The real reason to go to Vienna was that an unusually odd mix of people I know happened to be there all in the same weekend, so it was a good chance to see some people I haven't seen in some time.
I really liked Vienna, though I only had a short amount there so it was hard to get a good feel or really see anything substantial. The public transportation was great, including multiple types of train systems, rams, a subway, buses, and a plentiful amount of bicycle lanes. The architecture is some of the most interesting and impressive I have seen and sprawls everywhere, including regular apartment buildings. The detail is amazing. The sprawl and detail do have to do in part to the fact that it was the capital of a very large Austro-Hungarian empire.
I arrived Friday in the evening and stayed at Lautauro's place with his girlfriend and their roomates. They live pretty close to the center in a typical 5 story Viennese apartment, and the amazing thing about the architecture there, is that not only is the building facade impressive, but it continues on the interior of the building and then to the apartments. The buildings were certainly built before running water, so the corridoors have sinks that were used for bathing before bathrooms and then showers were added to the apartments. Even the texture and style of the walls and floors, and the spiral staircase, was impressive. And this was just an average building that was not terribly well maintained. Large ceilings and narrow rectangular rooms were in the apartment. Because the shower was added to the apartment as it's own independent feature after the bathroom, it was placed right next to the kitchen, and practically in the open, with no door to the room, allowing everyone to see if they so choose. Yikes. They're comfortable with it, though. Guess I just went with the flow!
The sink that probably was used for bathing (or at the very least washing clothes) before bathrooms were placed in the individual apartments:
A definite late addition, the elevator with barely enough space for 2 normal sized people.
Friday night we went out and had some Austrian beers. Going from Scottish (and even any beers in South America) to Austrian beer is like hitting a brick wall. It is really bitter and actually has flavor.
Saturday awoke to a mildly sturdy Austrian breakfast of bread with liver paste and apfel kren. Apfel kren is like an apple paste but it has some sort of fermented sour taste to it. I give the meal a 3 out of 5 stars. It was complemented by some Scottish Bovril that Lautauro still had from his trip there in November.
Then we walked and met up with Brian and Catarina. I stayed with Brian for almost 3 weeks in Rio, and it was some sort of amazing timing. He did a year of high school in Austria some years ago and is on his summer break now, so they were just going around Austria and France for a month. We walked around a bit, went to the Belvedere Palace, and then they had to take the train to Graz. So that was really great to meet up, who knows when I'll be in Brazil or he'll be in the US again.
A nice apfel strudel was then had at a cafe, and onto the grocery store for shopping ingredients for dinner. I could not resist picking up a few food souvenirs to bring back to Lund, so I found a massive dried sausage (that I am still working on!).
Lautauro makes the pizza dough:
Delicious and fatty:
Sunday began with an even sturdier Austrian breakfast. Smelly cheese, regular cheese, sausage, apfel kren, liver paste, bread, coffee, and soft pretzels. Then it was time to meet up with Dominik. I hosted Dominik for 4 or 5 days when I was in Chicago, through couchsurfing. Being from Vienna, Dominik was actually able to tell a lot about the history of Vienna, individual buildings, how things work, etc. We had some coffee in a Viennese cafe and walked around for a few hours. Really, the architecture is amazing.
The Rathaus (I think my german spelling is wrong on that haha)
With Dominik in front of the Congress:
2 hooves up, this guy died in battle:
Pinnochio and I:
Dominik and his girlfriend show up some really Austrian hotdog/sausages for lunch:
The famous cake place near the Opera house. Guess we didn't get any, just took a picture haha.
Nice colorful subway:
Daily Newspapers on the honor system. Take a newspaper, drop your money in.
Cold and in the subway:
I'd like to go back though and spend more time and really see some things. Or, go to an Opera! You can go to almost all Opera's for 3 euros (standing room).
Other than that, it seems like a really great city. I'm glad I was able to meet up with Brian and Dominik. Lautauro, well, he's moving to Luxemborg in about 3 months, so, I guess that gives me a new excuse to go there in the spring!