I love vacations. Especially vacations that involve travelling to new places. What’s perhaps even better is looking back on vacations you’ve been on. I can’t speak for everyone, but when I’m looking back on things, my imagination makes them way better than they may have actually been. I’ll be looking at pictures, and even if I was outside freezing my ass off all day, I’ll be like ‘Isn’t the snow beautiful?’ Even if I spent half the evening arguing with my wife, I’ll be like ‘Wasn’t that an amazing buffet?’
Last Monday my wife and I were having lunch, (just before my ill-fated trip to Teavana which I blogged about last week) and reminiscing about our trip to Vienna, Austria. It was our honeymoon after all (mind you, we took a road trip to New York and Boston, post-wedding, pre-Austria, and while we had a blast, we decided it was NOT our honeymoon). Vienna is a bit sexier to talk about from a honeymoon perspective, and neither of us had ever been there. In fact, we hadn’t been to Europe together at all. We decided to do it as a little mini-trip for 4 days. Loyal readers, let me assure you that this is the dumbest possible idea, and you should never try it yourself. It’s totally not worth the airfare or jet lag to only stay for 4 days. I thought there were a few things about Vienna that I’d like to share with you. Not that I want to turn this into a travel blog or anything, but I don’t have anything that I’m really fired up about right now.
– When we got to the airport after flying overnight on Austrian Airlines (which we liked), we had to go through customs. The customs officer looked at our passports, looked at us and said ‘have a good day’. I’m so used to going to the States and feeling like I’m one shifty look away from being strip searched. They didn’t even ask us any questions in Austria. Nice.
– The hotel we stayed at was a boutique hotel that we got a great deal on since we were travelling in their ‘off season’ for tourism. It would have been crazy expensive. We took a cab there from a train station. When we told the cab driver where we were staying, he practically BEGGED us to let him take us somewhere else. We didn’t let him since it was already paid for, but we were curious to know why. In his opinion, and the opinions of a lot of the locals, this hotel was an abomination, and he was just doing his part to try to steer business away from them. Here’s the thing….. it was the most gorgeous hotel that I’ve ever stayed at. What’s interesting to me is the difference in attitude towards old vs new that Europeans have as opposed to North Americans. I don’t mean to paint everyone with the same brush here, but Vienna is a city very rich in history, and architecture that is centuries old. Their idea of new, is restoring something old, and I get that. In North America we level old buildings to build new buildings all the time. There are some places that are well restored and historical, but they’re few and far between. I get that too. I just found it interesting that a new hotel with a fairly artistic design could be so offensive to someone. Pictures don’t do it justice, but I’ll include a couple.
– Something Vienna is definitely known for is the coffee shops. For every Tim Horton’s in Canada or Dunkin Donuts in the States, Europe seems to have a ‘one of a kind’, amazing coffee shop with incredible baked goodies. You almost can’t throw a baseball in Vienna without hitting three of them. There were no drive-thru shops that I could see either. The emphasis seems to be ‘come in and sit down… enjoy your coffee and cigarette, and leave when you’re ready’. A way different lifestyle than ‘hurry the fuck up, I’m late for work’. One I could get used to perhaps.
– Final thought was I wonder if I’ll hear any Falco on the radio. As a nerd for 80’s music trivia, I of course remember the Austrian pop star who’s most famous hit was ‘Rock Me Amadeus’, and his follow-up single ‘Vienna Calling’ (which I borrowed for this blog title… did anyone get that?) seemed to be the song that was going through my head for 4 days while in the city. Falco is the biggest international pop star to ever come out of Austria, and if you’re curious, I DID actually hear a Falco song on the radio while I was there. I was sad to learn that he had died in a car crash in 1998. R.I.P. Falco!!!!