Sorry to my friends who love this city (Heidi, Helkei, Jeff, Sherry, among others), but I kind of can’t stand it. It is difficult to navigate, the maps are impossible to read, and the people are quite unfriendly. I would say that we didn’t get off to a good start, me and Vienna, but that’s not true because I didn’t realize I had forgotten my charger until 6pm on my first day. I had already tried to go out and about and could not make heads or tails of where I was from the map I was given. Nothing made sense. So I came back to my hotel at 3, when I could check in. I did some laundry (socks and undies, the rest will have to wait until Munich where I will be staying for 4 nights, so things will have longer to dry). Then I took a nap because I was tired to my bones.
I only slept for an hour and I knew Phil and I were going to try to Skype, so I went to plug in my phone. Couldn’t find my charger anywhere. Which is when I realized that I left it plugged in in my room in Prague. I started to panic, but before I let myself get too far gone, I went to reception to ask where I could buy one. It was 6:15. She said, “at this hour?” as if I was asking at midnight. Apparently, the stores all close at 6pm. So I said, “or tomorrow?”. She said, all stores in Vienna are closed on Sundays. She checked their drawer and they did not have a charger for an iPhone 5S. So that’s when I lost it. How can a major city be closed on Sundays?!?! Aren’t we beyond those rules by now? After I got it together, mostly. I went in search of dinner. I hadn’t eaten a proper dinner since Tuesday, so I thought it was important. I asked at reception for something within walking distance and was given two options in two different directions. I went one way and as I was walking, I passed a grocery store. I resisted the urge to go in and just get a little bit of food. I found the restaurant suggested to me and I went in. The server wasn’t overly friendly, but she offered me a seat, telling me that I would have to share if other people came in. Um, ok? Apparently many reservations are made for this place because most tables has signs on them. Why the dude suggested a place where you need reservations is beyond me. Eventually she gave me a menu, but I sat there and sat there and sat there and no one waited on me. So I left. I then went back to the grocery store, but even that was closed.
As I made my way back to the hotel, I passed a pizzeria that appeared to be open. So I said, what the heck! I had pretty much lost my appetite at this point, but I knew I needed to eat. So I ordered a margherita pizza, which to them is just a plain ol’ cheese pizza. Worked for me! I ate some and returned to my hotel with a little chocolate.
I decided I was not going to try to go to church this morning (I had planned on going to the one with the Vienna Boys’ Choir) because it would be almost impossible for me to get there on time, considering how awful this city is with maps and directions. I also needed sleep. So I took my time getting ready and set out for the Hofburg, which is the Habsburg’s Palace, but is famous for Emperor Franz Josef and Empress Elisabeth, aka Sisi. There is the Sisi museum, which at first was just silver and china. I couldn’t care less. So eventually we made our way to the Kaiserapartments, which is what I really wanted to see.
But first was more Sisi stuff, but this was actually interesting. There were a lot of her belongings and clothing. It was all very interesting and now I want to know more about her. It seemed as though she was very popular, but she was assassinated. Shocking. I had no idea! I think I will look her up in the future! The rest of the apartments were fine. I think I can tell that Palaces are going to get old for me. But I’ve seen one in each city so far, so that’s probably why. I think I have a good break in Palace-seeing now, so that’s good.
I tried to take more public transportation to the St. Stephen’s Cathedral (Stephendom), and that was a disaster. I ended up way out of the city center and I decided I would ride it out all the way and then take it back in, but I saw that the wait for the tram I needed to go back in was short at one particular stop, so I got off. Eventually I found a U-Bahn (subway) map and was able to take that to the Cathedral. I came up from the subway outside of the Cathedral. I noticed some shops around, mostly souvenir shops. So I went in one and got my obligatory shot glass, even though I don’t love the place. I then toured the Cathedral. It took my breath away. I decided I must be a church girl versus a palace girl. Because these churches are just so magnificent. I sat down to pray, as I always do, and was able to just let the whole phone thing go. Phil and I did not Skype last night, we were going to try today. I was rapidly losing juice (turning on and off the phone must take a lot) and decided that it wasn’t the end of the world if I didn’t talk to him today. I would talk to him tomorrow. I tried to put it in perspective and realize how blessed I am to be where I am and doing what I am doing. When I finished the tour I walked outside and almost immediately noticed an Apple store. That was open. Seriously. It gets better. It was NEXT DOOR to the souvenir shop I went in. I never saw it. I think indexed to let it go and make peace with the situation before God was like, ok, here you go. 20 euros later my battery is at 100%.
I had lunch at a café off the Stephensplatz (the square) and ordered sausages. I had been trying to a find a stand where I could just get a brat or something, but couldn’t find one. So what I ordered ended up being two sausages with some mustard, horseradish (not horsey sauce, Em!), and bread. I ate 1 sausage and two bites of the other. Not impressed. I will try again in Salzburg or Germany, but this didn’t cut it.
I then made my way to the Prayer, an amusement park. It’s famous for its Giant Ferris Wheel, Weiner Riesenrad. It was a “must see” attraction, that Vienna claims is the most-visited attraction in Vienna. I wanted to go in it to get a good view of the city. I was a little put off that the cars are wooden… but I didn’t die. 🙂
I will likely get something from my hotel for dinner tonight before packing up for Salzburg tomorrow. But before I go, one last word about the people here. I told you about the one restaurant that didn’t wait on me, well this morning I was at a Café at the Hofburg in need of breakfast. The server was rude, telling me to sit down when I was at the counter. So I sat down and looked at the menu (there was a case of pastries I was standing in front of, so I thought you ordered there). He never came back. I shouldn’t say that. He, like at the other place, walked by me several times without taking my order. So again, I left. I don’t know what it is about these Austrians, but I do not like them. They are as unfriendly as the Poles were friendly. Not impressed, Vienna, not impressed.