Monday, June 28, 2010

Tired of Traveling

Don’t worry… we are definitely not tired of traveling! We’re actually trying not to think about the fact that we are down to the last 3 stops on our trip. The picture above is of a random tourist we happened upon outside of Schonbrunn Palace in Vienna. Hopefully she got a second wind later that day!

On Thursday, we spent our first full day in Vienna taking in the major city sites (Hofburg, Spanish Riding School, Museum Quarter, Opera House, etc.) and doing a little light shopping. In the early afternoon, we spent a little over an hour searching for the allusive “brat in a bun,” only to figure out that it was sold at a vendor stand that we had already passed 3 times. It was well worth the time and effort though! Here is a picture of Jonathan enjoying his “brat in a bun” and a beer in the historic city center of Vienna.

Thursday night, we had our second Asian meal in Vienna. We didn’t know Austrians loved Asian food so much! We also stopped by one of the famous cafes (Café Sacher) to sample their Sachertorte, one of the best desserts of the trip!

We spent most of Friday at the humungous Schonbrunn Palace. The palace is so large and includes so many different sites that it would be easy to spend more than one day there. Here is a picture of us with the palace garden and Gloriette in the background.

We limited our visit to a tour of the Imperial Rooms and later a stop at the garden maze/labyrinth. Heather scoffed a bit at the maze when we entered it, thinking it was going to be a breeze, but after repeatedly getting lost, she finally had to get out the maze map. Below is picture of her in front of one of the many dead ends we encountered. Unfortunately her map reading skills are not that great, so it still took us quite a bit of time to find the center of the maze and eventually get out!

On Friday night we found a local artsy neighborhood that was having a block party. It made us a little homesick because the neighborhood really reminded us of Decatur. At one of the local shops, the owner (who was actually from California) recommended a micro-brewery in the neighborhood for dinner. We decided to take his recommendation and were not disappointed! The 7 Stern Brau brewery had amazing beer and really good food! It is possible to get vegetarian dishes in Austria! We wanted to try more of their beers but had to quickly make our way across town to make it to a show at the Porgy & Bess Jazz Club. The club was awesome, and the band performing played really cool and interesting music (kind of a fusion of jazz and latin).

Yesterday we visited Naschmarkt, Vienna’s huge outdoor food market. It was a bit different from the markets we visited in other cities, and we were really surprised to find an entire row of Asian restaurants. Seriously, these people love their Asian food! After lunch at the market we took the train to visit an Austrian “Heuriger.” The Vienna area is known for these “wine-gardens” where you can sample the young wine served from the wine-growers own grapes. The place we visited (Zum Alter Pflug) probably would be really cool if more people would have been there and the servers were a little nicer. The setting was really cool, but boy was our server grumpy! Below is a picture of “Mr. Grouchy Pants.”

He even tried to stiff us on our wines, until we pointed out that we can read the difference between 1/8 a liter and 1/4 a liter of wine. Here is Heather giving the wine two thumbs down.

After the wine garden we headed back into the city to watch the USA vs. Ghana soccer game. We first tried a well known bar/restaurant, but after checking out place, decided (for the first time on our trip) to go back to 7 Stern Brau (the same restaurant we visited the night before). The food and beer were both delicious (once again), and the only bad part of the night was the USA losing the game.

Yesterday we took the train from Vienna to Prague, arriving late in the evening. You can expect Jonathan’s beer list to really grow in the Czech Republic! Hopefully not his waistline too!

Beer List:
• Gosser Marzen (an Austrian Marzen)
• 7 Stern Marzen (an Austrian Vienna Lager)
• 7 Stern Summer Bock (an Austrian Bock)
• 7 Stern Prager Dunkels (an Austrian Munich Dunkel Lager)

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