Tuesday, June 14, 2011


Ok, so I know this is about a month late. I've now finished my European tour, moved to Charlottesville, gone to Bonnaroo, and started working up here. Fortunately, I took notes on looseleaf papers as I was traveling, but I couldn't deal with typing any more blogs on my iPhone.

So without further ado, the rest of my European travels.

From Zurich to Vienna, I took my first night train. Apparently there is a movie about that particular train ride, but I can say that my ride was not quite as romantic or adventurous. I slept. From the train, I did what would become my routine, as well as i learned many other people's routine in European cities. I took the subway to what I thought would be the city center (there was a picture of a big church), and then I looked for a McDonalds. You might judge me at this point, but McDonalds is the only reliable source of free WiFi in Europe. You generally need to have a European smart phone in Starbucks, but in McDonalds, you just need an appetite for American, artery clogging, cholesterol--which I do. So I went to McDonalds for the WiFi to find and book a hostel. I found one near the train station; it turned out to be pretty awesome. It had a bar with a happy hour, actually that was about the only awesome thing about it.

From there I explored, what I think became the most unexpectedly nice city on my travels. Vienna has a really 18th century city center. I hadn't really thought about it until I got there, but of course it was the center of the Hapsburg dynasty and thus the Holy Roman Empire for two or three centuries. The city center has a ton of stuff to see, and it's relatively small, so you can see a lot in a relatively short amount of time. The bibliotek is really cool, basically a bunch of old books a la UDTC and the Book of Kells; it's also free to any EU student to go in and do research. Included in the bibliotek was my personal favorite, a globe museum. There is also the Winter Hapsbug palace in the city center, the Spanish horses, and lots and lots of cafe's.

This is quite possibly my favorite aspect of Vienna. I spent every morning I was there in a cafe reading American newspapers (you can't imagine how boring CNN.com international gets--they never update it) and drinking cafe latees which I unfortunately developed an addiction to over my two months in Europe.

The last two cool things in Vienna that I saw were a mass at the Cathedral with the most amazing music I have ever heard at a mass (Mozart is theoretically buried in the church, although the end of Amadeus is quite right about his body being dumped in a mass grave), and then I saw the Hapsburg summer palace, which in and of itself is not overly impressive, but the gardens are a sight.

After Vienna, I did the unfortunate thing that almost everyone who goes to Central Europe does, force a backtrack by first going to Budapest, and then having to go back through Vienna on the way to Prague. Worth it.

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