Kati and I got back last night very late from our trip to Vienna. We flew RyanAir, a cheap European airline, which is never dull. On our flight out, they announced that we would be stopping so that an engineer could fix a plane somewhere, then waiting, and continuing on to Bratislava. RyanAir advertises Bratislava as "Vienna," but I have now learned that it is the capital of Slovakia, about 40 miles from Vienna. They are allegedly the two closest capital cities in the world.
After a long delay waiting for our engineer, we arrived in Bratislava about midnight and still had to travel to Vienna. After looking at street signs, we deduced that we had been stopped in Granz, Austria, or some place with a name sounding similar to that. We caught a bus and made it to Vienna by 0130, having no earthy idea where we were. Some nice Germans called a taxi for us and we found our hotel easily and safely.
The next day, we went sightseeing and did and whole lot of stuff. At the Belvedeere, we saw Klimt's "The Kiss," which was spectacular. Later we ate dinner in the cellar of an ancient pretzel factory and that Haydn's head was apparently found in (still need to research that story). The next morning we awoke to rain and were brave enough to go running in it. Our hotel was right near the "Prader," which we learned is a long park with nice flat running surfaces. We did almost 4 miles in the rain, and were justified to reward ourselves with lots of "Sacher Torte" and coffee.
That day we also went to the "Schloss Schoenbrunn," where the Hapsburg dynasty lived, and to the Freud museum. There was a crazy blizzard lasting all afternoon, as you can see from my picture of the castle. It was my first time to see snow all year, and it accumulated fast! Everything looked beautiful, and I was really quite happy to see it, aside from the cold.
That night we had an excellent dinner and tried some traditional Viennese food, including Tafelspitz and pumpkin rice. Katie and I shared our feast and listened to an accordion player play and then explain "Edelweiss" to some Japanese tourists.
Monday the sun was shining and we did about 6 miles in the park (thanks Kati!). After that we packed up and headed to Slovakia for the rest of the day. It got cold and started raining horribly and we got very, very lost on the streetcars for a longtime. Let this be a lesson to you: if you are ever in Slovakia and you think you can trust the maps of where the streetcars go, you are wrong. They are approximations at best. Plus no one speaks English and you can't read anything. So good luck!
The good news is that our plane left early and we arrived in Germany almost an hours earlier than scheduled. I still didn't get home until almost 0200, but do not feel that bad. I love traveling, even if it leaves me feeling a little behind on other things. Speaking of which, I have some online courses to attend to…