Austria


Pretty Buildings - 11/11


Vienna is famed for its grand palaces, as well as other things such as coffee, Mozart and Turner Prize-worth cakes, but I think many of the other regular buildings in the city deserve more credit. If you compare the apartments in the city to those say in Glasgow, there is no comparison! It may be just the exterior but it blows me away every-time I come here, and I have been here about seven or eight times now(I've lost count). Each block of apartments look like palaces in themselves, not just the ones in the city centre either; it is common throughout the city. I keep saying to myself that if I find myself living here I will just wander around drawing every single building, they are just gorgeous.
A stunning example

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Desination Vienna
March 2010

Tag Eins - Ankunft in Wien


To add an extra element of adventure into my trip I thought I would take a wee gander( short walk) into the city of Amsterdam. Now well before I had set foot off the plane I had decided to go on a quest to get some real authentic Dutch tijgerbrood, after it has become such a hit in the UK. I thought a good place to go would be the well known Albert Cuypt Markt, so I hoped onboard tram 16 and managed to hitch a free ride.

I walked all the way down this rather long market in the vain hope there would be some kind of bakery stall. None.

There was no way I was leaving Holland without getting some of my favourite bread! So instead of getting the train I decided to walk back and intricately searched the streets for a bakery. Eventually I found one and ordered two rolls. I remembered why the Dutch are the a group of the nicest people in Europe, at least, it's in the simple things they do like in shop for examples. Instead of the plain old monotonous"Okay" as in Britain they reply with "it's a pleasure" and "of course I can, " with what seemed like a genuine smile on their faces. It was a nice simple touch that goes along way with me.
That's what success tastes like!

 I headed back to Dam where the noticeable stench of Marijauna and stag do's filled the air. It was weird, most people I walked past seemed to be English or American, but I suppose the centres of most cities are filled with tourists not matter where you go. After a good old wander about in awe of the houses, canals and bread I headed back to central station to get back to Schipol for my flight at six. The best thing about growing up on an island is that when you leave everything becomes exciting, for example sitting on the top of a double decker intercity trains was like going to the moon.

The flight to Vienna was smooth and I just read my book for most of it but again  I was surrounded by British people, the two stewards were properly english and it seemed like they couldn't speak a word of German or Dutch, there is hope for me getting my childhood dream job  in KLM yet! It was only when they dimmed the lights for landing and I could see out my window did I begin to get a smile on my face that wasn't going to be rubbed off easily. The view out the window was something else, the city was lit up and so miniture that the moon looked like a giant car headlight. My camera was pretty shoddy at capturing it unfortunately. As soon as the steward said "Welcome to Vienna" ( even if in a in a midlands accent) I got ridiculously excited, I was here again.

 My bag was even pretty much first off the belt and so I was out pretty early. I scanned the arrivals hall and Aunt Var and Aviott were nowhere to be seen and I thought, oh god, she has actually done it. Aunt Var is going to make me order my own taxi and get there myself. I scanned all the men with signs looking for a bizarrely spelt version of my own name. But there was none. I waited a bit longer, just incase they came. And they did, sorry for the anticlimax there guys.

The rest of the night is kinda predictable, catch up with the cousins, watch Venus Willams play tennis is a ridiculous dress and commenting on the players legs. You know, the norm.

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Tag Zwei - Vienna International School

So you know how holidays are meant to be time spent away from school? Well not in my books! I spend most of my time in Vienna International School doing a variety of strange things. My day technically started at 4am when I got up, turned on my light and thought it was a school day and had to go to school, in Vienna. A kind of semi-conscious sleepwalk. Anyway, I got up a few hours later when I attempted to have a shower. Their shower is, well, broken and to actually have a shower you have to sit in the bath and have one, its an odd sensation anyway. However, all I did was touch the shower and BANG everything fell down and I had broken the shower, two years ago it was the tap during our Easter water fight and now it was the shower. Thankfully it was easy to fix and happens all the time. Well there was the ridiculously long and pointless low-down on the shower.

Eventually, Esti got in-gear to head out and go outside for her first time in the daytime since Friday... Apparently the rest of the household wasn't as keen for us topping up on vitamin D as they had locked us in and hadn't left us a key. Cue a manic search for keys in coat pockets and in every drawer in the house. Thankfully someone else agreed that I need some vitamin D and we got a key and went on our way, to where though, we weren't sure. It is now when we ended up at school, we seemed to have timed our trip to be during lunch break and so we met Aunt Var for lunch and chilled at what is known as the ampitheatre in the sun for lunch. Then in some moment of insanity I suggested we help her in the Drama department. Then we were handed two boxes of textbooks and scripts to organise. Bad choice Rose. Soon after wards we escaped to the DZ but were just not in a shopping mood. It was bizarre, we tired but we just werent feeling it. The plan was to meet Alex at the school since she was helping to set up Bingo, which Esti had suggested we go to. The prizers were bangin' THE FLYER WAS AN IPOD TOUCH! :O Next we had to find Maria so we at least had one person with us who actually still went to the school but she is a pretty hard lady to find. We managed to convince her to abort homework plans and come and play bingo, if we went to the DZ first for a frappichino . Sounds like a fair deal.
Buzzin' for bingo!



We went for the full nine games but our bingo cards dwindled quickly as Andreas and Filip had obviously realised bingo was the place to be joined us so we spread the fun around. We had our eyes on the basket of baking mixes since every year when I come we have a bake-a-thon of at least seven cakes but as soon as some little kid won this, all enthusiasm was lost. It took a while for Maria to get into Bingo, probably becuase we were the oldest people there, and I know to you britons out there are thinking "WHAT? YOU WERE THE OLDEST? ARE YOU SURE THAT WAS BINGO?" Yes we were. It seems that little kids love bingo here and its also really loud there is no silence and so hearing a bingo call was ridiculously hard. But I think I prefered it this way, there was more time for mid-game banter.

 By the final round for the ipod touch we all had at least 3 tickets and the hall was actually silent and by the end each of us were SO CLOSE. Then some little kid had to ruin our fun and win. LAME.

Back home Esti tried to convince me to go to Flanaghans (Irish Pub), which I eventually agreed to do just to stop the moaning but we came back immediately since Man U vs Bayern Munich was on and it was packed. Well as we said it, was a nice walk and saved our lungs and livers as well as saving our clothes from another wash. So overall, a success.

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Tag Drei - Baking


Orkney had arrived in Vienna in all it's glory; wind and rain, the lot. Esti and I had to try and decide what to do, and I thought shops are indoors and I need some new trainers. Bad plan. Turns out I am quite picky when it comes to trainers. So dampened spirts and dampened soles we headed back to the house with the plan to make Stuart a birthday cake, a rainbow cake. Unfortunately its hard to find food colouring in Austria and we thought the dye used to dye eggs at Easter would do the same job. Not quite since you have to add vinegar, even though I did said lemon juice was a suitible, tastier, alternative, it is actually inedible.

Back home we were greeted by friends of the family and their young, very brave little boy. Esti and I had to keep and eye on him as he pulled a ladder into the living room and dangled of it. Turns out he is pretty good at it and had a lot of natural instinct so his parents weren't too worried. It was a refreshing change to paranoid British parents.

We waited for Maria to get home before making the cake since she had a clearer know-how. In the end though Esti piled in the ingredients to make a mass of curdling slop. While it "cooked" Esti dyed some eggs so the dye didn't go to waste. In the end it was a classic Macinnes flat cake with some odd sprinkles in it turning it skin colour... We poured the melted chocolate on, not really noticing how much was going on, and then esti worked her magic with the rainbow sprinkles.



We got ready and headed out to Flanaghans but it was packed out as their was a football match on and so we passed the message on and the group had a change of plans and went to Crossfields, an Australian bar (it appears genuine Austrian bars aren't popular with this lot, to be fair they are all from an international school). The reaction to the birthday cake was not unanimously warming and this left Esti less than cheerful...

In the end we headed back with Alex as she was leaving for Limerick in the morning. We headed back to the apartment and were going to have a chat and watch a film, but that didn't really happen, instead we just conked out in bed. How exciting are we!

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Dag Vier - Osternmarkt


Today there was no plan whatsoever and it took us a long time to get on our feet. Eventually Maria and I decided to just go a wander and I tried to convince her that we don't need a plan to do that. It was a nice day so there was no reason not to just go a walk. We hoped on the U-bahn, not actually knowing where we wanted to get off at but decided Stephansplatz was a good starting point. From there we headed through streets and into quiet little backstreets and always ended up going in some sort of circle which was helpful. Maria managed to go places she had never been which is always a bonus! We ended up wandering down to Schwedenplatz and buying ice creams and sitting on a wall in the sun for ages talking about school and life and all that jazz. One highlight was a woman coming up and handing us roses each, asking for money, taking all my change, asking for her rose back and leaving. It was bizarre, if a great money making scheme.

We then headed up some more new nice old looking streets and ended up going past the Holocaust memorial which I had read about in Higher Art when I had studied Rachael Whiteread and so understood the concept and explained it too Maria (she seemed interested at the time!). We were then more serendipidous as we stumbled across three sets of Ostern Markts and one had freshly baked cheese bread which was gorgeous! Following our feet took us landed us outside the Universitat and the ringstrasse and we didn't really know which way to get home but we were pretty sure it wasn't in the direction of the Rathaus, so we headed in the opposite direction. Now here is where we play the role of stupid tourists: We saw a cathedral and it looked like stephansdom, so therefore, we thought, it must be Stephansdom. Nah it wasn't as we walked all the way round it thinking " Woah its so quiet compared to the otherside!" Only to realise that there was no other side. After that epic fail we decided we better just give up and go on the U-bahn and get home.


That night we went to see "The Blind Side" and it was really good, the right mixture of happy bits and sad bits and we were all surprised to see it was a true story!

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Tag Funf - Kahlenburg


Today we did something new, we went a bit outside of vienna called Kahlenburg which is the hill behind vienna which offers a view of the city and some fresh air. A you drive up past some very posh houses you get to a small place Baumkreis am Himmel with as it sounds has a ring of trees which represented a time of year. My birthday was conveyed by the Esche (aka Ash)  and Baum. We wandered into a nearby forest after investigating each tree in the circle, I see a theme coming on here. The woods were exciting for me, as is everything, since we don't really have them in Orkney, it's far too windy.

We headed further up the hill to Kahlenburg to the Polish church which was nice to wonder in and always healthy for the architect in me. Then came the piece de resistance, the view itself. It was bizarre seeing the full thing in full daylight since I had only seen it from a plane, or from a ride at the Prater, at night. It was stunning anyway not easily described anyway. A topfenstrudel und Vanillensauce was in order along with the panoramic view and the sun. It was lovely.





For some reason Esti trusts me a lot and asked me to cut her hair. Fair enough I do mine myself all the time and I think it turns out alright... But I have never done it on another person but it shouldn't be that different right? Well it wasn't really, the bad thing was; Esti asked me to dye her hair too. Now he handed me a kit of Blond hair dye so I don't really know what she was expecting... It went a bit lighter. Well quite a bit lighter but it looked really nice but she HATED IT! No matter how much Maria and I tried to convince her she would not have any of it. Thankfully she was still planning to go outside with it and out to Dickmacks later on. Thats not the end of the hairdressing though. I thought "Hmm my hair's feeling a bit stragley, maybe i should cut it too. Shame Mum's not here to do the back of it in a straight line. Oh I'll just get Esti to do this." BIG MISTAKE! I forget that mum knows how much I usually like to chop off. Esti does not. Mum knows its one inch Esti thinks its 5 inches. Initially I was properly devesated because my hair has not been short since I was about 5 years old. However in hindsight it did cut off all the straggley bits and is in much better condition plus it gets very curly. So in a way I thank you Esti, even though I have realised there is a massive chunk longer than the rest that I have only noticed now.
My "trim"

Esti's lighter hair

Tonight it was Katie's birthday and leaving party at Dick's and all the usual suspects there and all the usual things happened really. Had kopparberg, got happy, esti and Owen did their thing, spoke to strangers, chatted up by Asian men and listened to live acoustic music. Fun times had by all. We even got a free lift home from Stuart. Success for all of us I think.

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Tag Sechs - Melk

Esti was a little bit worse for wear this morning, especially as we had a wake up call of 8am as today we were heading west out of Vienna to a small town called Melk which was home to a spectacular Abbey where the film "The Name of The Rose" was filmed. The journey there was spent sleeping or listening to Maria and Meg's delightful singing. Upon arrival there were several fancy building to treat the eyes but one turned out to be colossally more fancy than the others as it's "Schonbrunn yellow" walls stetched for miles(ironically schonbrunn means nice brown...).
Melk Abbey is hard to miss wherever you are in Melk



They knew how to do "pocketsize" back then...
 We went a walk through some gardens and into a courtyard and then caught up with the official English tour and sneaked along. It began with museums of artifacts from the earlier days of the abbey, favourites being the shin bone chalice and tiny travel prayer book, and then there were the grand rooms with illusions painted on to the ceiling and gold plated window sills. Between the  famous library and another fancy room was a balcony which had a magnificent view of mountains to the left and small towns and villages sprawlling along to the right. The several photos I took of the same view shows what I thought of it. Following the balcony was the "piece de resistance" according to my Auntie and it was the library and it did live up to her expectations as it was very grand and massive in all forms. However the staircase the followed infatuated me more and then there was the church itself and those who know me know I am not a religious person and being in churches always makes me feel weird. It still was but I appreciated the stunning architecture at least, even if I didn't see the light this time.
Example of the 3D roof painting 

The World Famous library

Sneaked a photo of the Chapel, was most definitely not allowed...

Being a tourist...

View down to Melk from the Balcony

Esti couldn't skip through the gift shop at a faster speed as her bladder and stomach took the reigns.  Melk looked much like the Austrian version of Stromness, that is; designed for tourists and roads not suitied for cars the main difference was the sunshine. We found a nice little Gasthaus which had a small courtyard which cancelled out the hustle and bustle and concentrated the heat of the midday sun, onto our heads. I chose the sunniest seat in the place in an attempt to recharge the vitamin D but this almost landed me with some sunstroke so the hoodie had to stay on...

Classic Wienerschitzel

The food was brilliant, another example of how basic Austrian food is at the same level as five star restaurant food in Britain! I have been craving that cream of pepper soup ever since I had it. After being suitably stuffed to the brim we headed back to the car. Again the trip home was accompanied by Meg and Maria's beautiful singing but it was interrupted by some stops at more tourists towns en-route to home. It was nice staying awake on the way back as the scenery was lovely and spotting the many castles on the hilltops was a great workout for the camera. Turns out I was the only one who could stay awake this time as Esti, Maria and Meg had all konked out, in a variety of positions which I found hilarious due to my sleep deprived state. Esti's constant battle with her elbow and her armrest as it kept slipping was definately side splitter.

Back in the apartment, the rest of the sleepy heads were up for a quiet night in whereas I had had a sudden burst of energy. As my name suggests, I am a bit like a plant and intially the sun drains me out but then gives me a burst of energy. I decided to wander around Schwedenplatz myself just looking in all the touristy shops to get gifts since the shops will soon be shut for Easter. I forgot that Vienna is quite a classy place and I forgot, unlike Orkney, that wandering around in a hoody and trackies isn't that normal. Well or so it seemed to me. In classic Family holidays style, we had an epic monopoly  game, unfortunately Esti won.

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Tag Sieben - Illmitz


Today, Easter Sunday, provided us with a leisurely breakfast, however discussed politics but here that is still leisurely because some Austrian residents don't actually know the current president, which I like. We continued the relaxed state of affairs and went on a walk around the Belvedere botanical gardens in the sun. It was busy for easter Sunday considering Austria is primarily a catholic country, but we soon realised most of them were tourists who couldn't interpret the "keep off the grass signs."

At one o' clock it was a mad rush to get Esti and Maria on the half one train to Warsaw to see their Dad. Esti got fooled by a vending machine by spending €2 on a bottle of water which can't have been more the 500ml so Esti and Maria ran to a shop for their train snacks. Just as they were out of sight of the platform the train rolled into the station but it was early so they had a good ten minutes before the train left. However we still felt the need to chase after them in panic. Aunt Var and I secured a compartment for them which was unreserved and then flung their bags on before flinging the two girls on. We were early so there was some awkward standing around until the train left and when it did it was so bizarre to be seeing them off from Vienna, rather than the otherway around.

So back to an Esti and Maria-less apartment, the silence was bizarre. Meg was well and truely into her homework and I thought I woulf follow suit. Aunt Var had me thinking of more interesting things as we tried to decide what to do with ourselves for the next two days before I left on Tuesday.

After investigation the Semmering Railway opening time and realising that its not open until May we decided a road trip. The plan was to drive east out of Vienna to drive around the eastern side of the Neuseidlersee, which is also known as the Viennese Sea since they don't have the real thing. Most of the lake lies in Austria but a small section lies in Hungary and so we thought a good idea would be to go all the way around it and stop off at Sopron in Hungary so I could tick another country off my list. Before we left Aviott helped us find and book a room in a Gasthaus in a little town before the Hungarian/Austrian boarder called Illmitz. Before we knew it we had packed out overnight bags and in the car on our way with Frieda the SatNav looking after us.

This was very exciting for me as there is no way you can do this in Orkney. You have to get on a boat or pay for a ridiculously expensive flight to get off Orkney only to get onto another island and pay for another boat trip or ridiculously expensive flight out of the UK. However, in Austria you can get in the car and an hour later you could be anywhere from Slovakia, Hungary or the Czech Republic; give it a few hours and your horizons will be really broad!

Podersdorf am See
 As we drove east I was shown Pandorf which is basically a village of designer shops and actually looks like a quaint little village and the stuff is usually at a discounted rate, a giant TKMaxx per se? Soon the Autobahn began to separate out into smaller roads as we drove along the lake. It was bizarre as there were hundereds of vineyards and being as ignorant as I am I had not considered that wine could be grown in Europe outside Italy and Spain.. The countryside was atypical of Austrian scenery as I thought we could be in Holland by how flat it was, but you could see tell-tale mountains in the distance. To get right on the side of the lake we stopped off at Podersdorf am See which often holds wind surfing championships and is usually filled with tourists. However on this blustery April evening it was quiet, in fact the wind and sea was much like home but it was strange not to have the usual smell of the sea from the salt and sea weed considering that the only expanses of water I have seen this big before as been the sea (there I go playing the sheltered island life card again...). Aunt var and I walked down the pier and sat by the lighthouse and appreciated the view, and the show of a kitesurfer attempting to lift is kite out of the water in mild winds.

Our complimentary wine from the Weingut
Back on the road again it was not long until we arrived in Illmitz, but it was a long time before we found the entrance to our Gasthaus. Mainly because it was being renovated and so everything was all over the place. We were greeted by one of these hearty women who are needed to run a Gasthaus. Her German was really easy to understand and I even understood most of it which I liked. She then whisked us up to our room but we were then told the heating didn't work so we had to be moved, but we were offered a free glass of wine in the bar while we waited. The wine was actually the first red wine I have enjoyed drinking, I should have got a bottle since I could legally buy it here! The bar was full of drunk men and it didn't take us long to realise they were on a stag do and we were the only women in the room. I was just hoping they didn't think we were hired or something...

Wine fit for a champion!



Once we had settled into our second room we decided to have a walk around Illmitz since it was such a nice night. We discoved Illmitz is home to a wine world champion but unfortunately it didn't look like anyone was in, I had never heard of a Weingut before but I think I will be a fan its nice being offered lots of free glasses of wine followed by nice company and a comfortable sleep. We headed out the edge of town and walked along a vineyard to a small lake in search of storks. However we came across something more exciting, deer. At first they were on the lake and then sprinted to the other side but we found ourselves ridiculously close to another group of deer before they noticed us and sprinted to the other side of the lake. The sunset, mountains, lake and deer provided some very lovely photos and soon our stomachs got the better of us and we headed back to our gasthaus for some tea. With all of the food I have had here I was not disappointed. I had some wonderful soup and my third schnizel in about three days followed by a pancake with vanilla ice cream and the most amazing chocolate and hazelnut sauce which was just the perfect size. All I can say is that the UK has a lot to live up to when I go home!With our stomachs satisfied and aunty to neice bond suitibly rekindled we headed back up to our room for bed. I was pleased to see Wunderschon, a programme I used to watch in German for practice, was actually on but I still had no idea where they were or what they were doing.
Austrian Vineyards


Austrian Hospitality is unbelievably good...



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 Tag Acht - Conquering New Lands


Our breakfast was buffet, my favourite kind of breakfast (and buffet in fact) and so I had all the different types of bread as well as some nesquick to feel at home. Before we knew it we were checking out of our hotel, I think we felt we had grown to love this hearty woman and the owner spoke to us in German, although he knew we were english speakers, which I loved. I would highly recomment Hotel Post in Illmitz and I hope to return one day!

 Once out of our homely Hotel Post, the heavens opened and it was blowing a gale. Hopefully it will clear up before the border. We followed the signs with the H for Hungary and after more vineyards and boarder towns with ambiguous road signs, we reached the boarder which was derelict. There wasn't even anybody to ask for a stamp.  We hoped out of the car just before we crossed for a typically touristy photo and then we were through.


It was bizarre how instantly obvious it was we were in a different country, the infastructure just wasn't the same as Austria, the main roads were full of pot holes and the houses seemed more run down, however this just added to its charm in my eyes. I was glad not to see the same thing, I wanted there to be a difference in the two countries. After some mistakes from Frieda we eventually found our way to Sopron which on the outskirts was like any other city with an industrial estate and Tesco (strangely Tescos are found in Hungary but nowhere to be seen in Austria, yet.) but near the centre it became more and more like a picturesque old town. After a short walk around to find a ATM we became baffled by the hungarian currency, since we weren't too sure how much 1000 forint was, as in could we get coffee and cake with this? So we took out 5000, turns out it is about €20 so we could definately get one. As a note for next time we will look up the currencies before we leave, but sometimes there is not time when you are on a spontaneous whim?

As we wandered along looking for a café we walked past a famous casino in Sopron where all the rich Viennese gentry gamble away their money. The weather was a bit too much for us after these weeks of sunshine and so we seeked shelter in a cafe which was like a smaller version of all the viennese cafes but it had just a little bit more charm if you looked closer. The cakes looked pretty impressive too.


Sopron Café culture is just as good as Vienna's!
Since it was Easter Monday and we were still in the Catholic centre of Europe outside the Vatican Sopron was pretty quiet so after a complete our circuit of central Sopron we headed back to the car. On the way out we tried old school navigation by using a map and road signs while Frieda warmed up. We failed miserably at this as we drove towards marshland but with the autobahn ahead, in the distance. Frieda got us back on the road again and northbound back into Austria, again nobody was guarding the boarder, but my phone said "Viszontlátásra" to T-mobile H and "Guten Tag" to T-mobile A.  To complete our circle of Neuseidler See we headed along the west coast and stopped off at the small town of Rust which is re-known for its stork population: we saw about 6 nests in a row of chimneys all filled with Storks. Aunt Var showed me one of her rundown buildings she is planning on turning into a restaurant, with the way they are going they will have a chain of restaurants from renovated ruins! It would make very good food though! She then showed me the town square and the basket shop she had visited before, but this time she had no excuse not to buy a basket or two.

My Aunt's future restaurant, which I will probably work in!
Back in the apartment it was very quiet as now Meg had gone away too it was just the three of us(and the cats). It then dawned on me that I will probably have to pack. I did this after I had uploaded all my photos from our little adventure and finished telling everyone about it. It didn't feel like my last night in Vienna at all, I always feel so at home here I never want to leave.



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Oh Vienna! 
April 2008
TUESDAY 1ST APRlL


The plane to Amsterdam was delayed before l had even checked in ,naturally the one time I have a tight connection in Schipol. However the air hostess on the plane was nice and reassured my 16 year old self my flight wouldn't leave witout me and told me exactly where to go once i got off the plane. 

However, no eith no amount of reassurance and guidance I still got a bit confused in schipol, the bus dropped us off at the D gates and I ended up in through the passport control to  the arrivals hall and I  said hello to Holland before coming straight back in again. After asking at an information desk and rushing through security, twice, I got to my gate just as the plane was boarding. Thankfully there was still a queue, for once airport security has saved me from missing a plane.

 The food on the flight was better than expected and I was used to; I got veal sandwich in some really brown, brown bread and cheese and pesto sandwiches. Unfortunately KLM were let down on the beverage front as the coffee was foul. Either the sugar did not work or somehow the powdered milk had gone sour. But hey, you can't get everything and the left over biscuit in my teeth helped sweeten things.

I did a lot of thinking on the plane. Aviation amazes me; how they manage to get something that big to fly, yet fail to allow a human being to fly unaided I shall never understand. Maybe one day I can be a pilot and then it'll be second nature.

I arrive in Vienna at 8pm and I was dreading to think that Aunt Var had done the expected and left me to get a taxi by myself. Thankfully she always does the unexpected, and she was there with Esti and Maria. lt was strange to be back and it was gonna be different(in a good way) now that mum was not with me, especially as Esti informed me that l was going to experience the Viennese night life. . .

WEDNESDAY 2ND APRlL


I woke up on my first day in Austria and appeared to have the apartment to myself. So I had a shower and turned on the TV(reasonably loud) and went on with the morning duties. While happily watching Scrubs in German Esti emerged. There was a mutual state of confusion between us as we both thought she was at school. By now there wasn't really any point in her going to school for the ten minutes that were left of her English class. With our free day we went down to the Spar and bought some baking goods. Lets say our attempt at making cakes turned out to be more like biscuits. However our pancakes were works of art. These baking sessions were to become somewhat of a tradition.



On our way back from the Spar we went into Tabak and bought a scratch card. This was my first expierence with a scratch card and it was to be a (reasonably)good one as we got the €2 we paid, back!


During our trip to the Columbus Centre and many junk shops, Esti thought that she had a doctors appointment but just as she was ready to leave she asks me;
 "Rose, it is the 3rd right?" 

That evening we went to see "Afrika, Afrika" which an African circus. On our way there we walked through the Prater, which is a park in Vienna which has a fairground within it, and  was shown the Republic of Kugelmugel. This was a ball shaped house surrounded by a barbed wire fence home to  Edwin Lipburger and  390 other citizens apparently. LipBurger had a dispute with the Austrian goverment, so he declared independence in 1984 creating the micronation.

Kugelmugel (Meaning Circle-Bump)

Junk chandeliers


All aspects of "Afrika Afrika" were unbelievable: the tent it was in with it's chandeliers made from junk and the amazing preformers. There were these people who climbed on each others shoulders creating a human pillar in every corner and they leaned in and everyone in the audience thought they were falling by mistake but they fell into a neatly choreographed somersault. There were also some very talented tap dancers and two gymnasts that can't have been older than me. My favourite person was the guy who had a giant pet tortoise. At the end of the night everyone was given free liqueur.

 
The rest of the evening was spent in Esti's bed reading her msn conversations and unconvincingly pretending to be her online. However, I was convinced I would go to school tomorrow....


THURSDAY 3RD APRlL


Today l got up reasonably early as I was gonna head into school at 10 with Esti (it sounds so weird saying that in the holidays) and so I thought l would don' some reasonably nice clothes. This was a bad choice. l had a less graceful Marilyn Monroe moment on the escalator down to the U-Bahn (the Viennese Tube) Getting past "security" into the school was easy, being a teenager, and I briefly met some of Esti and Maria's friends, a few of which I remembered from last time. Afterwards my aunt had two free periods so she gave me a brief tour and I was introduced to most of the staff members and I felt like a new pupil. Comparing some of the techers to those back home, I can't quite imagine my head teacher quoting "mean girls" when being introduced to, as well as swearing casually. All of these being good things.


Before lunch Aunt Var had a grade 10 drama class and they were the equivalent of 4th year in Scotland, so they were the same age as me. I sat there revising music concepts until they asked my opinion on whether there play should have Michael Jackson as a character or Cinderella. Standard drama class.

After lunch Esti did actually have her doctors appointment and we got there especially early, though there was a delay as I was mesmerized by the lift, a classic example of Vienna where even the boring things like lifts in hospitals are beautiful. We ended up sitting in the doctors waiting room for just over an hour before Esti got in, and she was only in there for about fifteen minutes, turns out long waits in doctors surgeries is universal.


Afterwards we went for a food shop as there only seemed to be rice in the house. We couldn't resist going into "Tabak" and getting our scratch card again. However, this time it was a different man and with him he had a different vibe as we did not win our 2€ back. lt was late night shopping that night in Vienna so Esti and I went to Stephansplatz(Vienna's Buchanan Street) 
and visited what must have been 4 or 5 H&M's, yet it was an unsuccessful shop as we bought NOTHlNG! 

When Maria had returned from running we used her culinary skills to help us make a cake, after Esti and I's disastrous attempts yesterday. Maria's help was defiantly needed as the cake actually worked despite my thoughts on that 6 eggs was rather extreme. When we took it out of the oven and saw that is had actually risen and was spongy, all seemed good. Though, of course,  the best part was yet to come: Decoration. This included some of Maria's butter icing, Nutella, Hundreds and thousands and some Schoko-Flocken. The finishing touch was the sugar animals on top. lt was quite something, didn't taste that bad either. 
It wasn't just us who suffered in the food fight!

However, between the stages of taking it out of the oven and taking pictures of the final piece there was a (minor) food fight. To be honest l can't quite recall how it started but somehow we all managed to be covered in nutella by the end of it. Some of us had just had a shower and others had expensive jewellery on. l do know that Esti was the first to get nutella on me. So l smeared a message on her mirror. . . 


FRlDAY 4TH APRlL


Today was my first touristy day as Maria and I were heading off to the Schonbrunn and I had to get postcards. Maria is known to like her sleep and she proved this today by not waking up until twelve. However l did not mind as I had a whole season of "House" to watch, though I only got through four episodes before she arose. Once awake she did get ready rather quickly and so we headed to the very touristy area of Stephansplatz to get my 18 postcards. I did not want to/could not get 18 postcards in one shop so l had to trail through endless "Mostly Mozart" shops to find the perfect ones. Anyone who knows me knows that I take postcards very seriously. We met my Aunt Mhiari at the Zoo after we had walked through the gardens for a bit and tried some wildlife photography by chasing some squirrels. Vienna Zoo is one of the mot beautiful I have seen, which to be fair is only out of three but when the zoo is in the gardens of a palace it is going to be beautiful.


 That evening Maria and l made tea as Esti was heading out and we thought we would give the adults a rest. The one thing I can make that is edible is Lasagne, so thats what we made and I finished that day how I started it, by watching some more House.

SATURDAY 5TH APRlL


Today was our designated shopping day and Esti was determined to have and early start, though Maria, Meg and I were not so enthusiastic about this. . . 


We caught the 13A bus and got to Mariahilferstraße and to start with, Esti had a failed attempt at finding a dress for her Graduation ball. Natuarlly our first stop was H&M and we met Alex (Esti's best friend) in there. After about an hour in H&M we headed along the street, ate at Mr. Lee's ( a sushi bar, not that I am particularly fond of sushi but I gave it a try!) and went in some dodgy alley way market. Before saw it, we heard a protest but when we saw it was merely two people and soon enough they were drowned out by an oncoming protest that had at least 298 more people than them. After a long walk up and down the one street (we didn't even reach the end) it was time to head home as today was the day I was to be shown what Vienna has to offer at night.

After our tiring, yet unsuccessful, day at the shops we were beginning to doubt our energy levels. However Ana (another of Esti's friends) phoned and we were spurred on to get out on the town. Yet we didn't leave until nine that night. We caught the U-bahn to Stephansplatz and we went to Rupert's house (yeah you get the gist). I was told his place was rather nice which you would expect from a penthouse apartment in the 1st district of the city. They were far from wrong. Highlights of the apartment included the 128 year old rocking horse, the bidet and the electric grand piano. Esti, Ana, Rupert and I all stayed until Stuart arrived (we were all going out to celebrate his birthday so it owuld be rude not too).

 Once Stuart arrived and received his pina colada in a bag we headed out to Waxys. Being the "baby" of the group I had Alex's ID as she looked, a bit like me as in we had the same hair colour. l memorised "my" address and birthday but that was not needed as a check of the same hair colour was all they needed! Wayhay! We met Will there(it was actually his 19th Birthday) but we didn't stay long as it was so crowded and there were creepy Austrian guys coming onto Ana. We headed along to ,as it is known, 'Dicks.(short for Dickmacks)' lt was pretty crowded upstairs but we got a whole room to ourselves downstairs, with a pool table :) . 

After a few perrys and orgasms, the cocktail, we looked up and our room was filling up. Fast. Though some of us couldn't even see very clearly by this point anyway. Ana, Rupert and I made a nest for ourselves in an, now thinking about it, oddly placed chunk out of the wall. From there we could observe everyones antics while slowly getting drunk unnoticed, well to everyone except Esti who shouted over every two seconds asking if I was ok and we were going to stay at Rupert's. It was strange being in a bar in Austria a) l could get served b) People could smoke and c) it didn't shut at 1 am unlike those at home. After most people had disbanded our posse headed back, though only after a stop for hotdogs a shoe exchange and a dip in an empty fountain.

SUNDAY 6TH APRlL

After about 3 hours sleep people began to arise, from the dead in some cases. lt must be something in Scottish blood as Stuart and I seemed to be the perkiest as we went round waking the rest up, it was now we realised it can't be in the blood as Esti was less than healthy. I made some pancakes(though they were terrible compared to my usual attempts, l blame the milk) and then  we fleeted as Esti was knackered. The weather that morning was glorious and I was determined not to sleep during the day so Maria and Meg shuttled me off to the Prater as it was the only thing open on a Sunday.The glorious weather from earlier in the day had left and it was overcast and windy. Esti went straight to bed and we were meant to wake her but decided it was better that she stayed in bed. We went on a roller coaster and the space shot(the one that shoots you straight upwards) and thankfully did not feel sick, even though due to the circumstances I should have. Sunday was then spent in watching friends and reclining on the sofa as it should be.


MONDAY 8TH APRlL


I had the rare lie-in of the holiday today, though it would have been longer if Esti had not phoned me, fair enough I was meant to meet her at the DZ at 12:45 and it was now 1 pm. An hour or so later I headed out to Kagran by myself and I was rather impressed l managed to get there with no hassle,  as hassle is always a regular visitor to me. I met her in a cheap shoe shop but we soon stopped at the crepe standwe visited last year(l always have crepes when l am away). lt was here where l began to hear about what was the full extent of her HORRlBLE day. 


That evening the family minus Esti watch "Across the Universe," a film written to the stories in the songs by the by the Beatles. Now this sounded good. lt was a chance to educate Maria on music and the importance of the 1960's. lt was fun trying to guess the next song coming up and spotting the lyrics, for example the main characters where (hey) Jude, Lucy(in the sky with diamonds), Maxwell(silver hammer), Jojo(from Come together), (dear)Prudence and (sexy)Sadie. Yeah. Visually and artistically it was rather impressive. 

I felt like a real Viennese resident today as it was such a normal day, which was nice. I like to try and make my self feel like a local when I go places, it's the best way to see a place.

TUESDAY 8TH APRlL


As my aunt's back was sore she stayed off school today and l spent the morning chatting to her before Esti returned and we went to a classic Viennese café. lt was very different to British cafés; the greasy impolite waiter was replaced by an old man in a tail coat, everything was made from mahogany or covered with mirrors, there were no notebooks and the waiting staff could memorise the orders. lt was very strange but highly impressive. l had a Schoko-mousse Torte and a melanege(typical viennese coffee) which were devine. Austrian cakes would win the Turner Prize in this country!


That evening we were going to see the famous West-End Musical "We Will Rock You" and since Aunt Var had an appointment for her back we had a spare ticket and had to attempt to sell it. We all set out early to catch any potential buyers but our lame attempt and saying "ticket for sale" left us stuck. So I got on the phone to Will, Esti's love interest, and he decided to come as we offered it for free. lt was 7:20 and the show started at 7:30 so Esti and Meg had to search for Will.while Maria and l just sat in and waited. They made it in time and they began playing some original Queen tracks. The curtains rose and the first lines were delivered, in German. Oh dear. This could be interesting. Well this was aimed for a german speaking audience as l am in Austria after all, don't know why we expected much different! If anything it will help me with my listening exams!


The songs were an amalgamation of German and English but to my surprise l managed to understand quite a bit of the dialogue, but when/if l see it in English l can find out if l really understood it. . .

At the interval we excchanged thoughts on the, ya know, German-ness. Maria, Meg and I also picked up the three t-shirts that had been reserved for us. We were so cool and bought three identical pink t-shirts that said "Killer Queen." Thankfully, as Esti pointed out, "We live on different planets, so we can all have the same." 


WEDNESDAY 9TH APRlL


As my last day I wanted to do something cool, or just see all those I had met to say goodbye before I left. Strangely enough to solve this problem my best bet was to go to school so I went in at break and although l was still ab it scared of security it was a doddle. Esti or Maria did not have frees afterwards so l was thrown in the direction of Alex and she was going to show me "the cage" but it was locked. So the cage remains a (concerning) mystery to me to this day. 


Soon afterwards Esti and Rupert discovered they had no classes left so we went on an 'adventure.' This adventure started in Burger king , where apparently Rupert lives, this appeared to be true as they did know his order before he asked. After some greasy food, brownies(that I ate so gracefully) and discovering how to burst straws we headed out on the U-bahn, without a definite destination. On that journey we managed to recite our "Mad World" dance to the whole U-bahn. We got off the train to head back to the apartment to get money and so on but we had to stop off at Tabak. Both of the men who usually served us were in, double the luck? Why yes, we got our 2€ back, again! At first we all just wandered the streets of Vienna and we went to Bobbys. I had heard of this place, it sells British food. Now you call me ridiculous going all the way(to be honest it isn't that far away) to Vienna to go and eat British food! Well it was quite interesting as I realised this is how to make money as they were selling those large dairy milks for €4.10. Extortionate. Esti bought some cheesecake mix, after I said it tasted amazing, and some lrn Bru. On our way back we wondered what to do  then came to conclusion the best idea was to lie back and relax. We did so on the sort of plateau outside the columbus centre. lt seemed as if we started a trend as soon enough there were many people lying down on the concrete. When l had topped up my vitamin D for the year we went inside the Columbus centre and Esti was meant to get some pens but we left with a toy bomb(yes now thats how to teach kids!?) and began throwing it around through the street. Back at the Maclnnes household we made the cheesecake but it did not stay around for long. Then we began to plan what to do tonight though everyone seemed to be busy. . . :( We came to the conclusion that we should just go to the Prater, which isn't bad thing at all!

So we got on the U-Bahn headed off too Mr. Lee's(how fast does Mr. Lee deliver his food? QuickLEE) and Maria met us after her running practice and then Rupert strolled along. lt was already pretty dark when we got there and I advise you, when you go to any sort of theme park always take assertive people who can make decisions as it took at least one walk around the park before we actually agreed on a ride to go on. However, early on in that walk l decided l would go on the bungee thing(the ball thats attached to bungee ropes and propels you upwards) and Rupert would join me. 


The first ride was the Sombereo they asked for our names so well, Esti, Rose and Rupert didn't go on it but Edward, Jessica and Mary did. Then there was the roller coaster that Maria and I went on before, Esti loved it. . . 

Although it was probably just our terrible driving skills, Esti and I were convinced that our dodgems didn't work as most of the time we just span round in circles when not being attacked by young kids. Jack the ripper was the haunted house but he guy who controlled the lift was the scariest part. We saved the bungee ball for last and that was a good choice. Well the getting strapped in seemed very fast and they kept you in suspense while they tightened the rope. Just as we were sitting there talking WOOOOOOSH! It was surprisingly pleasant, or as I so eloquently put it by screaming "THlS lS FUCKlNG AWESOME!" After the initial throw it gets calming and not very many people can say they have high fived while being propelled vertically into the air at a ridiculous speed.
That night l tried to get an early night but failed. 

2 comments:

Paul Ertl said...

okay THIS is frustrating for me... can I book you as a tourist guide in my own capital? :D

Paul Ertl said...

okay this is frustrating for me... can I book you as a tourist guide in my own capital? :D