Friday, November 22, 2013


So Contiki is over and I'm officially touring Europe by myself. Maybe I shouldn't be so dramatic. Sara gets here tomorrow so I only have about 30 hours in total of being by myself; 7 of which are on a train to Munich, so it's really not a big deal. I've caught the Contiki cough so I'm a couple cities behind on blogging. 

We finished up Prague and made our way to Vienna or, Wein, as all the signs say. On the way we made a couple of stops that were not life changing, but I figured I'd note them as a caution to not waste time stopping in them. The first was in a place called Kurna Hora where there is a church filled with over 40,000 human bones. Apparently, some monk went a little crazy when he was told to make more room in a cemetery for more dead bodies. He thought the best way would be to dig up the bodies and decorate his church. Wouldn't we all? 

Now, you have also seen all there is to see in Kutna Hora! 

After the bone church, made our second rest stop in the middle of nowhere that has a strip mall and some play area including a very large dragon and a restaurant inside a jet plane. It was quite awkward because we finally sat down at a restaurant that was entirely in German and the waitress did not speak English, so we had a Mexican stand off when it came to ordering food. Finally we told her to walk away and made it to another restaurant where we ordered pizza. After a couple hours there, we were all ready to get to a normal city with English speaking people. 

We got to Vienna that evening and made our way to a local restaurant. The options were fish, schnitzel, and a vegetarian risotto. Our tour manager, Danielle, cautioned us that our dinner Saturday night would include schnitzel, so we should try something else. Kristy and I decided to get schnitzel and risotto to give us some variety. How bad could Austrian risotto be, anyway? The table even had a debate on how hard / easy it was to make risotto and we determined they had to do it alright. The schnitzel came out and was pretty dry, but is still a thin piece of deep fried breaded chicken, when you look at the ingredients. All in all, I can't say I hated it, especially when the risotto came out. When the dish picture below was placed in front of me, I was speechless. What the shit was this? Seriously, check it out.

Talk about presentation. The 'rice' part of the meal was sort of a gummy barley type substance. The sauce (didn't know risotto had sauce...) was like a can of chef boyardee. There were only actually about 3 pieces of vegetables in the entire dish. It was a disappointment to say the least. Even the chocolate cake they served at the end was nothing special; a dry, dense piece of cake topped with tangy whipped cream. The group was beginning to get sick, so most everyone took it easy that night. 

The next day, we did a walking tour of Vienna and learned all about the Hapsburgs who are THE family of Vienna. They have a huge palace in the downtown area that is absolutely gorgeous. And, it's only their winter home. We went to their summer home later that evening. The city is so beautiful and has older architecture. I just realized all the pictures I took are on Kristy's camera, so you'll have to take my word for it. After the tour, we headed to Swarovsky, which began in Austria. They gave us a tour and then set us free to shop. I ended up getting a necklace for myself and an Xmas present for someone special. 

Kristy, Brianna, and I continued our day doing the most stereo typical things in Vienna. You might have heard of the famous Sacher Torte and Viennese coffee? We had it. Pics with Swarovsky bags, Sacher Torte, and coffee are also on Kristy's camera. We walked around the city and found the Mozart statue and then another Christmas market. By the way, I'm obsessed with Christmas markets now.

We met back up with the group and headed to the Schnopps museum to let a day of stereotypical Vienna activities continue. The guy giving the tour was the grandson of the founder of Schnopps and was HOAF. It made for a great tour that even ended with shots of Schnopps. 

After we were all good and liquored up, we headed back to get ready for our fancy night at a Mozart and Strause concert. We had dinner at the cafe in the Palace and it was delicious. The meal started with a beef soup that had sliced crepe in it. I'd never come up with this concept on my own, but it was really tasty. Then we had the turkey schnitzel that was so much better than the previous night's version. Plus, we had some wine paired with it that made it even better. We finished with some apple streusel and, if it didn't have raisins, it would have been perfect. 

We headed over to the concert and it was great. I felt very cultured and happy I was rounding out my day with another activity that was 'so Vienna'. Plus, we were in the room where Mozart played for the Hapsburgs when he was just 6 years old. It doesn't get much more special than that. Here is the group that went to the concert:

After such a cultural activity, it was only fitting that we would go to a club to enjoy the nightlife of the area. We went to this place called the Prater Dome that was unsuspecting when you walked in. We were greeted with champagne and we settled into the lounge, sneaking another couple glasses before we started paying for the 10 euro drinks. The place looked pretty empty, so we started to wonder around. Holy hell, this place wass huge! There was a massive EDM room, a hip hop room, a top hits room, a pizza bar, and, where we settled, the area looking out over the dance floor. This bar gave you a debit card that allows you to just swipe and then pay later. Good idea, except there is no way to argue when the bartender charges you extra drinks that you didn't buy. It's also hard because the more you argue, the more you validate the drinks you are being charged for. Note: just pay your bill. By this point, I was so sick that I completely lost my voice. Trying to order drinks without a voice and not speaking Austrian is quite difficult. However, I managed to order drinks just fine. By the time 3am rolled around and we had enough cigarette smoke, we left the club. The guy at the coat check didn't understand why we were leaving so early. These Europeans can party. Think YouTube technoviking and that was exactly who we were surrounded by.

It's hard to believe we were only in Vienna for one night and one day and packed in this much stuff. My favorite thing from Vienna was the concert. I'm not a huge fan of classical music, but the experience was unforgettable. Plus, this night club was filled with so many areas to go, my only regret was how sick I was feeling. I wish I would have had one more day to walk around the city more. The hole circle is 4k, so it is definitely doable.

Off to our final stop on the tour, Budapest. From all the things I had heard about this city, I was really looking forward to it. 



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