Vienna (Wien), Austria

November 23, 2008Devon No Comments »

Because driving to north Germany went so well; Dominik and I decided to do a road trip to Austria. Do not be so shocked; It is only a 6 hour drive. It is like driving from College Station, Texas, to New Orleans, Louisiana. We rented another car Friday (November 21). We got a station-wagon to save money; we wanted to sleep in the car by putting all the seats down and use the highway pit-stops for other important things. To save even more money, before we left Friday night, we went to the grocery store and got supplies (food) for the entire weekend. We also packed the car with allot of blankets and pillows to make the car comfortable during sleep.

The car we got was amazing, a 2008 BMW. It had every bell and whistle you could think of: navigation system, 6 CD changer, seat warmers, personal environment controls, so on. A perfect car for a long road trip. We got on the road at 10pm Friday. We drove about half way, slept at a pit-stop, then got to Vienna in the morning around 11am. The German highway system is fantastic. Now, it is winter here, the temperature is around -2 Celsius; under freezing. To prevent the road from being icy, they have the railing the runs along the road spray airline de-freezing agent onto the roads, also the pit-stops are very frequent and have everything one needs.

Once we arrived in Vienna (Saturday), we drove to the city center and parked the car. We got out and went sight seeing. The first thing we got to was the pedestrian only shopping district. It was completely decorated for Christmas. Most cities I know put up a few lights and garland. Well, Vienna had Christmas light chandeliers all the way down the main promenade. It was gorgeous. To make things even more magical, it was just slightly snowing and street entertainers were playing the piccolo–I felt like I was in a Dickens’ Christmas story. We just walked around went into the shops and took in all the sights.

Once it got dark at 4pm (heavy clouds) we got to the city center again. We wanted to go around to the main tourist historical monuments, but the tourist office was closed. But, lucky for us, Vienna has horse-drawn carriages that give tours. We got the long tower that went all over: city hall, musicians houses, palaces, castle, 16th century restaurant still owned by the same family, so on. It was such a good experience; talk about Dickens’ Christmas story. The driver was so nice. He offered to do the tour in English, but knew more in German. So, he gave it in German and Dominik translated.

On the tour we went past the Vienna Christmas Market. Once our tour was over, and dropped us of at the city center, we walked to the Christmas Market. All over Europe they have these markets that are set up near the city centers. They are like craft fairs, but are oriented for Christmas. They had everything you could imagine: little toys, blown glass, ornaments, music boxed, baked good, so on. One important feature of every European Christmas market is Gl├╝hwein. It is like hot mulled wine, but is spiked with rum. Needless to say, it is a powerful drink–good for cold, cold, cold, nights. I drank once glass and was good for the rest of the night. Dominik had the non-alcoholic version, because he was the driver; what a good friend.

After the market we want to a local bar and found out good places to go clubbing. We went out around 11pm. We went to around 3 clubs, trying to find the best one. Finally at around 2am we found an awesome club, with people around our age, playing good music. My favorite song of the night was “Infinity 2008 – Guru Josh Project.” Not necessarily a German song, but still reminds me of Austria for some reason. We were done with the club at 5am. Dominik was hyper on energy drinks, so I slept in the passenger seat as he drove half way back to Bonn.

It was good I slept. Dominik told me when we got to the half way point that we went though a massive blizard and were driving around 40 kh/m. I hate driving in snow; makes me so stressed. We got to a good pit-stop and made up the car for sleeping. We both slept from 10am to 3pm (Sunday). We drove for another 4 hours in more smaller blizzard conditions until we finally got to Bonn at 8pm. We unpacked the car and then Dominik drove me to the dorm. When I got to the dorm I had to finish my last paper for class; all I needed to do was a few edits. I got to bed at midnight. What a weekend. Only two more classes until school is over! Then only 14 days left in Germany.

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