Thursday, November 29, 2012

Top Five Things I Enjoyed About Austria

As mentioned in the previous post, I recently returned from an all-too-short trip to Austria and loved every second of it, despite the fact that Los Angeles weather has completely ruined my ability to handle anything colder than 50 degrees. Yes, I'm totally one of "those people" that New Yorkers loathe when they mention Angelenos. So, I was basically rolling around Vienna like the Michelin Man, constantly complaining about stiff breezes and a numb nose.  Annoying, I know. 

Have you ever gone on a vacation to a nice, yet boring place, but you easily convince yourself it's prettier or more fun than it actually is?  Vienna is not one of those cities.  While tourist attractions may be low (and not very eventful, unless you like horses,art museums, and classical music to which I'm personally indifferent..but actually, that's a lot), the city is warm and beautiful; easily one of the most walkable in my Euro experience. 

But anyway, lets get to the top five.  Now, I would have loved to have taken more pictures, things like the Hapsburg Palace, which is pretty unreal, but my hands were generally cold and under the cover of mittens, so I didn't often reach for my phone. So, yes, I suck.

But's the TOP FIVE THINGS I ENJOYED ABOUT AUSTRIA  (by the way, if you actually want good advice about what to do in Austria, might I recommend Google?)

Honorable Mention: Mr. Lee's

OK, I never once ate at this fast food, Asian inspired chain, but I got lulz everytime I saw their tagline, "Quicklee."  I have no clue why I found it to be so clever.  But I enjoyed it each time I saw it.  And I saw it often.  By the end of the trip, my friend was pretty much all, "God, would you just eat it already? It won't take long, it'll come quicklee."  But no, it looked totally nasty.  Plus, I didn't want to be that guy that traveled all the way to Austria to eat fast food sesame chicken. 

5) The Ferris Wheel

I don't like Ferris Wheels.  Generally, they terrify me...with all that stopping and swaying several stories above the ground.  One of the scariest rides in the world, to me, is that dumb ass Ferris Wheel at Disneyland (yeah), the one that rolls to the edge with each stop and swings haplessly in the air as you look down towards your death.  It's awful.

But the Ferris Wheel in Vienna seems to be some sort of institution, and the cars are completely enclosed, which eliminated that pain in my stomach that generally accompanies heights.  Also, did you know, for a measly 400 euro you can have a three course meal in one of the cars?  Probably not, why would you know this? BUT WHAT A DEAL.  They set up a nice table for two and bring you different courses each time your car returns to the starting point.  How cool...though I can imagine it getting old pretty quickly.  Especially if the food is anything like the kind they serve in the cafe below the wheel.  Anyway, I didn't partake in the dinner option, and instead shared a car with numerous other tourists, including one guy who kept speaking to me in quick Spanish even though I kept answering in English, but hey...look at the view!

OK, so the Vienna skyline isn't all that exciting, but whatever.  Good enough for a scene in Before Sunrise, good enough for Brett.

4) This Church

Not sure who had the idea to bathe this Stephansplatz cathedral in color at night, but bravo.

3) This Picture

WTF?   I suppose Germans/Austrians have a history of not being sensitive to other racial/cultural groups.  Thanks Mammy!

2) Christmas Markets

Markets, markets, everywhere!   Seriously.  Everywhere.  And they are all generally the same.  A large group of festively decorated green stalls that sell various Christmas related goods you may or may not want/need.  All the markets are, more or less, identical, and you know what? My friend and I loved each one more than the last.  They are exactly what you think when you picture what a European Christmas should be.  And if you want some hot wine or coffee, they actually serve it to you in a real mug. No paper shit here!  Never got tired of these markets, never bought a thing aside from a drink.

1) Salzburg, Austria

"You should visit the other side of the city, that way you can tell friends you've seen both sides of Salzburg."  That's what the girl behind the hotel front desk told us when we asked for advice at check in.  She overestimated my friends; I'd be surprised if 30 percent of them have actually heard of Salzburg, let alone know that it has two sides.

But that's a shame because the mountainside city is beautiful, with its thin cobblestone corridors and the enormous old fortress that overlooks the entire town. It's perfect for that "step back in time" feeling that many travel to Europe for (even if some of the streets are filled with high end boutiques).  And, of course, Mozart enthusiasts can visit his birthplace (if the locals can give you proper directions on how to find wouldn't expect this to be a problem, but ummm).  Though I wasn't there during a snowfall, I can imagine Salzburg blanketed in white is near perfect, and would be an ideal place to spend your Christmas.

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