15.11.2009 10 °C
I head into town to explore the beautiful city of Vienna. What is about churches? They are everywhere! I end up walking through St Stephens. I am still in awe of the architecture of these buildings that were built without the modern aids we have today. How did someone simply know that a spire would come together with a dome inside? Pretty much all done with a slide rule, is pretty impressive. I’m sure there were basic drawings, but wow, this stuff is breathtaking. And then when the spire is complete and they have the dome in place, someone has to get up there, goodness knows how and paint it all! Over the past few days I’ve been impressed with art in general and anyone that has the skill to see something and then be able to transpose that to cavass is impressive, but to literally hang upside down and paint, suspended from god knows what, wow.
I see an Australian bar and by this stage I’m really hanging to hear an aussie voice. I haven’t heard one since I left my colleagues in Paris. You get in a different mind set when all you can hear around you is foreign language. I didn’t realise till now, how much I actually must listen to conversations around me. Not necessarily eavesdropping but just knowing there is conversation around you.
My best friend has become my ipod. Being able to listen to music while walking, while exploring has probably stopped me going even more crazy than I am. I also underestimated the sense of speech. Back in my hotel room I found myself actually saying things out loud, just so that I could actually speak. The only speech you have in a foreign country if you don’t know the language is simple words that you need to get you by. You learn to say please, thank you, good morning etc. The rest you can pretty much get away with pointing and raising one or two fingers depending on what it is you are after.
I head into the Australian bar and I get greeted in the most amazing cockney voice, hello luv. Great, I’m in Austria and an English backpacker is serving me. At least I can have a conversation with him. He is on a working holiday and he asks me what am I doing in Vienna. I tell him that I am on a holiday etc. As it’s an Australian bar, what else would it be without sport on the tv screen. He tells me that it’s part of the deal, they are only allowed to show sport on the tv screens. There is currently a replay of a football match on. (as I’m travelling through Europe, I will refer to football as the real football, what we generally call soccer). It is a game from 2002. It is the England qualifying match for the World Cup. The bar guy is quite enthused that there is someone in the bar with him at this time of the day that actually has an understanding of football. He tells me to watch this watch this! I watch the goal that is scored against England to put them out. He groans and asks me if I have any idea how many times he has watched that goal. I tell him I have no idea, but I’m guessing a few considering he knew the exact moment that the goal was about to be scored. He says, shattered, just shattered. I remind him that it was 7 years ago. He still says it hurts. I am reminded that football to the English is a passion that cannot be underestimated or explained.
I ask him if he has any bitters. He says bitters? Like a bitter beer? I say no, it’s an additive, very concentrated....No luv, none of this bitters you talk about, but we do have great Aussie beer. I tell him that I don’t drink. And he says, wow an Aussie that doesn’t drink in an Aussie pub. Yep,, I tell him I’m a rarity.
My quest is to find bitters on my trip somewhere. The more I can’t find it, the more I want it.
I finish my orange juice and think I should be exploring and seeing Viennese things rather than sitting in an Aussie bar. He tells me to come back later because the Aussies are playing cricket and the game will be on live. I tell him I will think about it. I notice they have vegemite on toast on the menu and it says. This is an Australian thing, not an Austrian thing. It is an acquired taste! I plan to head back there at some stage and experience the joys of home!
I mostly just wander through the streets of Vienna today going out to where the ferris wheel is. It isn’t working when I get there *sigh*. I will have to come back another time.
I experience the delights of the Sacher Torte. It is a very old, very famous chocolate cake. In the middle of the cake there is apricot jam (or something similar) and it is covered with a very rich, very dark chocolate. It is delightful. It is actually called the Original Sacher Torte. There was a naming rights debate in 1967 and Demel who also produce a Sacher Torte, won the rights to call their creation a Sacher Torte, where the Sacher Torte served at the Sacher Hotel won the rights to call theirs the Original Sacher Torte. It comes with fluffy cream. I’m not a fan of cream from a can never have been. It tastes like fluff, but something is needed to break the richness of the chocolate cake. I would love to have it with some King Island Cream. MMMM.
Again, all things come with a glass of water. This is good when you have eaten something rich, as you need it.
I will never get used to people being able to smoke inside restaurants, cafes, cars in Austria. It is horrid. At least in Paris, they can only smoke outside, which is still annoying but nowhere near as much as in Austria..
It is such an uncommon sight for me now to see ashtrays on tables in restaurants. There are no scary pictures on their cigarette packets either. I wonder what the cancer rates are in Austria. Maybe one day they will catch up to us in Australia. It will be interesting to see what the regulations are when i travel through Switzerland and Italy.
I wander through the Opera House on a tour. It is truly amazing. It’s a shame that you can’t take pictures in a lot of these places, but I think they also make a lot of money from selling photographs and paraphernalia themselves. I haven’t bought anything yet. I don’t really see anything that I want. There are lots of beer steins, which are heavy and would no doubt sit on the shelf gathering dust to whomever I gave them to. I am conscious that I still have a lot of travelling to do as well and don’t want to rack the kilos in the luggage up.
I head back to the Aussie bar and watch Ricky Ponting bat while I’m eating vegemite on toast. An Aussie sitting in a bar in Vienna watching cricket eating vegemite on toast, it doesn’t get much better than this!
I go to an Austrian supermarket and am in awe. It’s more like a food hall than a supermarket. I get some ham, some fresh bread roll and some tomato and cheese and decide that’s going to be my dinner tonight. (again) I was planning on going back to the Viennese restaurant again and having schnitzel again, but decide I’m tired and probably just want to sit in my room and veg out.
19 television stations. 2 in English, 1 is MTV and the other is CNN. It’s funny watching MTV and hearing all the songs I know etc and then when there is a break the ads are all in German. It still sounds like they are yelling every time an ad comes on. They sat fahrt a lot, no idea what it means but I still giggle when I hear it.
I catch up with a few people online and then head to bed.