Home > Uncategorized > Austria, Days 4 and 5

Austria, Days 4 and 5

Wednesday was my day off. I ended up oversleeping and didn’t get up until 1:30, so I decided to say “screw it” and spend the day hanging out and tend to some business on the internet. Mostly trying to figure out who’s going to pick me up from the airport and buying some motorcycle parts so they’ll be there when I get home (shout out to motosliders.com).

As an excuse to get out of the apartment, I met Mandy, my host, at Neubaugasse to browse around Saturn, which is uncannily like Best Buy except everything is in German and Euros. That was interesting, but mostly in only so far as it was basically identical to a store you could find in the US, unless you include the massive vinyl selection.

And since I was way under budget for the day, I ended up saying we should get dinner out on me. Cultural learning-gram: in Viennese German, you say that you’re “inviting” someone to let them know that dinner is on you. I’m told it’s strange to be told at the end of the meal that you’re being invited to eat.

Today I hit up the Albertina art museum, more out of a sense of duty not to pass up a major Vienna attraction than any real interest in the art on display. In the last week or two, they’d switched over from a showcase of Magritte, one of the few artists that’s actually resonated with me, to an exhibit on impressionism, the beauty of which was largely lost on me. Actually, the piece that ended up sticking with me most was one of Seurat’s conté crayon sketches that is just black crayon and white paper and essentially a tour de force in negative space.

Yeah, I went to an exhibit about the bright colors and extemporaneous stylings of the impressionists and liked what amounted to a charcoal sketch. Apparently I don’t follow directions well.

Somewhat unfortunately, my €8 ticket only got me about two hours of wondering around looking at art. I only say “somewhat”, because that ended up meaning I was able to hit up the Albertina Würstelstand (the same one from Sunday) before I was deathly starving. The Austrian beer continues to be nothing special on its own and absolutely awesome when eaten with meaty foods.

With time left in the afternoon, I took the U-bahn one stop over to Stephansplatz and came out right in front of my goal, Stephansdom. I was awed by the massive scale of the stonework and craftsmanship strolling by it earlier in the week, so I wanted to come by for a closer look at the cathedral that Wikipedia tells me is almost a millenium old. Except that’s actually the rub for me: it was almost painful to visit this very old historical behemoth and see that they had drilled in to some of the centuries-old wood to attach an HDTV mount. Or to stand in the overpriced gift shop crammed in a tiny cloister.

The whole experience was the sole time I’ve felt like I’d narrowly avoided a tourist trap during my time in the city. For example, I decided the €4.5 to go to the top of the belltower and “see Vienna from above” wasn’t quite worth it, especially after I later learned from Mandy that that fee only buys you admission to climb the stairs. The elevator is extra. No thanks.

Tonight ended up being a simple eat-in kinda night, munching on pizza while I streamed the NCSU vs Boston College men’s basketball game from the first round of the ACC tournament. I’m not actually that devoted of a basketball fan, but it was really damn cool to be able to stream the game and watch it from another continent. Plus it was good to actually watch a game where we won. Through some strange coincidence, every other game I’d seen the Wolfpack play this season had been a loss.

Tomorrow’s my last day in the city (my flight leaves “stupid early”, as Mandy puts it), so she’s taking the day off and we’ll wrap things up.

Categories: Uncategorized
  1. Lenore Berry
    March 8, 2012 at 10:19 pm

    Thanks for another interesting narrative, Ben. Stephansdom is unforgettable and I was fascinated by the design of the roof tiles or whatever they are. I believe Mozart was married in that church. Enjoy your last day in Vienna!

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