Since the New Year I obviously neglect this site, at least concerning my visible actions. But on the field of the now invisible one it is completely different, all of my care is devoted to the preparation of a new design. It is already partially done and we are more or less only dealing with details now (though these are always abundant). Because the work with the new website was obviously not enough, I decided to recreate the galleries, as my ability to process digital photos had significantly increased and many of the old galleries deserve it. It is a bit of a long-term plan, ideal for long, cold nights, and therefore only some galleries will be new when the new design is done, and others will be added over time.
I have recently been on a short trip to Vienna, where I have also made some pictures. What a surprise.
It is natural, than a reportage about Vienna will be simply shorter than the one from London. Firstly, Vienna is not London (which says everything). Secondly, they don’t have British accent in there. And lastly, we have spent much shorter time there and we liked it much less.
Because although London was large, expensive and difficult for us, we still had the feeling, that everyone is trying their best to make our money and effort worth it. They simply wanted to have a contented customer. However, in Vienna, the customer was more of a betrayed and disappointed sort, who really did not get his money’s worth.
The whole trip to Vienna was thought up as a substitute for another trip, which did not work out, and therefore we planned it in a very short time. Altogether, it consisted of two February days in Vienna and two sleepovers at our friend’s home on the road. We travelled with Student Agency, which was in my opinion not much better than WizzAir, though the price was lower. The hatred I feel for the little screens on the five A.M. bus’ seats, which glowed incessantly and couldn’t be switched off, is not expressible by words.
We had booked rooms in a hostel Do Step Inn behind Westbahnhof, for the very nice price of 55 Euros for a two-bed room with our own toilet and bathroom. The hostel is the only thing, in which Vienna beat London. When compared to Belgrave House Hotel, the Do Step Inn won us with clean and relatively big rooms, endurable bed and the en-suite bathroom bigger than a wardrobe. Even the ladies in the reception had better English than the Nigerian and the Polish girl in London.
At to food, it is about the same as in London – the traditional Austrian cuisine is quite far from gluten- and lactose-free, and I would also say that is much more disgusting than the usually despised British one. We met an example of this atrocity on the first day and on the second day, we were much more careful, so we ended up in a wonderful restaurant this time. If you ever find yourselves hungry around Schwedenplatz, you should definitely try NENI im ZWEIten.
One of the main problems of Vienna is, that it is a German-speaking area. And only one part of our traveller duet was able to speak German, though it was only a very unsure German. Maybe if we spent some more time there, I would start speaking better, but it was sad. It was mostly possible to speak English, but my linguistic pride forced me to always try German at first.
As to the sightseeing itself – we wandered through the main parts of the centre, though we did not fancy any long walks, since on the first day it was cold and slightly raining. As usual, at least one important building had to be undergoing a reconstruction and wrapped in plastic sheets – on this occasion it was Stephansdom. After the experience with the London Pass, which made our lives infinitely easier in England, we decided to buy Vienna card, but Vienna did not plan to make anything easier for us, so in some places it was not accepted at all, in others it only gave a discount smaller than for students, and in others (the Ringstraẞe tram) they did not want the card at all, they only gave a discount when shown the accompanying brochure. We of course carried only one of the brochures, because it seemed unreasonable to carry two brochures about discounts, and when we realized that it actually contained discount coupons, it was already too late.
We started the first day by going through the two buildings of the Jewish Museum and looking at the huge Holocaust Memorial at the Jewish Square. Then we went on a walk through Graben and Hofburg and were persuaded to buy tickets for a classic music concert in Schönbrunn by some lads in funny costumes. Before the concerts, the only other thing we made it to, was another of our road trip traditions; the butterflies at the Schmetterlinghaus. If such nonsense ever crosses your mind, forget it. It cost about five Euros and I personally think that they set the number of butterflies according to the price – one species probably costs and Euro fifty and you have to pay extra for any others. There were about thirty butterflies altogether and many little corpses and when compared with the space available, it simply could not compete with the botanical garden in Prague, let alone with the Natural History Museum.
The concert in Schönbrunn was very pleasant. It was obviously for tourists, it had no dress code and I would really like to send some of the visitors home, but the music was worth it. There were two opera singers and six musicians and they mostly played very well known pieces from Mozart and Strauss. It was beautiful.
On the next day, we got up early in order to be in time for the morning exercise of the Lipizzaner horses in Hofburg. The price was eleven Euros, which frankly is not that cheap, and the experience consisted of three hours of watching the elementary morning exercise. I admit that for this money, I would expect something else than five horses (though pretty) with riders dressed in costumes (though very skilled) doing simple moves (though perfectly done) in a big hall (though with majestic architecture) to some pieces of Mozart. It is impressive and interesting as a whole and very nice to look at for about thirty minutes, but is simply not worth eleven Euros. When compared to the Royal Mews or the changing of the guards… oh well.
During the day, we also went for a ride in a tour tram on the Ringstrasse, in order to satisfy the demands of the photographer. The tram ride cost six Euros with the coupon from the brochure, which I did not know, so I did not have it and paid seven Euros. The whole ride took about twenty minutes and it consisted of the most expensive tram in the world going the same way as any other tram, while a voice from the speakers kept saying things like “and now, when you look to the right, you see a completely ordinary house, behind which there is a very nice monument, which you can’t see. There are not many photos from this, since the windows of the tram were quite filthy. When compared with the boat trip on the Thames… oh well.
The most obscure experience of the day was the Karlskirche. As itself, it is a very nice baroque church, but when we approached it, we were completely stunned by a great billboard with a head of a very ugly baby and a sign saying “auch für dich war Jesus geboren”, covering half of the front entrance. There are things which I think should not be done to historical buildings. Insice od the church, we wre stunned again, this time by a huge construction, hiding most of the dome and enabling the tourists to go up by an elevator, look at the paintings on the ceiling and climb a shaking stairwell to the top of the roof. Climb it we did and the only thing we found there was dust, a dirty window and one painting. Because of the construction, we were unable to look at any of the side altars. Oh well.
We ended the trip in Graben, where we needed to buy a gift for a friend at six o’ clock. At six o’ clock there was no open shop in the whole of centre and nearby neighbourhood, so we solved the problem in a café selling a bit creepy honey from bees living at the roof of the Opera, where we bought some chocolate and left for the bus.
I think I prefer the British way of life.
P.S.: For the next time I plan a short reportage from the chamber LARP Club Felis from the association Tempus Ludi