July 29-Aug 1
On Friday I had an open train ticket from Salzburg to Vienna, meaning I could leave whenever I wanted. I chose a 10:50 train that would get me into Vienna around 1:30. I got to the station a bit early and as I walked through the station all of a sudden as I approached an elderly couple the woman starts yelling(in german), grabbing her husbands arm and has a look of sheer panic on her face. I thought there was something behind me frightening her. Then suddenly her husband begins to fall, I dropped my bags and with the help of two other women we caught the husband and helped lay him down on the ground. Not knowing the language made it hard for me to understand her, luckily the others spoken German and one called their equivalent of 911. Some station security showed up and I moved away from the action, finally an ambulance showed up and they took him away. I have no idea what was wrong with the guy, hopefully everything turned out okay for him.
The train ride from Salzburg was just over two hours and upon arriving in Vienna I was easily able to figure out the subway system in order to get to my hotel. My hotel was about 100 yards from the Danube and barely a ten minute walk to historic sites. After checking in, I decided I would go to the Sigmund Freud museum at Bergasse 19. I have seen the A&E Freud Biography probably close to 40 times, not by choice, so I know his address and life history pretty well already but I still needed to visit the museum. It was about a 25 minute walk to get there and once there I walked up the stairs to the museum only to face a sign that said “temporarily closed”…then I read the rest of the sign, “due to overcrowding”. So as people left other people were allowed to enter. I think I had to wait about ten minutes. In those ten minutes I witnessed a guy from NY ask everyone waiting where they were from, the couple next to me told him Toulouse, France. He then said, because he didn’t understand their accent, “oh, you’re jews from France”. Fortunately, I don’t think the couple completely understood what he said and I clarified for him what they said. Shortly after that we were allowed to enter the museum. It was so small buy then again it was in the apartment where he lived in worked. The entry and waiting room for his office were similarly set up from when he lived there, but his office was more museum like and the famous couch was not there(I think it is in a museum in London, where he and some of his family moved to escape the Nazis). It was pretty cool to think I was walking around his office and apartment where some of the most famous and maybe controversial psychology work was done. Historically, I like Freud, psychologically I think his work is a bit wacko! After my visit there I walked back towards my hotel stopping in a church and a few shops along the way.
Saturday was hot, in the low 90s, so I started my day by walking around some of the old historic city center. Then I went to the old library, which was absolutely amazing. It was books upon books, two floors with shelves of old books and ladders to get to the books. There were some old globes and an exhibit on one of the kings(I wasn’t there for that, it took away from the experience because it was in front of some of the books). This sounds so nerdy, I am sure, but really it was beautiful room. From there I walked to the art museum and bought a ticket to walk around there. It was was pretty big, not Louvre big, but still big. They had art from Egypt through the early 1800s. They had a few paintings by artists I really like, the had a handful of Bruegel’s and even had a Vermeer(I love Vermeer)! I spent a couple of hours there before walking around the city some more. One thing they have in the city is places to fill your water bottle with cold water, not your basic water bubbler, but nice clean booth like stand that has a bubbler on each side. It was great to see that since it was so hot.
Sunday, again it was hot, hi 90s. So I thought I would be a little lazy and buy a subway ticket for the day and use the subways and trolleys to get around. Turns out I still walked 7 miles even using the subway! First, I went to Praetor, which is a park and amusement park on the opposite side of the Danube from the old city. Here they have a old fashion ferris wheel, I really just wanted to see it because it was suppose to be pretty cool. I got there and quickly bought a ticket to go on it….then I thought to myself, “what did you just do? You hate heights and rides like this, you must be crazy”. This is the same thing that I did when I was in London and bought a ticket for the London Eye. I got into a car, they kind of looked like old, small trolley cars, with six strangers. I was okay for the first few minutes but the higher we went the more nervous I got, my hands and feet were sweating! As we neared the top the car was creaking and I was trying so hard to look like I was enjoying it, I took some pictures but when everyone was on one side of the car it would tilt and I wanted out! After about 20 minutes it was over and I survived! Part of the reason I wanted to see and ride it was because I recently finished the book Devil in the White City about the worlds fair in Chicago and there was detailed information of the first ferris wheel built there and this one in Vienna was similar to the description they gave in the book, so I figured this might be my only chance to ride something similar to the one built in the 1890s. After that I walked around the amusement park, think old time Salem Willows on a much grander scale. Lots of old time kids rides and also many new modern ones as well. It was fun just walking around and I had no desire to go on any other rides. From there I took the subway back to the old city and went to see the architecture of the city hall and walked through the park there. While walking through the park there they had food booths and beer, so later in the day I went back and had dinner and a couple of drinks. Then I got on a trolley and went to the Belvedere Palace. It was a good thing I bought the subway pass because every where I wanted to go was pretty spaced out. The Belvedere is a former palace and has beautiful gardens and an art museum. This museum has art from the Middle Ages through early 20th century. The reason most go is to see the Klimt pieces. They have his famous piece “the kiss” as well as a handful of others. The cool thing about this museum is that it was like a 2 for 1 deal, pay to see the art but the building itself was really amazing and in most rooms they had a sign telling you what the room was orginally used for. After a couple hours there I stopped at a fountain in a park where lots of people were sitting and putting their feet in to cool off, so I did the same thing…it actually cooled me down. I think I said this before but the sun seems much stronger and hotter here than it does at home, so not only was it hot but the sun just makes it way worse. Following a rest at the fountain, I went back and to the park by city hall and had some dinner.
That pretty much wraps up my visit to Vienna. I think Vienna and Salzburg were probably two of my favorite places I visited on this trip. Something about Vienna I really liked, of course it was one of the most expensive places I visited as well!