Castles Street Stalls and Music.....culture Austrian style
15.11.2009 10 °C
Tonight I am going to an operetta and a ballet performance. I’m quite excited. I get on the Vienna version of the hop on hop off bus and plan to head to Schobrunn Palace today. Today it is cold. I am still only wearing a short sleeve shirt, with my wind jacket in my bag. I don’t want to be carrying around bulky items of clothing. I must seem very odd as I know a lot of people are looking at me. They have heavy coats, scarves, hats and gloves and I have my jeans and short sleeve shirt on. Oh well, we already knew I was crazy.
I think the best way to see a foreign city is on bus where they have English speaking guides via headset. You get to learn the history of a place as well as seeing things that you probably wouldn’t get to if you were just walking by yourself. It would probably be different if you weren’t travelling solo, where at least you could look at a map with someone and decide where you might go and whether you’re prepared to walk somewhere you might not necessarily feel safe going alone.
Schobrunn Palace is spectacular. Seems Marie Elizabeth was one very spoiled woman, even if she did have 16 children. I think from what I gather from the tour that she was pregnant but that was about the extent of her caring or nurturing her children. A lot died. She spent a lot of time away from Vienna and I later find out that she spent a lot of her time in Budapest. She didn’t like being married and she said as much in her journal that was found after her death.
I hear my first Aussie accent and it was in the most amusing of circumstances. (swearing about to appear, if you don’t want to read it, skip ahead a sentence or three) I’m walking through the palace and there are two guys up ahead. They are probably early 20s and all I hear is, shit I was fucked up that night and knew instantly it was an Aussie accent. I smiled and as I caught up to them said, nice to finally see some Aussies. They asked how I knew they were Aussies and I told them I heard their conversation. They laughed, hugged me and told me they were from Brisbane. I found it odd that 2 young guys, early 20s would be on a Palace tour. Now don’t get me wrong, it was amazing, but I don’t know that my own two 20 something boys would be happily walking through a palace. I told them that I’m surprised that they were here. They looked at me sheepishly and said yeah it is a bit odd. I asked them where they interested in the history of the place and they said no and laughed. I asked what brought them here and they said, mates had told them that historical tourist places were a good place to pick up. Haha I laughed with them. I asked how it was going so far. One (Ben) said well it worked at The Collaseum. I wished them luck on their endeavours and bid them farewell. The other was Mick. They both shook my hand and we headed in different directions in the castle. Me to admire the historical aspects, them on their quest of creating some kind of history of their own.
The hop on hop off bus, left the Schobrunn Palace every hour and looking at my watch I had just missed a bus. I decided that I would end my hop on hop off the bus experience there and head back to the hotel via the normal train system. I was getting hungry and a little cold.
When I got off at my station I noticed there was an open air market all along the street. I started to walk through and decided that I would go back to my hotel, drop my bag off and come back and wander through the market. I had decided earlier that I would go to Budapest tomorrow, so also needed to organise that.
Got back to the hotel and the people that run the hotel were really lovely.I It is nothing like a large hotel chain or anything, more like an adult backpackers place with all the modern comforts. They organised my trip for me for tomorrow and told me I had to be downstairs at 6.30am and the bus would pick me up from the hotel and bring me back that night around 8pm. It was going to be a long day.
I headed back down to the market area and was amazed by all the produce. I have never seen so many herbs and spices in my life. I didn’t even know there were that many in existence!
There were beer stalls, wine stalls, fruit and vegetable stalls, flower stalls, bread stalls, cheeses, olives, cold meats, fresh meats, things that I have no idea what they were. There was huge wine barrels with pickles and sauerkrat waiting to be purchased. I stood watching this for a while. People either brought their own containers and got them filled with the cabbage and pickles or the stall holders had containers. The cabbage literally walked out of there.
I walk along deciding what I’m going to have to eat. I settle on a kebab.It was called a kebab sandwich. The sandwich part was actually one large round flat loaf that had been cut into quarters and then split and all the filling was piled into the split quarter.
I tell the guy I don’t want garlic sauce. His English was as good as my German. He laughs, indicating he has no idea what I have just said, so I point to the yoghurt and say nein nein. He says, ahhhh beautiful, ya ya. He is telling me yoghurt yoghurt and I think yep I know what it is I just don’t want any. He insists I should have some and we are both laughing. He then goes to put onion on and I say again nein nein. He raises his eyes as if to say fussy woman. I tell myself I am going to the operetta and ballet I don’t want to be the person that someone sits next to and goes home and makes a comment that I stink!l. His mate who speaks even less English than him smiles and soon the 3 of us are laughing. I don’t really know what we are laughing at but we are laughing all the same. He goes to put chilli on and before he does he looks at me and I shake my head and he again raises his eyes and laughs. He points to his mate and tells me American, American! I look at his mate and think the only thing American about him is the jumper that he is wearing that says New York, that was no doubt made in a Chinese sweat shop somewhere. He points to me and I think he is asking me where I am from, so I say Australia and he puts his hands near his chest and hops. Yep they know about kanagaroos in Austria. One of the funniest tshirts I saw in Vienna was like a beware symbol and where in Australia it might say Kangaroos next 10km. This one says, No Kangaroos In Austria. Cute.
I take my ‘sandwich’ and go to leave and he notices my camera and points to the two of them and makes a gesture for me to take a photo. The 3 of us laugh, just having had a conversation of sorts that had pretty much no dialogue. Very amusing.
The sandwich is absolutely delicious. The meat is tender and juicy. It was just what I needed.
It is starting to get dark, so I decide to head back to my hotel room and have a shower ready for my night at the operetta and ballet.
I head into town a little earlier than I needed to be, but wasn’t quite sure where it was that the performance was on.
I find the place. It is not far from the Australian bar, so I go there to have a drink. It is on the way there that I encounter another couple of Aussies. This time girls. This time it was cringe worthy, but Aussies they were all the same.
I was walking behind two girls and I could hear their conversation quite clearly. One of the girls, was doing most of the talking and for those that know, she sounded just like Kylie Mole. We went here and like, you know, she said this and you know, like, and then we did that, and she goes etc etc. Perhaps not verbatim but it wasn’t far off that. I smiled as I knew only an Australian would speak like that. As I walked past them I said, gday and the girl having done most of the talking said, oh my god, like you’re an aussie. I said yep that I am. They asked me if I was a tourist and I said yes and they said oh, have a great holiday! They kept walking and the girl doing the talking, continued doing the talking and continued on her conversation from where she’d left it off.
On arrival at the Aussie Bar there was quite a few people in there now. Couldn’t hear any Aussie accents, mostly German. There was one guy who struck up a conversation, he was Canadian. He asked me what the best Aussie beer was. I told him that i didn’t drink, but I know from most people that they prefer VB, which they had in stubbie form in the fridge. He said, how come Foster’s is so popular. I said because Aussies won’t drink it, they have to send it overseas. He asked me about VB and I told him it stood for Victoria Bitter. He said, oh a bitter, so you drink it warm? I said, no self respecting Aussie drinks warm beer. He then continued trying to tell me that he was sure you drank bitters warm. I said perhaps somewhere they do, but definitely not in Australia. I said probably England.
At the bar, they had these quaint little snacks that I had never seen before. They are crisps in nature and shaped like little kangaroos. When you get a drink, you get given a little bowl of them. The Canadian asked me where do you get them. I said I had never seen them before, ,but they were very nice. He agreed and said that he wanted to find out about them and buy some. He asked the girl behind the bar and she shrugged and said she didn’t know either. So the little kangaroo snacks remain a mystery. I bid my newfound Canadian friend goodbye and headed off for the performance.
It was spectacular. There was Mozart in the first part, with a woman coming out and singing opera for a few songs. There was some ballet performances. A girl solo and then with a male partner. The first part the orchestra were all in period costume.
There was then a break and then in the second part there was Strauss. Everyone was dressed much more formally. The same woman sang opera, the same people danced. It was simply sensational and I didn’t want it to end.
But end it did and I headed back to the hotel for some sleep, i was quite excited when I got back to the hotel. Today had been the most interaction I had had along the way with total strangers and then to have it all topped off with a musical performance was very special.