Europe is awesome and yet, exhausting. Today, I feel like I'm gonna die, but it's such a good death that I can't help by try and make it out to a punk club tonight just to show that I can. What medical selective?
Got back from Vienna at about midnight last night, crashed and burned and headed out to my first round in dermatovenerology this morning.
Vienna... Vienna. The train ride is very nice, though not anything like Dresden to Prague. We got a second class cabin, which is surprisingly cozy, and cozy in a "cozy" way, rather than being cozy in a "crammed into coach class" way, though I did get stuck across from the overly affectionate couple where the girl insisted on "play kissing" her boyfriend's cheek for four hours, making a 'smacksmacksmack' noise. Ahhhh, twu wuv.
The hostel was awesome. Very different than the one I stayed in when I was in Berlin with smaller rooms, but cozier. They had free instruments in the common room, and really pretty gardens/courtyards with a giant chess set and an all access BBQ grill, which was a nice touch. According to my top bunkie, some people around 4 in the morning were using the garden for more than a stroll, which is freaking hilarious.
On Friday, we checked into the hostel and headed out for Wienerschnitzel and local beer, which was excellent, and we dealt with an exceedingly patient waitress in the process. I was going to go out Friday night, but got held up, so wound up sending Grace off and heading hostel bound with Neeta to hit the bike tour the next morning, which we missed, but rented bikes nonetheless and headed to the flea market/farmer's market to see some real Vienna.
NICE bikes too. When I saw the "if you destroy or lose our bike, we're charging your credit card 500 euros" thing, I balked a bit, but they were really nice, curb hopping, light frame bikes and they got the job done. Definitely the way to travel, and I should have rented one in Berlin. Prague is not as much of a bike city.
At the market, Grace managed to get yelled at by an Austrian vendor, and then we found far nicer ones to sustain us with candied fruit, fresh mango juice, and goat-cheese stuffed olives while I got myself a nice all-over burn due to leaving my sunscreen at the hostel like a complete dumbass.
Then, we joined up for the afternoon's Viennese death cycle... holy crap, what an awful tour. At first, despite the guide's speaking German for five minutes to every one minute of English on a 'bilingual' tour, we were goofing off, having fun, playing bike tag (dangerous, but awesome), hurtling through the woods, seeing the brown polluted portion of the Danube (the guide said when you look perpendicularly down at it, that's when it looks blue, which is not true in the slightest). We crossed a giant bridge that ended in an incredibly fun fast spiral down, at which point one guy on our tour skidded out and had to have his bleeding shoulder tended to by fellow cyclers rather than the guide, who has never heard of the concept of "no man left behind".
Speaking of which, due to the guide's insistence on seeing all of greater Vienna at top speed, we took a wrong turn and got lost for a half hour, during which we saw the blue portion of the Danube with a really cool sort of wakeboarding "ring" going on, during which we also stayed in contact with a friend that had managed to stay with the group, who was also the one that had to come get us, since our guide, while making everyone else stay and wait, wouldn't look for us, despite telling us by phone to stay where we were and he would, all the while telling the group that we were irresponsible, etc. Blech. Then, another member of the group (not ours) had her bike that she rented through the tour (not our shop) break, nope, no helping her, and we continued whipping through the Vienna outskirts without really knowing what we were seeing or seeing the main sites. Blech.
BUT, riding bikes is fun! And we got a good story out of it.
That night, due to missing the previous night, I HAD to go out, so headed to the Gurdel (I think) club district and found an awesome little no-cover grunge place that had really nice music and danced the night away as much as I could.
Next day was really awesome. We took pictures of ourselves doing handstands in the castle gardens, then headed for a walking tour arranged through our hostel. Our guide was wonderful, lingered, showed us all the main sites, and ran the tour as long as we wanted it, and he just enjoyed hanging out with us, so we finally had to leave because we had a train to catch, but it was just fantastic, and I got a ton of pictures, including one with our guide. He also did a bilingual tour (in English and Portuguese!) but it was much more even, and he made sure that both groups got a full appreciation of each place, and while he was doing the other language part, the other group was free to wander around without fear of getting left and buy water, see the sites, take pictures, use the toilets, or whatever. Oh, he also told us that during the World Cup, they put an Austria t-shirt on the giant statue of Anubis that's near the Natural History museum. Oh, to have seen that!
The one thing we were missing was Sachertorte, which we managed to get AT the train station, though according to others that had it at real places, ours was a highly inferior version. We spent the train ride with five of us in a car laughing, dressing up Grace like a ninja and so forth, and one Austrian student who told us a ton about the program she was studying in Czech, her town in Austrian, a Vienna perspective, so that was really cool.
And now, back in Prague! Whew!