Monday, 19 October 2009

Austria - Vienna

I was expecting to get to Vienna approximately 7.30 in the morning, which is what the guy at Eurolines had quoted, but near to about 7am, we had stopped for a toilet and food stop, so I was guessing we weren't as close to Vienna as I thought, so I asked the driver our ETA, turns out we didn't get there until about 9am.
Thankfully, I had managed to get a reasonable amount of sleep on the bus. I was met at the bus station by my friend Katharina, and then we went back to her place for a nice breakfast. I chilled out for a few hours, and Katharina made an Austrian speciality, Wiener Schnitzel, which until then I had assumed the Wiener was talking about the age of the beef, ie a Weaner, a calf that had been weaned off its mother's milk, but of course, that is spelt differently. Wien is the German name for Vienna (or Vienna is the English version of Wien is probably more accurate.)
We then went to pick her children up from kindergarten and school respectively, and went to a park for a while so they could play with a skateboard.

When we got home, I got to try a Cameroonian dish that Serge (Katharina's husband)'s mother (who was living there at the time) had made - turns out that I liked it, so I enjoyed it for most of the rest of the time I was there. I can't exactly tell you what it was, as translating it from French to German, to English turned out impossible. Although, it was like thick mashed and sticky rice, and on top of that you put a casserole type thing, made with mutton, possibly chicken also, and chili. You eat it with your hands.

The following day Katharina took me on a orientation tour of the central city, past the Rathaus (pronounced rat house - the city hall - which I find funny that an institution full of politicians is called that) museum quarter, to St. Stephan's cathedral. The rest of my time there was a mixture of things - recovering from the trip so far, sleeping - possibly due to culture shock, and planning the next legs of my journey, namely when and how to get to Munich for Oktoberfest.

The day or so after the orientation tour I when to the Schloss Schonbronn - palace. It was interesting, but I mainly looked around the gardens, as they were free, and I had recently been to Buckingham palace, so wasn't so fussed about palaces and crown jewels etc.
These walking sticks are rather popular in Austria...

Another day I went to Bratislava in Slovakia - which is another entry... see above

The other days - I went to St. Stephens cathedral - which was pretty cool, the main reason I went there was to check out the crypt - which was rather huge, and had some pretty old stuff, including a lot of bones and skulls - in some rooms, stacked floor to ceiling, to make more room - one room was where the bodies of plague victims were. Back in the day Catholics didn't believe in cremation, so the bodies had to go somewhere.
Another day we went up a hill where it looked like a castle with the kids. Also went to a theme park, and rode some dodgems. That night I went out with Serge and had some beers with him and some of his fellow Cameroonian expat mates.
Other than that checked out various museums, including the Sigmund Freud museum, because it sounded interesting, I was amused by the action figure you could buy as well.

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