|Monday morning we arrived at the Westbanoff station in Vienna, Austria after a miserable 10 hr overnight train ride from Zurich. All of the sleeper cars were full so we were stuck with regular seats. The train was crowded with loud, young kids and the bright lights stayed on in the car throughout the night.
Upon calling Mirjam *our couch host* she gave us directions to her place *about a 15 min tram ride from Westbanoff* where we could drop our bags and leave her to work. Mirjam is a very generous 34 year old that we would learn just got out of a 4 yr relationship and joined couchsurfing to meet new people. She works as a travel journalist for an Austrian newspaper and a freelance graphic designer.
We put our bags down at her nice, 1 bedroom flat and set off for the Museum Quarter *MQ*. The U1 subway would take us to Stephensplotz. As soon as you exit the tunnel you are greeted by St. Stephens, the oldest and most historic cathedral in Vienna, right in the heart of the MQ.
After walking the ring, the cool windy weather drove us towards some museums. First we went to the Imperial Palace in search of a display on the history of arms and armory. There were also interesting displays on musical instruments and the history of Ephosus. The museum is enormous and we spent a couple of hours walking through.
We got our bearings and then walked to the Volksgarten (peoples garden( outside of the Schloss Shoenbrunn Palace. This is a huge area filled with every species of rose bush. The place is hard to put into words. It is unbelievable the number of bushed, their colors, and the blooms on them.
We then headed for Sigmund Freuds apartment for a relatively short tour. The little sleep from the past couple of nights began to wear on me as I nodded off in my chair a couple of times, dropping my binder and nearly falling out of the chair.
After returning to the apartment we headed out for sushi. Mirjam took us to all you can eat sushi in somehwat of a vertical indoor mall full of restaurants. We had saki and decent sushi. We then moved over to a patio area for a couple of beers before being lured upstairs for late night karoake. There were a couple of diamonds in the rough, however Brian and mines duet of This is how we do it by montell jordan did not put us in that category.
Tuesday we woke up to much better weather. We found a cheap pizza place and devoured a pizza each for only 5 euro. Then it was off to the Shoenbrunn summer palace. The palace grounds are set on 400 perfectly manicured acres. Brian and I walked up to the highest point of the estate to get one of the better views of the trip thus far. Looking out you see the entire palace grounds below you, and the city of Vienna spilling out beyond the main palace.
The zoo happened to be right next the palace so we upped the 12 euro and spend nearly 3 hours checking out the animals before closing at 630.
We then hopped back to the apartment to get ready to go to a vineyard on the northeast side of Vienna. The tram ride would be 40 minutes and leaving us starving for the authentic Austrian food. We by passed the blood sausage and cow tongue in favor of pork and beef dishes. There were also some great sides, as we created a 3 person buffet. We also ordered some white wine and soda water. Apparently Austrians mix their wine with soda water...not my favorite. After hanging awhile and talking with some Austrians we took the 40 minute ride back and suffered through listening to some teeny bopper girls gossip the whole way back.
Wednesday morning Brew and I awoke, late again, to find Mirjam had gone breakfast shopping. She returned with bacon, eggs, ham, cheese, toast, muffins and melon. As Brian showered I prepared the food and we enjoyed a pretty impressive spread.
Getting our energy up we set off for the MQ for some shopping. Brian was trying to get his cell back issue resolved as I found a cool Austrian designers store. Contrast had some very cool designs and an attractive staff that I chatted up for about an hour. I let the blonde hair, blue eyed, Sasha, select a cool brown tee for me and I left to catch up with Brian.
He struck out with the cell so we decided to locate a tatoo shop we had googled. About a 15 minute walk from St. Stephens too us to the shop on Alsten. Brian drew ou the design we was looking for and then spent a little over an hour with Maui getting the design inked. Maui was a very nice looking brunette that almost convinced me that I needed a tatoo, but currently have no desire.
It was about 7 pm now and I really wanted to make an effort at scalping a Coldplay ticket. After all but ditching the effort due to price I was able to negotiate a decent deal on a single ticket and was inside the venue before I knew it.
First stop was the beer tent as I struck up a conversation with two beautiful Austrian/Americans girls I had heard speaking English. As we talked I told them I was from TN and the 3rd girl in their group surprisingly was from Bristol, TN. I hung out with them for about 45 minutes before heading to my seat for the show.
The show was great! My camera battery again was an issue as I didnt get as much documented as I had hoped. After hanging a bit post show I grabbed a kabob and jumped on the tram back to the apartment.
Brian and I are currently in Budapest and having a blast. Apparently I can only upload 60 pics and 5 videos every 30 days so I am at my limit. I am going to try to clean up some of the other photos, so that I can add some from Vienna. Keep you guys posted. Take care.