In Which I Visit an Enormous Oven, aka Vienna

Vienna (Eyewitness Travel Guides)I’m sitting here typing this at my mother-in-law’s. Just got in a few hours ago, and I thought I’d take a moment to let you all know how things have been going. Iceland Express (the airline I flew to get here) was okay. Not great, but okay. Keflavik airport is one of the most boring airports in the world, though. Seriously–if you have to choose between spending two hours in Keflavik and two hours chained to a cement wall, go for the wall. It’ll be more entertaining.

Denisa met me in Vienna, and we traipsed through the streets of Vienna at 10:30 at night, doing our best not to get mugged or otherwise accosted. The hotel (Hotel City Central) was awesome, especially for the price. I’d done a lot of research when we picked it, and I had high hopes–but you never know what you’re going to get until you get there. The room was small, but it had air conditioning, which proved to be a huge plus, as you’ll see later. Austrian TV disappointed me by having absolutely no Alf reruns, anywhere. I’d thought that was a contractual obligation of all German-speaking TV stations. But oh well. The breakfast the hotel had in the morning was epic. Sausages, bacon, pastries, cheeses, fresh orange juice, German granola, breads, fresh fruit, eggs–and all the Nutella I can eat. (I can eat a lot of Nutella, if you didn’t know.) Denisa and I managed to devour enough to keep us satisfied each day until around dinner. Nice.

We met up with some of Denisa’s friends while we were in Vienna, going sightseeing both days with some of them and to dinner with others. This actually worked out very well. You never can tell, with friends of your spouse. But I had an elaborate system worked out ahead of time with Denisa so that I could let her know if I wanted to ditch her friends or not. Then I found out the husband of her friend works coding robots for Lego, and all that flew out the window. Not only that, but they live in Austin, which is where the Best Movie Theater in the World is located (Alamo Drafthouse), and you don’t mess with people who have good taste in movie theaters. I’m happy to say that we all got along swimmingly, and we had a great time. Making sarcastic remarks and inappropriate jokes just isn’t as much fun if your only audience is your spouse, who’s legally required to Put Up With You all the time anyway. ๐Ÿ™‚

That said, it was swelteringly hot in Vienna. I mean, it was like the whole city was a few million miles closer to the sun. We saw tons of things, and walked all over creation. The State Opera House, Schoenbrunn, Belvedere, Stephansdom, sundry other churches–if it was in Vienna, we saw it, and we most likely walked to it. We figured out that using the U-Bahn was a better choice the second day, but the first day, we got a good taste of just how large the city is. Let’s put it that way.

I also had the chance to sample some local fare. Muellermilch was consumed. Doener kebabs were devoured. Pastries were enjoyed. Ice cream was eaten by the gallon. A fun time was had by all.

Of course, no trip to Europe is complete without me getting sick, and my body complied on Sunday. Right after a late lunch, I crashed, feeling awful. We went in and didn’t go out again except for an emergency doener kebab run. This morning, we realized we hadn’t done the shopping we still needed to do (surprises for the kids, dirt for a friend (don’t ask), thank you gifts for mother-in-law–that sort of thing. So I sucked it up and we went out into the city again, having so much shopping fun we almost missed our bus to Slovakia.

And what a bus it was. Gas fumes, dripping ceilings (right on yours truly), overcrowded, and Communist. And this was the privately run bus. (Actually, the state bus probably would have been much better–they’re usually a lot better these days.) Denisa kept telling me, “Won’t this be great in your sequel?” (Assuming/hoping I get to write one, of course). Yes, dear. It’ll be great. It’ll also be great to dry out. ๐Ÿ™‚

Anyway–we’re back with the kiddos and having a blast. It’s 9:16 here now, and I’m going to lie down and think about going to sleep. Hope all is well in America. Don’t miss me too much. If you want to see pictures, I’ll be trying to post some to Facebook over the next two weeks. I forgot my cable that connects my camera to my computer, so you’ll have to wait for authentic pics on the blog until I get back.

Tomorrow: Trencin Castle, relearning how to drive stick shift, and exploring the city to see how many details I screwed up in my latest draft of Vodnik. Wish me luck!

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