Saturday, May 20, 2006

Today was a day of complete laziness and relaxation. I woke up late (well, as late as I could wake up considering I’m in a room with seven other girls who are very loud in the morning) and ate a hearty breakfast. The cooks downstairs make wonderful eggs – they mix them with pieces of ham and onions and potatoes and spices. SOOO good. Then I took a really long shower, because for once no one was in line behind me. Once I was all clean and sparkling, I wandered over to Mirabelle garden (where they filmed most of the “do-re-me” song for The Sound of Music) and sat in the dwarf garden, reading a book, until around 1:30. From there, I wandered around a bit more, then bought some chocolate gelato (when I tried to order in broken German, the girl who worked there said, “It’s okay if you speak in English – I’m Italian and understand that better anyway.”). And now I’ve just woken up again from a three hour nap which was uninterrupted by noisy roommates or loud traffic outside my window.

I love Salzburg.

I think tomorrow, if the weather is as nice as today (a questionable statement), I’ll wander up to the Hohensalzburg (the fortress), to get a view of the city from the top. While I’m here I’d also like to visit the Nonnberg Convent (at least the part that they’ll let visitors into), and go to some of the smaller towns to go hiking and maybe mountain biking (if I’m not feeling too lazy).


I hope everyone at home is enjoying the weather :-D. I feel wonderfully evil reminding yall that this is the second summer in a row that I have escaped the Texas heat. But my winter in Siberia may be karma coming back at me.

Friday, May 19, 2006

More pictures...

Here's the link to the pictures of Salzburg...

"The hills are alive..."

I love Salzburg!
I just arrived here two days ago and am having a marvelous time.
Vienna was awesome for that final day. We were able to get some of the standing-room tickets to see Madame Butterfly - and it was only 3.50 euros! Well worth standing up for three hours. And the old lady behind me was a literature professor, so we talked non-stop during the intermission.
I am enjoying Salzburg so much more though. It's nice to finally be in a smaller place after visiting so many cities. I went on the "Sound of Music Tour" yesterday, and today went on the Salt Mine Tour up in the mountians. I'm stuck here until the Russians finally get their act together and give me my visa, so I think I'll take advantage of my location and do some outdoor sporting. There's a pretty extensive bus system here, so I shouldn't have any trouble.
Anyway, gotta make this entry quick - internet prices tend to get out of hand when you lose track of time.
More pictures of Budapest -
Pictures of Vienna -
And the updated Adventures of Frog -

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

"What a Difference a Day Makes..."

Today has been so much better than the rest of my days in Vienna. Maybe it's the fact that the sun finally came out today. Or that I finally was able to go to a few museums. I don't know. The day has just had a general happiness about it.
I went to the Freud Museum this morning. Very interesting. They had a special exhibit up called "Couch" - all about the idea of the couch and how it has effected art and psychiatry. I wish I had a couch that cool in my apartment.
For lunch I allowe d myself to eat out - I went back to the Naschtmarkt (the big main market) where there are a bunch of cafes and found a place called "S' Wiener Naschmarkt Beisl" that served wiener schnitzel. I can't wait to upload the pictures - they are priceless. I ate the whole thing and the old man at the table next to me laughed so hard when I finally took the last bite. It was huge, even by Texas standards.
After lunch I wandered over to the Museum Quartier and went to the Modern. I wanted to go to the Leopold Museum too, but it is closed on Tuesdays :-(. Once again I was thwarted by a Viennese schedule. But the Modern was very cool, and I enjoyed having the extra time to chill out in the courtyard on the crazy benches (see pictures once they're up).
Last night as I was getting ready to go to bed Maria and Diego (the couple from Argentina) got in from their final night of wandering about town. Apparently they were able to get into the Vienna Opera for 2.50€ each. They said they went to try to get a tour and found out that if you wait in line about an hour before the performance, they give away standing room only tickets. I looked at the schedule for the Vienna Opera and Madame Butterfly is on tonight! I think I'm going to try to go with a couple of the other girls at the hostel. We'll see what happens.
In any case, I'm heading to Salzburg in the morning. I'll be there about a week because I have to take care of my visa stuff for Russia. I might venture out into the mountains, get away from the city for a while. I need a break from all this running around. I'm glad that my final day in Vienna turned out to be so enjoyable. I would have hated to leave feeling like I hadn't had a good time.

Monday, May 15, 2006

Oh yeah, I forgot to mention this...

I saw a Mercedes Benz today with Florida license plates. Hmmmm, long way from home?
And I just booked a bed at the YOHO hostel in Salzburg for a whole week. I hear it's supposed to be good, and I'm glad I got into it. They have their own bar and show the sound of music daily at noon!
Now time for some pesta raviolli.


I think the powers that be are conspiring to make me dislike Vienna. This is my third day here, and I'm not enjoying it nearly as much as Budapest or Prague. Maybe it would be different if I had the money to go to the opera every night and really get into the high-brow culture of the city, but I just haven't had as much fun here as in my previous locations.
The city is GORGEOUS - I noticed that on my first day. But I also arrived on Saturday around five in the afternoon. Apparently everything closes early on Saturday and most don't reopen until Monday. Which made finding something for dinner quite a challenge. While I could have gone to a restaurant, I'm on a budget and have been getting by with grocery stores and kebab stands. I wandered about all evening and finally was able to bum some spaghetti off one of my roommates at the hostel (she had made a whole pot and was sharing with everyone).
Which brings me to the hostel. The last two I stayed at in Budapest were awesome - great people, great locations, and relatively clean. This place is none of the above. I arrived to find a note and a key taped to the door - apparently the owner is only there to collect payment and give you advice on the town from 815 to 1200. What?! And the location could definitely be better. Yes, we are within walking distance of the museums and such in the city center, but I think this is the only inhabited building on this street. I would much rather be in a residential area hanging with a bunch of locals than to be in this limbo. And there are twelve people in the bedroom I'm in ... with only ten beds. I'm sleeping in a loft, the only entrance to which is a creaky metal ladder. Hmmm. But I guess I'm getting what I'm paying for. Still, let me down this time. I want to be back at the aboriginal in Budapest.
I have met a few cool people at the place though. I went to Schoenbrunn palace yesterday with a couple from Quebec and a couple from Argentina. It was beautiful but I had a similar experience to the one I had a Versailles a couple of years ago - sooooo many people trying to see the exact same rooms. I got a bit claustrophobic. But I enjoyed the gardens. Of course, the view from the Gloriette was a bit disappointed, as there were about 12 construction cranes blocking many of the pretty buildings.
I went to the big market today. Lots of fruits and veggies and meat. I bought some really good pesto sauce and homemade raviolli - but the guy charged me 25€! Still haven't figured that one out, but I couldn't argue with him - he didn't speak English and was pissed that I didn't speak German. And I was a bit traumatized when I saw what appeared to be flayed dachsaunds in the meat vendor's case.
Maybe tomorrow will be better. I still haven't had my weiner schnitzel, so that's on the to-do list, and I am going to do the museum thing as well. Then I'm off to Salzburg on Wednesday. Hopefully I won't leave here with too bad of a taste in my mouth.