With all of our mini-travels leaving from Vienna, we became very familiar with the U-Bahn (their subway system.) Anytime I travel anywhere with a decent subway/public transportations system, I come back to Minneapolis wishing we had something like that which covered our whole metro area. And I do not mean the bus system. Our light rail system is ok, but it covers such a limited area.
Anyway! Back to Vienna...
Tuesday, November 9: Our train from Budapest arrived in Vienna in the early evening. We managed to snag a cab, and were delighted to find out our hotel was only 10 minutes away. The lights on Mariahilfer Straße were amazing - we couldn't believe how lucky we were to have picked a hotel right in the middle of so much activity. And bonus! They upgraded us to a very cool corner room...
After we checked in, we found a great Italian restaurant. My favorite comment from that evening is that we were told our English had an Irish dialect to it. Huh. I always thought our flat, American accents were easy to distinguish.
Waiting to board the train in Budapest
And we're off!
Bye bye Budapest!
Lots of stairs at the Hotel Kummer Wien (Vienna)
The view of Mariahilfer Straße from one set of our windows
We had company on our balcony.
Wednesday, November 10: Today was designated as our shopping day. By the end of our walking/shopping, I was carrying so many bags, I was feeling like a packhorse. Emilie was much more fortunate, and her only purchase was jewelry, which was certainly easy to carry!
After we got tired of shopping, we walked down to Museum Quarter, and took a break in a local park. It was very, very good to rest our feet.
The view from our hotel during the day
In Museum Quarter
And now we skip a few days, as we traveled to Brno and Graz...
Saturday, November 13: We arrived back in Vienna (from Graz) in the evening, and realized that we had a LOT to do to get ready for our 3am departure from the hotel. But, we also didn't want to waste our last evening in Vienna. So, we dropped our things off at the hotel, and went back to the trusty U-Bahn. Em's cousin's husband had advised us that Vienna's Christkindlmarkt was opening this night, and it would be a great place to check out. This is basically a Christmas Market in Vienna's City Hall Square. Lots of food, treats, crafts, and people in attendance!
First stop: we had to purchase some glühwein to warm us up on this cold Austrian night. Glühwein is a warm, mulled wine - very tasty. We managed to eat our way through the market, and even attempted to order in German. It was somewhat successful.
After we went numb from the cold, we decided to head back to the hotel and get ready to come back to the States. We packed everything up, and were in bed by 11:00pm. Lots of time before our early pickup...!
Here we are at the Vienna airport, waiting for our flight to Amsterdam.
The rest of our trip home was so-so...we didn't have the greatest service on the long flight between Amsterdam and MSP, and when we got to the airport, we found out our luggage had missed the connection in Amsterdam, and was on the next flight over. No biggie, as it was delivered to our homes later that evening.
One thing I thought was very interesting was that in Austria, people would come up to us and speak full sentences to us in German. We'd have to stop them and ask if they spoke English. Apparently we blended in well enough that it wasn't as easy to spot us as tourists!
It was a great trip, and I was so happy to see another part of Europe besides France. But by the end, I was ready to come home...I missed speaking a language that I knew, being able to read the signs, and, of course, my family. I came back with lots of great memories, and a different outlook on the U.S. I'm happy to live here, but am also understanding that there are many different ways of living life. It opened my eyes quite a bit - and I think that's a great thing!