Thursday, June 22, 2006

Vienna - the City of Music

Note: Updated pics (from Rome and Budapest) on sidebar.


We arrived in Vienna at 1815 hours. CJ and me separated from JX and Angie cos they were staying in a different hostel (City Wombat’s, which was by the way, a superb looking hostel) from us (Believe-it-or-not Hostel; rundown exterior, but superb beds and bathroom, but only 1 shower and 1 toilet shared by at least 12 people).

Met up for dinner and ate at a Turkish place (Sato Restaurant), none too satisfying but nonetheless filled our tummies. All of us then had a stroll down the shopping streets of Vienna. It looked really nice and posh and lotsa brand names were there. Unfortunately it was late and all were closed so all we could do was to windown-shop. After some walking, we chanced upon an icecream store selling good ice cream for really cheap (like 5 scoops for 2.70E)! But my tummy was filled by the meal earlier so I didn’t get any, promising myself that I would do so tomorrow.


Lazy morning, had a great sleep in the comfy bed and the nice blanket served as a great prop-up for my tired legs.

We set out and found a post office to get some stamps. I will post back a postcard (only my second!) home from Vienna, the first one being from Vatican City.

After that, we then went to the Parliament building and had a guided tour of the place. It looked quite impressive, and I actually got to sit in the National Council vice-president’s chair. =) The Federal Assembly room was the nicest part which was very lucky to escape unscathed during World War II. It had nice Bohemian glass panelled ceilings and Corinthian pillars. Greek statues were all throughout the whole room and it added to the intrigue that the whole room held. The Pallas Athena statue outside the building was also interesting, and there was a lot of meaning to the other statues surrounding it, like the 2 statues on its sides stood for legislative (the one holding the book) and executive (the one holding the sword) powers. Then there were also statues of Greek gods like Poseidon, Zeus, Ares, Hermes etc.

Next we went in search of tickets for performances for that night, after all we were in the music capital of the world! The performance that night at the State Opera House was a ballet, featuring the all famous fairy tale, Sleeping Beauty. It had been a long time since I watched ballet, so we decided to catch that. (Of course there was the choice between catching the Mozart and Johann Strauss concert or the ballet, but the ticket prices helped us to choose better.)

We ate at a Asian restaurant and had sushi (been a long time!). Refreshed, we then headed for the Inner City (Volksgarten, Hofsburg Palace, St Stephen’s Cathedral) and also visited the Summer Palace.

After that, we then went to get our ballet tickets and we were really lucky to find out that there were student tickets (seating) for only 7 euros (normal price 30)!

The ballet was great, the orchestra was amazing, the theatre was cosy but the ventilation system sucked totally, so I was sticky with perspiration when I left the place.

After that we went to Happy Chinese, a restaurant recommended by the City Wombat’s guide and had a hearty Chinese meal for 10 euros. Great food but it’s quite hidden, and I passed my first topography test getting there =)

Tomorrow we head for Prague! But first we will find the graves of Mozart, Beethoven, Schubert and other famous composers.


Talked with the American girls that we met from Rome for a while and took a picture together, then found out that Bush was visiting Vienna for that day so the whole Inner City would be cordoned off. WHAT THE F**K. Then there were helicopters hovering around every inch of the city and that made so much noise that I was really pissed. Police presence was so strong that if you managed to miss it, you had to be blind. It was like the police were having a party on the streets. That’s how bad it was.

We visited the graves of the famous composers as planned, took a few photos and then went to have a meal. The Frutti di mare I ordered was so disgustingly salty that I lost all my appetite and was struggling to finish the meal. Luckily the cheap ice cream we had later was good, although all the ice cream kept flowing down onto my fingers. =S

We tried to catch the protest against the American president but it was too late at 5pm and we had a bus to catch so that was a missed opportunity.

Took the tram back to the Erdberg metro station to take the bus to Prague. 4 hour journey. =)


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