Monday, June 12, 2017

A Very Warm Day in Vienna

No problems this morning checking out of our hotel or getting to the train station, nor any problems getting on the train or finding our seats.  The train was rather warm at first, but as it got moving it cooled down and we had a comfortable, although long, train ride to Vienna.  The only complaint: despite advertising free wifi, there was none that worked on the train.  Something to do with a dispute between the Czechs and the Austrians.
Four hours later we arrived in Vienna in time for lunch.  I managed to get all our metro passes without any difficulties and even managed to catch a glimpse of the president of Austria as he walked past us while we were having lunch in the station.
I’ve stayed at our hotel in Vienna many times.  I really like it because of its location, two blocks from the metro with a tram stop opposite the hotel.  The whole area (Neubau) is surrounded by popular and inexpensive places to eat and lots of small stores.   
The hotel is clean and has a nice breakfast buffet (or at least it did in the past).  The only problem:  no A/C.  Something that matters when the temperature hit 91 today and was rather muggy.  As I type this, at 10:30 pm, the temperature has fallen to 79.  At least I have a fan.

After we checked in, I took them down to St. Stephen’s Cathedral.    I think roughly half the students had been to Europe before, but for the rest, this was their first medieval cathedral.
From there we walked down the Graben and made our way to Judenplatz, the site of the medieval synagogue, where the Jews committed suicide in 1241, rather than be forcibly converted to Christianity.  Another 200 were burned at the stake.  When preparing the site for the Holocaust monument in 1995, they found the remains of the destroyed synagogue from 1241.

Walking in the heat and humidity was very taxing, so we stopped off at a grocery store to pick up water and fresh fruit.  They were just like the prepared fresh fruit slices you get in U.S. department stores, but these actually tasted like fresh fruit.

After getting the students back to the hotel, I headed off to the train station to pick up our over night train tickets for Thursday.  Then I checked out a cheap restaurant just a few doors away that was very well rated:  Schnitzelwirt.  It was very popular.

When the food arrived, I could see why:  good food, lots of it, rather cheap.  My schnitzel, cucumber salad, and half liter of beer came to just over 13 euros.
I really wasn’t hungry, but I wanted coffee and buchteln, so I headed to CafĂ© Hawelka near Stephansplatz.  I’ve had trouble with rude waiters here before, but everything went smoothly this time.
Buchteln are balls of sweet bread dough filled with prune lekvar, baked until they puff, and served hot with powdered sugar.  They’re delicious.
Now I really needed to walk.  I headed out to check out the hours of the Jewish Museum and from there made by way to the Hofburg.  There I saw the memorial to when the Jews of Vienna were forced to clean the city squares.
Nearby I heard music coming from the Staatsoper.  It turns out that they were simulcasting tonight’s performance of Tchaikovsky’s Swan Lake.
Tons of people were sitting on chairs or on the pavement to watch and listen to the ballet.  

 I think I managed to see most of Act III.  I left at the intermission.
Back at the hotel I did some laundry and turned on the fan.  Now, I think, a quick shower before bed.

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