Saturday, June 11, 2011

Vienna: Bier and Wienerschnitzel

My last night in Morocco was in Tangier again, and this time around I was much more comfortable and I stayed in a slightly nicer hotel. In the morning I flew out and arrived in Vienna Austria around 1 am. My first impression of Vienna was not what I was expecting, granted I was wandering around a large city at 2 am looking for my cheap hostel. There were a lot of prostitutes, brothels and casinos.

By daytime the city seemed completely underwhelming after arriving from Morocco. I did not experience much of the “I'm in a new place” feeling that I have always had when traveling to a new country. The only thing that seemed somewhat unfamiliar was people speaking German. It was my first time in a German speaking country. I think I was experiencing a bit of reverse culture shock (if there is such a thing).

That being said the city was beautiful, and architecturally, the only place that I have been that compares is Paris. There are beautiful sculptures, fountains and monuments everywhere you look. I really was not sure what to do on my budget (which did not include any museum entrance fee's) so I simply walked around. From walking around I noticed that Vienna seemed to have two clashing cultures. On one spectrum there are huge pretzels, huge beers, huge hot dogs and wienerschnitzel's (fried pork) everywhere you look. On the other hand Vienna is known for its delicate pastries, wines, fancy coffee's and expensive shopping districts. These two norms seem to coexist as well as the coexistence of the opera/classical music culture and grimy brothels, strip clubs and street prostitution. I couldn't decide whether I wanted to get stumbling drunk on Austrian beer and eat wienerschnitzell till I exploded, or buy an opera ticket and eat chocolate cake. That being said I did neither, I just enjoyed the weather, architecture and did some people watching over a glass of whatever beer they gave me when I ordered a “beir.”

I think to fully appreciate Vienna you may need to have museum entrance fee's in your budget, and maybe have a bit more of a sweet tooth than me. For knowing nothing about the city other than that the most famous landmark is a ferris wheel from an Orson Wells movie, I really did enjoy the sense of adventure and discovery that came from my lack of knowledge. Next stop Budapest.


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