Well, while not many trips have inspired my to write lately, the trip to Vienna has.  Turns out that while I’ve been to Austria before I’d never been to Vienna… And even then it was only one weekend to Salzburg one time in 1987.  I was delighted to be offered the chance and jumped at it quickly.  Only later did I look at my calendar and realize it was over the same week that the National square dance festival was, an event which I thought I’d try not to miss again.
So after being home with Mike for only two days, I headed to the airport again, pulling my routine of “sleep as much as possible on the plane” then get there on Sunday morning with some time too adjust before work on Monday.
My hotel was close to the city center, so immediately I went out to walk around old town.  Vienna is beautiful!. Every corner you turn has more beautiful architecture.

The weather while I was there was also gorgeous, if maybe a little hot.

Everyone said I had to try the famous Sacre Tort,
So of course I went to the original Sacre hotel to try it.
The Lipizzaner horses are in Vienna,
I went to the Spanish riding school where they train,
but it’s summer vacation for the horses.
As one guide put it, “So there will be baby horses next year.”

I planned to snag a geocache immediately, and noticed an event cache scheduled for 6pm.  I thought perfect, I would end my walking tour of old town at the geocache and meet a few Austrian geocachers before allowing myself to turn in and pass out (guess I hadn’t slept on the plane as well as I could have).  I did fall asleep for an hour or so while grounding myself in the park.  (The theory is that if you ground yourself by touching the earth with your bare skin that your energy adjusts to your location in the world better, and lessens the effect of jetlag).

Anyhow when 6 pm came, I didn’t notice any likely geocachers near the event site, so I opened my app to check.  Well the date was the 18th and the geocache was the 19th.. Oh well,. I’d have to come back tomorrow.  I started a note to the event organizer, and only then did I notice it said AUGUST 19th (this was June).  Oops, perhaps  I was tired.  Hold this thought.. (It will be relevant in the next post.)
Karl’s Kirche

The office was across town, across the Danube, so every morning and evening I took an Uber back and forth.  The admin at work put together a list of must do’s for me to see in Vienna.  So the evenings that I had energy left to do it, I whittled away at that list.  Tuesday evening I went to a famous Wiener Schnitzel restaurant in old town, and after dinner walked over to Karl’s Kirche, which was surprisingly beautiful and FULL of life.  The walk back through the Technical University of Vienna campus was such a different feeling than walking through old town.. Really enjoyed the evening. 

Thursday evening I went to a “Heurigen” which is basically a winery.  This Heurigen was in a house the Beethoven used to live in!  Atmosphere was great and the food was fantastic, although not much traditional with the Mushroom Goulash (didn’t realize it was mushroom when I ordered it) and Apple Strudel flavored Ice Cream, which I mistakenly thought was going to be Apple Strudel WITH Ice Cream.  After dinner I walked around town and through a park dedicated to Beethovan.

Inside the Heurigen
The Heurigen, a house Beethoven lived in.
Beethoven and me.
Mushroom Goulash!  Yum.

Friday evening I decided I must take the boat down the Danube to Bratislava.  The cheap tickets were sold out, so I bought a ticket that allowed me to sit in the Captain’s cabin.  It was very windy.  The Captains cabin was up on the upper level, so they ushered me upstairs, but somehow I didn’t get the fact that I was supposed to go INSIDE.  I was a little miffed that I paid more and was going to get sunburn and wind blown before getting to Bratislava…. Somewhere about half way there I figured it out… Duh!

The boat trip was 1 hour long.  Then I walked around old town in Bratislava.  Loved it.  It was very quaint.  Also very small.  But I didn’t have much time.  AND of course I wanted to get a geocache.  I went to one that was at the last remaining Jewish synagogue in Bratislava.  But although the geocache was found the day before, it was no longer there.. I am sure of it, so I had to rush and find another one, to insure I got a geocache in Slovakia.  I ended up finding this beautiful Blue Church.  Turns out it is something you can find out about with research, but I had not found out about it, and felt very rewarded by geocaching once again.  The church looks like it’s made of sugar and it quite a surprise when you turn the corner in this residential neighborhood.  Geocaching also got me out of old town, which while I enjoyed it, was obviously for the tourist.  I had dinner at a “tourist” place in old town that served “Traditional” Slavic food.  I had Gnocchi with Sheep cheese sauce and bacon…. Yumm!


My foot in Bratislava – 7000 km from New York


The Beautiful Blue Church I found geocaching



I took the train back to Vienna.  The cab driver did not speak English well, and ended up taking me to the wrong train station, although we figured it out before he dropped me, so after a phone call he said I’d be better at the other train station and I got a Mr.Toad’s wild ride experience to the other station.  But I made it there with 5 minutes to spare.  He didn’t hear me when I got in and asked if he took credit cards, so that was also a little awkward when I got out, but luckily had JUST enough to cover the trip.
Saturday, back in Vienna I had scheduled a Segway tour.. Always fun, and always informative.  Generally I try to do this just after I get somewhere, but that’s ok, I still learned a lot, had fun, and saw a few things I hadn’t found on my own.  

Sunday I went out to Schoenbrunn palace, a Viennese landmark rivaling Versaille.  I took an hour and a half tour and learned a TON of history, then walked out in the gardens..  just as I reached the other side of the garden, it started to rain.  It was so hot!  I was never happier to be caught out in the rain as I walked back to the palace.  That event took the whole day, and it was beautiful.

Schoenbrunn Palace
The Gardens
Before leaving the palace I took in a Strudel making show.

By Monday, I was pretty touristed out, so I looked up a Square Dance.  I hadn’t had much (some but not always) success in the past, so it took me a week to get onboard.  Eureka, I found a group that dance on Monday evenings right in the middle of old town, Vienna, close to the cathedral.  So I went.  It was so hot, and these old buildings don’t have adequate (if any) air conditioning, so within about 1/2 and hour I was over heated and felt like I wished I could sneak out.  But the host club was very generous, and I danced all evening.  I had a lot of fun.  The caller also called in Wiener-Neustadt about an hour from Vienna on Tuesday night.  He asked me to go, and offered to drive me.  At first I thought I’d decline, because it was SO hot and miserable, but everyone was so nice, and trying to accommodate me, I decided to take the opportunity to get to know them better and to go to another town.

Meeting up with the caller meant I had to take the Subway to where he was, which wasn’t difficult, but I hadn’t done that in Vienna yet, so that was a good encouragement.  I had a fantastic time in Wiener-Neustadt.  The club individuals and I really connected.  The weather had broken a bit and/or the town was a little cooler.  

The calling was fast, just enough different than the US calling to keep me on my toes, and the dancers were very good.  It was one woman’s birthday, so we stopped for half an hour to have a little champagne, salad, and cake.  It was quite special to be included in that as well.  I left that evening feeling very sad, like I was leaving long lost friends, and chances are I won’t see them again.. It was a very odd sensation to feel for these people that I had just met that evening.
Wednesday evening I staying in and worked, as I had so many of the evenings actually.  But when the first night (which was a Sunday) I found the hot tub closed at 7pm, I discovered my bathtub!  Since my hot tub at home died a quiet death last year, I have been trying to take and enjoy baths, but I can’t quite get them to work well…. WELL, my very nice hotel in Vienna had a very nice bathtub, longer than me, wider than me and deep enough that I could float.. with unlimited very hot water.   If I had this tub at home, I’d take a bath every night!  So I did!

The last evening there I was feeling a little melancholy, but did get out and walk around town.  The last day my client, Florian, took me out for lunch to a restaurant that he felt I should go to, but still hadn’t made it there.  The Schweitzer (Swiss) house.  Jan-Hugo, my colleague from Norway, had just arrived to take over from me, so it was good as a hand over before heading to the airport.  The restaurant was a beer-garden style place.   It was in the middle of a very old and famous amusement park in Vienna.  Jan-Hugo and I were tempted by the Ferris wheel after lunch, but decided we better get back to work for a few hours before I had to go.

Florian taking us out to this special beer garden.. A treat!
Jan-Hugo, my Norwegian colleague
taking over for me after I left.
The line up of beers ready to be served!
The famous (and old) Ferris Wheel in Vienna

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