliastrasse and made it to Jack’s Hostel.

Jack showed me to my room and gave me a map. I had to quickly run to the ATM because he was cash only. I stopped at the supermarket to get toothpaste and marveled at the people speaking German as if it were normal, then a shoe store to buy sneakers I didn’t need, but they were purple so I decided I did. I browsed the stores and noticed a lot of them were closed on a Saturday. Huge bummer because I eyed a Swarovski necklace that I would have bought in a flash. I saw two good looking sharply dressed men eying me and smiling. I almost smiled back then realized I was on a bus for over four hours! I can’t smile at attractive Viennese men looking like this! Yick! I literally ran back to the hostel to get myself together.

YAY!

It was very warm. A nice change from the harsh weather of London, Prague and Amsterdam. I hoped on a tram Jack advised would take me to the museum area. I walked around. The architecture was simply amazing. The streets dazzled. Nice and clean. Except for the abundance of pet dander. I noticed people were not in the habit of picking up after their dogs. Ick! I went to buy a couple souvenirs and a disposable camera since mine died in the Amsterdam rain. I went on to the shopping district and happened upon the first thing on my list. The Sacher Hotel. The Sachertorte was my goal. I was seated at the fancy schmancy place. I ordered the Sachertorte mit kaffe. It was so rich and delicious. Like me! There was an American couple next to me, that I bothered to take a picture of me with. They were ready to leave and the husband was a little perturbed that they had been waiting on their check for-ever! He yelled to the waiter outraged by this injustice. The waiter pointed at the little glass with the check that had been sitting there probably since they got their food as my waiter and every other waiter in the establishment did when they brought over the orders. He huffed and puffed and threw the money on the table and some bills fell on the floor and grumbled at his wife to let’s go! I shook my head. Shame.

Sachertorte mit kaffe

I used their elegant bathroom then left to take pictures and window shop. I walked into the Swarovski store and went looney. I looked at my map. What else can I do at 6p.m.? All the stores are closed and it’s a bit dark but too early to go back to the hostel. I noticed a picture of a fairground on the map. Welp. Why not? I hopped on the train and got off to the fairgrounds. Oh a Viennese Coney Island! I got on a couple rides and admittedly laughed out loud at how much fun I was having. I even took a picture on the Ferris Wheel to give to my parents.

It was getting a little late so I went back to the hostel to figure out my plans for the night. I stopped to grab a Doner Kebab on my way back. Com-pleet. Heaven. A drunk man stopped me asking “Sistah, sistah, where can I get a woman like you?” No clue sir, have you tried Barnes and Nobles? He said he was from Algeria and will take me back to his country to marry me. I told him it may not be a good idea considering I am not Muslim. He agreed it wasn’t then proceeded to let me know he’s kill every man in my family so that our relationship could work. Safe to say the conversation was ended and my gait quickened. Back at the ranch hostel, Jack recommended the Bermuda triangle for dancing and such so that’s what I decided on.

While waiting on the train a slim man walked past me, side-eyeing me and said ‘Hola.’ “Hola,” I replied, thinking it was strange. He turned around and looked at me then looked away. Oh boy. I chuckled to myself. I deliberately got on a car that would be out of his way to see what he would do. He got on the same car. I sat down. He sat at the seat diagonal to me. I smirked. He picked up an extraneous newspaper and pretended to read. I smiled then laughed out loud. Is this guy serious? He finally leaned in and whispered something in German. I said no, no I don’t know German. He asked what languages I knew. I said English, Spanish and a reasonable amount of French. He was from Tunisia so his French was better than his English. So he spoke to me in French. I said I was American. He insisted no, no where is your family from. I said Panama. He smiled approvingly. What does it matter I asked? He said he thought I was either Dominican or Colombian and said he hung out with a lot of Latinos. He was actually on his way to a salsa club at the same stop I was heading too. A salsa club I exclaimed! Really? Thinking it was strange. He said yea why would that be strange there’s lots of different people in Vienna. True, I agreed. It was silly of me to assume the city was homogeneous.

I said Vienna is far from Tunisia. What gives. He said why did he have to stay in Tunisia? I said there must have been a reason for the move. He said it’s just better here. I narrowed my eyes at him. Oh so it was for a woman huh? He smiled sheepishly. He said I looked a lot like her. I rolled my eyes. Don’t even try it, I’m spoken for already. He laughed and put his hands up innocently. He admitted yes, it was a woman and he was with her for a couple years but it didn’t work out and he decided to stay.

We went to the Dominican-owned bar and I proceeded to chat up some of the Dominican clientele. My new friend was a woman who was born in London, who had never set foot in the Dominican Republic. She just moved to Vienna and spoke no German.

My Dominican amigos

It was late and I needed to get in a few hours of sleep before sight-seeing the next day, so I bid my friends goodbye and back to Jack’s I went. The next day, I had Jack’s “Viennese breakfast,” which as a roll with ham and cheese. As I was sipping my tea a couple other hostel dwellers came in. I said hi in Spanish. It was an older woman, her husband and their son. He looked to be in his twenties. I thought it was a bit peculiar that they were in a hostel but nothing more. We chatted a bit then they asked if I was in Prague a couple days ago, I hesitated and said yeaaaa….they all laughed and said they saw me there, they were at my same hostel. We all laughed. I asked were they traveling to more cities? they said yes, the next stop was France, because their son lives there and they wanted to do a little family vacation around Europe. They were from Mexico. How wonderful I exclaimed. I told them a lot of Latinos live in Vienna, especially Dominicans and I went salsa dancing last night. They raised their eyebrows and said wow, they never would have guessed. They said a lot of Turks live here too. We chatted a while longer then I got ready for the day. The zoo was the first stop, then Hundertwasser house. Both were amazing. I spent a lot time at the Queen’s gardens, which the zoo was located inside of. After Hundertwasser I strolled through Hundertwasser gardens.

Hundertwasser Haus

It was along a riverbank. I walked the length of the bank and came upon blasting music. I went to investigate. There was some sort of bike competition happening. I looked around and noticed a bar and sand and art. Jackpot! I looked at what the locals were ordering. Ottakringer. I took my giant beer and looked at the art and lounged in the beach chair. I looked at the locals fishing and smoking with their underage sons. Observed the advice scrawled under the overpass. “Don’t be a banana, when you are an apple.” Wise words. I got lost in my thoughts while De La Soul pumped in my ears. This is pretty awesome. I was hungry and had vowed I would not leave Vienna without tasting the wienerschnitzelr. I got my Wiener with mayonnaise salad. It was basically an oversized chicken nugget with potato salad.

wienerschnitzel and mayonnaise salad


I then went to get ready for my next Eurostop. OKTOBERFEST!

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