Thursday, December 16, 2010

Vienna -Take Two

Friday December 10, 2010

I was suppose to leave at 4:33 am for Vienna to meet my Hungary American friends that were arriving at 10am. I had to get up at 3am to finish packing and be out the door by 3:45 so that I could make my 4:33 am train.  It was suppose to take 4.5 hours to get to Vienna by train and I was excited to meet up with Team Eastern/Central Europe.  Here is where the story takes a turn.....

My first stop was a hole in the wall, small town (at least the train station was) Veseli n. Luznici.  According to my train info, I had 5 minutes to switch trains but unfortunately at 5am in a severe snow blizzard, that didn't happen.  The train worker told me the train I was suppose to get on, was pulling out of the station...UGH UGH UGH.  There was nice Czech lady train worker that told me I could catch the next train at 5:55 to a different station than I had planned, but at least it would get me to Vienna.

During my hour wait, out of the corner of my eye, I saw a rat, which ran OVER my foot.  I managed to get my camera out and catch a picture of the little culprit.  Not a good way to start my morning.

After getting on my next train, I arrived in Ceske Budejovice at 6:30 am and had to wait until 8:09 for my next train.  It was FREEZING in the train station so I huddled in the fetal position, hugging my knees, trying to stay warm.  I was then rudely shoved and told "no sleeping" (in English).  Apparently I looked like a homeless person or something....I was just trying NOT TO DIE of hypothermia.

Now I finally made it to my third train and on to my third station Ceske Velenice.  The train was actually warm and I thought about just staying on the train and not getting off.  But....the adventure CONTINUES.

 During all this time, I was in contact with my friend Emily (coming from Hungary) via text and I shared my delays with her and our meeting time was arranged for a later problem.  When I arrived in Ceske Velenice, I found out my train was going to be one hour late.....SOOOOO....I joined the rest of the passengers in the bar for a drink.....then we found out that the train was going to be two hours late.  So now I was not going to get into Vienna until 1:30....I was suppose to get in at 8:30 and now I was getting in at 1:30. My 4.5 hour train ride was turning into a 9+ hour train ride/experience.

I finally arrived in Vienna and texted Emily to find out where she and Franky were....unfortunately they didn't text back so I spent the next 3.5 hours walking around searching for them.  Vienna isn't small for those wondering.  Finally at 4pm I texted them that I was sitting at a cafe and within 5 minutes, Franky and Emily showed up at my location.  Apparently they were unable to text but they did receive texts.  I don't know why I didn't think of that earlier....could have saved myself a lot of walking.

After I met up with Emily and Franky, we went to Albertina and saw an amazing Picasso, Michelangelo and Kentridge exhibition.  Franky is an art teacher so it was very helpful to hear his opinion and interpretation of the art pieces.

We met up with Brock and Calan around 7 and then all met up at the hostel at 9 to meet up with Kent.  FINALLY Team Central/Eastern Europe was reunited.  It was great to have the 6 of us back together.  We hit up the Christmas Markets for some warm Pousch, wine, and pivo at a local pub near our hostel.  Our hostel wasn't 5 star by any means, but it suited our travelers needs.  We were in a 10 bunk bed room that was supplied by IKEA.  I don't think they knew how to screw in all the screws because any slight movement, a creaking sound could be heard.

Saturday we set off for Belvedere (museum) to see the exhibits.  Franky, Emily, and I explored the Upper Belvedere which showcased Klimt, Monet, and Renoir.  I have to say I was VERY MUCH in awe to be standing in front of The Kiss by Klimt.  I love that painting and to see the actual painting is a life experience I won't soon forget.  The Lower Belvedere showcased Modern Art and Rodin's sculptures.

Later that night we all met up again and had dinner at a restaurant called Centimeters.  We ordered the "Sword" meal....the dinner actually came on a sword.  There was sooo much food, that the six of us couldn't even finish the entire meal.  We did give it a gallant effort though.  After dinner we explored the Christmas Markets again.  At the end of the night we found a Mexican bar and enjoyed some Austrian alcohol and played some games.

It turned out to be a relatively early evening and in the morning we all went our separate ways back to our locations.  Everyone else left on early morning trains but I took the 10:30 train back to Tabor.  I even made every connection back to Tabor and got home around 3:30 pm.  I was glad to see everyone, but I was happy to be home, back in my own bed.....which I took a LONG nap in...seeing as I didn't get much sleep during the weekend.

Vienna is an amazing city and I highly recommend it to anyone.  There are so many sights to see from St. Stephensdome, Albertina, Parliament, Hofsburg, and Town Hall.

  By the way, for you James Bond fans, which I am, this Ferris Wheel was where they filmed parts of Living Daylights.....wahooooooo...can't believe I actually was at a place that was in a James Bond movie....

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