Monday, April 27, 2015

Vienna, Austria Part 4... Friendship investment

After checking out the cathedral, I decided I was very tired and my feet were killing me.  It was the perfect time to reacquaint myself with Vienna's easy to figure out metro, which I used quite a bit when I visited in 1997.  Bill and I quickly determined our hotel was near the U4 line.  The Stephen's Dom cathedral was on another line, but we only had to go one stop to Karlsplatz to switch trains.  Before we knew it, we were just a couple of minutes away from the hotel.  While I was on the train, I noticed quite a few young people gloriously free of adult interference.  I couldn't help but think how Americans would react had we been in the United States.  A couple of the kids appeared to be about ten years old, yet they were doing just fine on the U bahn, all by themselves!

We went to the hotel room.  I took off my shoes and started watching crappy 70s and 80s TV shows dubbed in German.  I never thought I'd see CHiPs on regular TV again.  I was never a Knight Rider fan, but I did watch an episode and realized why David Hasselhoff was so popular in the 80s.  We had plans to meet Herbert and Susanne at 6:00.  We went back to the coffee house we'd visited earlier in the day for a snack.  I had chicken soup and a Gosser beer, which I used to drink all the time when I lived in Armenia.  Bill had an open faced sandwich and a beer.  The same guy waited on us.


Quite a nice Austrian lager.


A little snack.  We thought we'd be going to the concert and didn't want to get hangry.  I had a bit of an upset stomach, so I went for something mild.  The soup reminded me of Lipton Cup O'Noodles, only it was much better tasting and obviously homemade.  The noodles were similar, though.

Bill thought we were supposed to meet them at the opera house, a massive, centrally located structure.  Actually, we were supposed to go back to the cathedral.  Bill ended up having to call Herbert to connect with them.  By the time we met Herbert and Susanne, it was about 6:20.  We were supposed to go to the concert at 8:00pm.

Herbert and his girlfriend strolled with us around Vienna.  Susanne was born and raised there and Herbert has lived there for 15 years.  They pointed out a TGIFriday's and seemed rather surprised when I said it was a popular American chain restaurant.  Susanne was a little self-conscious about her English, but it was way better than my German.

We eventually got on the tram and went near the Rathaus, which is a very beautiful building.  We strolled around Vienna's rose garden, which we were told would be in full bloom the following month.  And then we stopped for a drink.  Herbert and Susanne were worried about us missing the concert, but we repeatedly told them it was okay.  Yes, Bill spent about 80 euros for tickets, but I had read the reviews and had low expectations.  We probably would have spent that on dinner Thursday night if we'd had it.  Besides, while I might have liked the concert well enough, I figure an investment in a friendship is more valuable.  We were hitting it off with Herbert and Susanne, who confessed they'd only been together for a couple of months.

It was great meeting locals and talking with them about life in Vienna.  It made the city more personal and, I think, will make it a more welcoming place when we visit again.  I think we will, too. It's amazing that all I knew about Herbert was hearing his voice on SingSnap.  Now I can put a face to the name.  He is a very interesting guy, too.




Nighttime shots.  I remembered the above from last time I visited in '97.  Seems like these are in other Austrian cities, too.  I remember seeing one in St. Polten.  ETA: My friend Susanne posted this...  basically, this was erected to commemorate the plague.  They are all over Austria and Germany.

On the way back to the hotel, we stopped at a Wienerwald, a local chicken chain.  Bill and I ate at one in Boeblingen back in 2007 or so and we liked the food alright.  We wanted to have something to eat before bed.  The restaurant was absolutely teeming with kids... again, all unsupervised.  But all they were doing was being loud.  They otherwise functioned just fine on their own!  It was refreshing!


I couldn't eat much of this, but it kept me from getting really hungry.


A little fun with Viennese ads in the metro...


The Viennese U-Bahn is pretty great.  It's easy to figure out and they even offer magazines to read if you're lucky enough to sit down.  Ticket machines offer English translation and there's a flat rate for all destinations within the city--  2.20 euros a ride.  You can also buy in bulk or get multiple trip tickets for less!  Next time, we'll do that.


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