i have adventures (sometimes)

Thursday, 19 March 2015

Giant Rocks and Lettuce Bombs

Depending on how much you like me and/or Vienna, you may be pleased to know that after my initial cold, lonely and sad day, I (a) wore my jacket, (b) made new friends and (c) saw a whole lot of cool things, and now I like Vienna a whole lot more.
Somewhere palatial. 
If you don't like me and/or Vienna, then I'm sorry to have disappointed you and I hope this blog gives you many happy hours of hate reading.

I started the day (at basically lunchtime, by my morning person standards) with my hostel's 10:30am walking tour. I'd planned to go out on my own and explore beforehand, but luckily I didn't, because I ended up spending roughly the next 10 hours on my feet and I might have ended up just giving up and lying down in the street before the day was out.

The tour was interesting and we learned useful facts about Vienna, like that you can drink beer on the bus from age 16. I think the bus was one example rather than an exhaustive list of teenage beer drinking locations, but it's funnier that way. Maybe avoid Viennese buses just in case.
"This statue is Marc Anton, the Roman Emperor. He had nothing to do with Vienna and never came here."
But more importantly, new friends!

Marcelo from Brazil was my room mate at the hostel, and Maiglin from Maine was wearing shorts in Vienna in March, which was quite a conversation starter.

Once the tour ended, we decided to climb the tower at the cathedral together. Trying to hold a conversation while climbing 343 steps of narrow winding staircase is something of a bonding experience. Like fighting a troll. So now we are adventure buddies.

Nice work, Vienna. 
Because of my useless previous day, that day I had made A List of Things to Do. Next on the list was the Jesuitenkirchen, which I'd read about in my crappy £2 Kindle guide book.

When we got there,  it was dead quiet. Not even anyone working there. No other tourists. And inside was this beautiful, over the top, let's-just-put-everything-in-and-hope-for-the-best Baroque decor.

With a giant rock suspended from the ceiling.
It was so gloriously weird and unexpected. It remains the best thing I saw in Vienna.

It was accompanied by an explanatory essay, but I've lost it now. Broadly speaking, it is ART. With RELIGIOUS SIGNIFICANCE PROBABLY. But most importantly it is a GIANT FLOATING ROCK and that is wonderful.

Next we had to say goodbye to Maiglin, who had to get back to doing science with wolves (no seriously - that's her job), and Marcelo and I set off following the river to find the Kunsthaus. It's an art museum, but I just wanted to see the outside because it looks so cool.

Plus, top travel tip:  the outside of museums is almost always cheaper to visit than the inside. I know, my advice is invaluable.

It must be art? 
But we did visit the cafe, where I ordered strudel. Obviously everyone hates strudel*, but I was in Vienna and hadn't tried schnitzel or Sachertorte, so strudel seemed like an excellent choice.

And lo, it was.

It was also a vegetarian cafe, which was delightful, but I very sensibly only ordered dessert, because I had sandwiches in my bag already. I'm an adult and I have my priorities straight. (I hate sandwiches and so I ignore them in favour of biscuits and strudel, but that's not the point.)

We were already tired by then, but we nevertheless took a very long and meandering walk back across the city, consulting our maps every block and still never quite sure where we were. Eventually, however, we made it to the Rathaus (where they were setting up for an Easter market we'd miss**) and the Parliament building, with a friendly local directing us for the last part.

Around about then, we found my other favourite thing from yesterday.
A lettuce-bombed statue. 
I don't know why it's covered in lettuces. Does there have to be a reason?

By that stage it was getting dark and I really was ready to just lie down forever, but I'd already decided to go the Natural History Museum because it's open until 9pm on Wednesdays. So we paid our €10 and gave our coats to the old coat check guy who reminded me eerily of the ancient bellhop from Twin Peaks.
"You can just put a tip in the jar. If you want to." *unwavering smile and pointed look*
In the spirit of the off season, we made up maybe half the museum's visitors. Whole exhibitions were missing, which meant we walked through about six empty rooms in semi-darkness. One security guard struck up a conversation with us, presumably out of boredom.

Still, they had great sections on dinosaurs and human evolution, and we spent most of our time there. The whole upstairs was just stuffed animals (as in taxidermied, not as in teddy bears) so we just did a quick wander through there on our way out.
Whatever. YOU don't have a large brain. 
I also enough photos of "Fossils Who Can't Even Right Now" to populate several Buzzfeed articles.
This icthyosaur is so done. Sooooo done.
By the time I got home, I was sore and exhausted and still needed to plan my life, as I was due to check out in the morning. So when I cashed in my free drink voucher and sat in the bar to work out how to get to Bratislava and where to stay when I got there, I was really unenthusiastic about the guy telling me "how nice it is to see a woman in a skirt because everyone here wears jeans these days".

That my response didn't start with "fuck off” shows great restraint. Or that I was off my game after a long day.

Dudes. Here are some things:

1. Women did not get dressed this morning for you.
2. Complimenting women by insulting other women is not a compliment.
3. Women who are clearly busy do not want to talk to you.
4. Just because I'm smiling when I say "Actually it's their bodies and they can wear what they like" does not mean we are having a nice friendly chat.

So anyway, this is why I never go outside without earphones in. Even if they're not plugged into anything. Lesson learned.

But mandude aside, I had an excellent day. Vienna reminds me of some of the other cities I've fallen in love with, like Leipzig and York, in that it doesn't just feel like a tourist destination - it feels like a place where people actually live. And live quite happily, it seems, based on Vienna topping a quality of life ranking for the past six years.

It's also a great place to be a tourist if you're into art, opera and the Habsburgs. Which I'm not. But for me it was a great place to be a tourist too - just more briefly. And I enjoyed being a warmer, friendlier happier tourist than before.

Something else palatial. 
*This is a Cabin Pressure reference and I was going to give you a link, but I'm too tired. You can Google it yourself. I believe in you. 
**There's something to be said for travelling off-season. A lot of stuff is closed, and there seem to be no exciting events/markets/festivals happening in the weird seasonal no man's land of March, but at least it's quiet.


  1. You ended up with strudel? Seems an odd choice, certainly. I'd have picked cheesecake.

    And oh, I laughed my ass off at Early Human Ali. You can walk upright! It's harder than it looks.

    So lovely to see you blogging again! Yay for adventures <3 <4 <5

  2. Oh god, I've ended up with strudel! No one likes strudel!

    I may not have a large brain, but I'm pretty impressed with my ability to walk upright, tbqh.

    Glad you're enjoying it! :D