Our journey to Vienna brought out the sweater. It became cooler the closer we came to the capitol of Austria. It felt like a winter day in Texas, around 45 F with a light rain in a light breeze. Huddling inside the grand St. Stephen’s Cathedral while the organ played felt exactly right. It was dark inside and the stained glass windows were bright with color. The light on the golden altar gave a shimmering effect. In spite of the massive size of the room, it felt cozy and warm. We ducked into a cozy restaurant in the early evening for a wonderful meal. The dark paneling and close tables filled with people was just right for the weather. The waiter told us what to eat because it was cold outside–hot skillet meals with fried potatoes and spaetzel with bacon and eggs. It was, in fact, just right.
We had some interesting experiences today. Getting to Vienna, I was surprised that we were getting off at the West Bahnhof, since we always go to the Hauptbahnhof (main station). Our apartment was in the city close to most sites and not close to the West Bahnhof. We ended up needing to take an underground train and a tram to get close to our lodging. (We could have taken a taxi, but I am sure it would have cost $30 because of the distance and the U/tram tickets cost us $3–I am not good at spending more than necessary, especially when it is a challenge–I don’t tend to stress when on an adventure.) Amazingly, with the help of friendly Viennese, this trip was quick and a piece of cake.
Getting into our apartment was another story. Our directions were not complete–we found the apartment, but we did not know how to get inside. Finally, I got someone to answer a phone and the person said, “Why didn’t you push buzzer 42?” Our directions said nothing about buzzer 42! We were led to our beautiful and spacious apartment and given keys. Yeah! The Rathaus (city government) spire is right outside our fifth floor (yes, there is an elevator) window. EXCEPT, after walking to the Rathaus and St. Stephen’s Cathedral and eating our wonderful meal, my key got stuck in the big front door to our apartment building. Wonderful, helpful people tried to help us get the key out to no avail. You can’t just leave a key in the main door of an apartment building, can you? “NO,” Kathy said, “I’m not sleeping down here all night!” I finally got “Buzzer 42” to answer the phone. “You must have positioned your key wrong; it goes perpendicular to the earth to pull it out.” Sure enough, turning my key 90 degrees until it was perpendicular to the ground allowed it to be pulled out of the latch easily. I was so very thankful that German-speaking Buzzer 42 knew the word perpendicular. WEG – Friday, September 25, 2015
You’re on the Ringstrasse! I lived just a little way around the Ring on Servitengasse. Wow, the buildings are so beautiful and clean now. I hope you get a chance to attend an opera or symphony concert while there. Enjoy some delicious dessert: Sachertorte! Oh, the memories… Enjoy your time in Vienna!
Kathy and I were in Vienna 39 years ago. It does seem cleaner than when we were here last. Austria has been a great experience for us–really beautiful all around.