19.07.2013 - 19.07.2013 29 °C
It’s getting harder and harder getting all four of us out for an adventure – could we REALLY be getting tired of each other after only 36 weeks? Abby opted for being sequestered on her own in the apartment, although she did brave the heat for a bit during a short walk. Meanwhile, the rest of us, comrades three, took the metro into the centre of Vienna. It took all of fifteen minutes with the walking, deciphering of ticket sales (it’s always different) and actual ride. Leaving the busiest subway station in Vienna, we walked up the metro stairs into the bright sunlight and were immediately met by hoards of people. Stephanplatz, large though it was, seemed very crowded. And with the tallest church in Austria, Saint Stephan’s Cathedral, dwarfing all of us, I felt claustrophobic. We popped into the cathedral to see another example of Romanesque and Gothic architecture and realized all three of us felt the same way: we were satiated and could no longer appreciate the grandeur. It should have left us awestruck but didn’t ... so I think we need to let some months go by before seeing any more. One note I found interesting is that the church was saved from destruction at the end of WW II because a German captain disobeyed an order to render it debris upon the German retreat. As we deliberated which way to proceed to get to the Rathaus (the townhall), we were accosted by no less than four vendors selling tours. It was quickly turning into a madhouse so we escaped the platz and endured the longish walk to the Rathaus in the considerable heat.
Every summer, Vienna puts on a music film festival, where it shows free movies in the Rathausplatz. The movies are of musicians ranging from the operatic to rock genres. At this venue, there are a number of culinary vendors selling their wares. As we walked through the offerings, we delighted in the sights, sounds and smells of Japanese, Australian, Chinese, Italian, Austrian, Indian and American cuisine (is that last one an oxymoron?) It reminded us of the effort in Ljubljana, only it was even more professional and twice as expensive. Nonetheless, we found a wonderful covered table by the cooling fountain and shared plates of duck with noodles, butter chicken (with all the mango chutney I could get away with) and some Austrian meat and vegetable mixture; all were delicious and we forgave the assault on our pocketbook, telling ourselves we were paying for the great atmosphere too. We may try to get down here one evening when a film is showing.
The heat sapped all our energy so we returned to the nest to rest. In the evening, we were drawn to the nearby Prater, a large amusement park that sports the Wiener Riesenrad, a large ferris wheel stemming from 1897. As night fell, we enjoyed the sights and sounds of the carnival atmosphere (but not the smells, which were disappointingly sewer-like). Alas, there was no all-encompassing pass for the rides so we had to be very choosy as each one cost an arm and a leg. All four of us enjoyed the Praterturm, a 117 metre high swing although Abby did look even paler than usual coming off it; watch the experience if you wish. It provided an amazing view of the park and surrounding city. Seeing a ride similar to one they had loved in Montreal, Hannah and Abby were eager to try Discovery, a highflying twisting speedy affair that I knew best to avoid. Well, it turns out it wasn’t quite exactly like that fondly remembered ride from Montreal; it was much faster and felt extremely long at three minutes. From below, we saw Abby clutching her glasses and looking quite ill. She said later she wanted to ask Hannah whether it almost over but just couldn’t get the words out she was so scared. That pretty much finished her for the evening. After Hannah extracted a promise from Ben that he would try it with her another night, we retired for the evening.