Lisa and Jeanne’s guidebook made a comment that Austria was “unremarkable.” Austria didn’t even garner its own book; it was just a footnote in the “Germany and Austria” book, foretelling the second fiddle status of this country that “might as well be Germany.”
Except, it wasn’t Germany. Vienna was dirtier. And more expensive. And the people weren’t as nice. And the food was basically German. I guess it’s no surprise I barely had any photos to sort from this leg of the trip. In fact, we were just glad we only had two nights in Vienna before leaving the country.
Our apartment was in what most locals would consider an “immigrant” neighborhood. But it was the only place in our price range. Similar apartments (size and style) in the city centre cost about triple what we paid. As with our German apartment, the shower sucked. So, we were basically on our fifth day with a crappy shower in this apartment…and this one was even worse. Another thing about Austria…their toilets SUCK. I mean they are really, really awful. They make no sense whatsoever. I would rather be offered a hole in the ground than ever perch on another Austrian toilet.
We spent out one full day touring the city centre using Rick Steves’ quick tour. It was fun seeing the architecture, including climbing the tower in St. Stephen’s Cathedral. We shopped at an upscale chocolate shop and bought some small cakes that we took to a local park to enjoy while we relaxed in the sun. The park was crowded with locals enjoying their lunch hours and soaking up some rays.
From the city centre, we took a train out to tour the summer palace of the Hapsburgs. After the train ride and a long walk (in the wrong direction…we ALWAYS go the wrong direction) we needed some refreshment. So, before we toured the palace we stopped for a beer. Which turned into a couple beers. And by the time we finished we had missed the last tour time for the palace, but they showed the gardens open for another hour. We headed out into the “backyard” of the palace, buying another beer on the way in. By the time we made it out into the Back 40 (more like back 40,000) we all had to pee. And in typical Euro fashion, bathrooms were not a part of the design of the most popular tourist attraction in the country. Seriously, after several trips to the continent I am convinced Europeans must not have to piss. At all.
After a quick glance at the gardens we all made a break for the entrance and the only toilets on the grounds. So much for that attraction. But the beer was tasty.
We got up the next morning and packed and headed to our train to take us to the Czech Republic. None of us were sad to leave Vienna (unlike Munich). I guess Rick Steves was right.
View the photoset for this leg of the trip: Vienna, Austria – March 2012