Saturday, October 30, 2010

Pretty Vienna

Vienna is a very pretty city. That is the most accurate way I can describe it. It's just really pretty. Great care was taken to create things that are classically beautiful and then even greater care has been taken to preserve that beauty. But, the flip-side of that coin is that everything is only that. Pretty. It's like a beauty queen. A pageant girl. "Yeah, you're pretty. Veneer teeth. Shiny hair. A lovely, planned, memorized speech. But what else you got? Show me something interesting!" Not that I didn't like it. I did. But I wanted something more to hold my interest.

What did peek our interest when we first got there was the hotel. We got to Vienna late and there was no front desk person at the hotel. Kinda weird. It was just an Asian kid who was kind of on night duty and he didn't speak any English so we attempted to communicate back and forth and eventually figured out our room number and got the key. We got up to our floor and it was pretty much pitch black. No lights on in the hallway. I thought there must be some easy fix to this. It's a fire hazard to have no lights! So we started walking anyway and a motion sensor allowed for the lights to turn on. Phew! We made it to our room and the lights there wouldn't stay on for longer than five minutes! We were utterly confused. Eventually we found a card slot next to the door above the switches and Andrew put the key in. Viola! Lights stayed on. Andrew thought the layout of the room was pretty crazy. So he took some photos. Here they are:

The hallway to our room after the lights came on.

You walk into our room and there are doors everywhere. It's got it's own little entryway. The open door you see is the door to the bedroom. The closed door on the right is the bathroom (one of them) and the wood panel is a closet door.

There was another closed door on the left. This was the bathroom #1 (or #2 depending on your "point of view") and it had the toilet and a sink. It was really narrow. It looks much bigger than it actually was!

This is bathroom number 2 (which was beautiful with white tile, turquoise and yellow accents) with a shower and tub. Andrew first saw this bathroom and said, "Uh, Christina. We've got a problem here. No toilet." He hadn't seen the other bathroom yet.

While there was no toilet in this bathroom, there was a bidet! Lovely offer. But no thanks.

We had a gorgeous view (but of course all views are - it's "Pretty Vienna" after all!).

We didn't get any photos of the bedroom showing the crystal chandelier unfortunately. It was really.... you guessed it! Pretty!

We ventured out the next morning to see the town and caught some lovely monuments along the way:

Also a real, live shoe maker!

And a little taste of Rome - some ancient Roman ruins found in the city.

More ruins.

Gorgeous ceilings (I like ceilings).

Lots of pretty white statues everywhere too and horse drawn carriages. I hate horse drawn carriages. Those horses do not have good lives. Google it. You won't ride one again.

Andrew really likes lions.

In one square or park or plaza (or whatever) area there were some military planes, helicopters, equipment, etc. going up on display for the weekend.

We caught them moving this jet into place. They hadn't put the wings on yet. It was crazy to see this jet swinging around on a crane!

The museums in Vienna were so... you guessed it... PRETTY... from the outside.

I don't think I was supposed to stand on this grass.

Andrew admiring some statues.

After our walk through town, we hopped on the underground and made our way to Schonbrunn Palace. It was really... say it with me now... PRETTY... on the inside. The original furniture and tons of paintings and the gardens! They were the PRETTIEST of all!

Andrew admiring the palace from the outside.

This photo came out a little blurry. Sorry! We're in part of the gardens here.

The statue has 2 faces.

A real taste of fall. YEAH!!!!

So... what's the word... PRETTY... in the gardens.

The grounds just seemed to go on forever.

Us in the gardens with the back of the palace behind us.

Medusa's head!

Now, what word can I use to describe this. Hmmmm?


We couldn't take any photos inside the palace unfortunately. So, you'll just have to visit it yourself. After the palace, we rode the train back into the center of town and decided to stop at the main station and buy our train tickets out of town. We ran into a slight problem that sent me into a tizzy. The overnight train we wanted to take from Vienna to Venice was sold out. Sold out! We wanted to leave on a Friday night so that was the problem. It hadn't occured to me. We were able to buy every other train ticket we needed on the spot. We went back to the hotel to frantically search online for other ways to get to Venice. Eventually we ended up taking a long trip during the day but because of the length of the trip, that meant we had to leave Vienna the next morning rather than the next evening after dinner, like I had planned. I wasn't happy about it, but oh well. We had no other choice. The biggest bummer is that our trip was partially by train and partially by bus. We weren't looking forward to it but it didn't turn out so bad. The trip between Austria and Italy was absolutely gorgeous. Not just pretty. Gorgeous. There were peaks and valleys and snow capped mountains in the distance and rivers and lakes and small farms and big farms and little towns and old, run down villages and big, gorgeous homes and sheep and horses and cows... it was just incredible. So incredible that I was too captivated to even think to take out my camera and I didn't get a shot of anything. But just trust me. Amazing!

But before we left Vienna we were able to get a wonderful Viennese meal of schnitzel and boiled roast. It was so good. And the potato salad they served mine with... the best I've ever had in my life. I know that sounds lame. It's just potato salad. How good can it be? It was friggin' delicious, okay? I'd eat it every day if I could! The potatoes Andrew's came with were wonderful too... they were more smashed than mashed but the texture worked really well with the flavor. We were utterly pleased with our last meal in Vienna. We had intended on seeing the Jewish Museum the next day so since we couldn't, we checked out the memorial instead. On the side wall of the memorial there was an inscription saying it was dedicated to the 65,000 Austrian Jews that died in the Holocaust. Its hard to tell from the picture but each of those small rectangles is a cement block shaped like a book. Andrew did the quick math and there were approximately (if not exactly) 65,000 cement books. So the memorial was like a collection of stories about each person...quite moving.

Vienna was nice. I'd like to see other parts of Austria next. Closer to Switzerland and Germany. Next up is Italy. Stay tuned!

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