About 6am we woke to prepare for the trip to Vienna it would be a 7 hour trip and we would get in at around 5pm. We boarded our train and found ourselves between 2 older Australian couples who weren’t traveling together. Everyone was friendly and talkative. I learned more about Australian history and politics in those first few hours than I’d known before. It was an interesting dynamic. Across me on my left was Phil, the retired socialist oil man, and across me on my right was Mike, “the employer”, a businessman and conservative, but arguably more open than Phil on most topics.
They debated the use of Australia as a resource factory for other countries. Going on about how they had everything they needed to make whatever they needed but their country only bothered to export the raw materials to other countries for manufacturing.
Oh, and Phil wanted to nationalize McDonalds, but that was just that he could wipe its scourge from fair Australia’s landscape.
After about 3 hours Mike and his wife, who had a dutch name I cannot remember, exited the cabin to catch their next train to Salzburg. So Summer and I were left with Phil and his significant other who had finished their second bottle of wine and were soon to pick up a couple small bottles from the passing beverage cart. They were both very nice and funny but Phil got increasingly random as his buzz wore on. Every so often while talking about something fairly banal he would say “I hope you’re not poor, because we don’t care” which I found an interesting comment from a self-proclaimed socialist.
Luckily we were able to change the conversation frequently to the stunning Austrian landscape. Everything you’ve seen in movies is true. You picture someone running up a hill in a puffy dress singing and spinning. Heidi is now on my list of films to watch sometime, to see if the Aussies were correct in their repeated “Yep, this is Heidi country.”
We arrived and found our tram, our stop, and our hostel. We were getting much better at this. Our accommodation was a college dorm room and we were directly across from the University of Vienna. There was no elevator and four floors of very steep spiral stairs to get to our room, our shower was halfway down the hall and the toilet was a few doors down. Still, all things considered, it was a comfortable enough room.
We only really had one day in Vienna so we headed towards the Hapsburgs palace but didn’t go in. The Hapsburgs fortune is secure with what they were charging to look at their very valuable belongings. We ran into several classically clad gents outside the archway selling tickets to a concert that evening. Hearing Mozart in Vienna seemed like a must and I’m very happy we did it. Neither of us was dressed for a classical concert in one of the most famous venues for such a thing but we were assured it was a casual event. Undoubtedly catering to tourists like ourselves.
The concert was held in the Musikverein Golden Hall, considered to be one of the three finest concert halls in the world. Why? I’m not sure. It just is. The players were all dressed in classical knickers and powdered wigs. Well, maybe not actually powdered, but they were white. The first hour was dedicated to Mozart and several operatic arias and the second hour introduced another of Vienna’s favorite sons, namely Johann Strauss. It was a very nice night and would become a very long night.
Summer’s flight left at 7am and with a 40+ minute ride to the airport by cab we had to be up very early. So instead of turning in and getting some rest we went to a college pub nearby and decided to have some drinks and enjoy our time together until she had to leave. When I was younger I could stay up for days, 6 was my record, but that ability has faded with age. We both started out with the goal of staying up all night and failed. I decided to stand watch but still fell asleep for short periods of time always waking up with a jolt thrusting my watch into my fuzzy field of vision.
We made it with time to spare to the airport and had time to drink a ridiculously expensive cappuccino in the airport café before Summer needed to proceed through security and onto her plane. It was another hard goodbye-for-now, unsure when our next meet up on this adventure will be. Regardless it was fantastic to have her with me for as long as we could manage and I’m looking forward to the next time whenever that is, at home or overseas.
I stumbled off, needing a nap, to the train station to get my ticket for Budapest.