Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Vienna and arrival in Budapest

Crown of Rudolph II
Vienna is a very organized city. Everything is on time, it's the only metro I've encountered in Europe which doesn't smell at least faintly of urine, and everything is just clean and precise. For that delightful reason, my photos hopefully for a more coherent narrative on their own than they have previously.

August 9:

Wandered through the Old City, with notable stops at for the Imperial Crypt and the Hofsburg Palace and Treasury. I had never heard of Empress Sisi before arriving in Vienna, but I am certainly well aware of her existence now.

Palace entrance presided over by the Labours of Hercules and the Coffee of Clooney
Spent the evening in front of city hall, where there's a big open air film (of classical music, dance, or opera) and a substantial food court on summer nights.

Vienna Day 1

August 10:

I'm about palaced out after Vienna. Stopped (briefly) by the Belvedere and the Schonbrunn today, and the Kunsthisorsomethingreallylongblahblahces museum. I love that the Vienna museums often let you take pictures - I captured some of my favorites.

Wow, what a surprising choice...
Also took a tour of the Opera house, unfortunately in the off-season. The primo box seats apparently go for less than 200 Euros, which is pretty sweet (except during the annual Opera House Ball, where they go for about 27,000 Euros)

Vienna Day 2


Budapest is not well organized. Budapest is sprawling, dirty, crowded, and noisy - this may be turn out to be the real "most foreign" experience. But cheap - I have an apartment to myself for 22 Euros a night. This far east, the sun is setting early too; around 7:30, I think.

I haven't done too much yet - I walked around castle hill in the afternoon after arriving, but I've already got a number of interesting notes:

  • Arriving at the train station, I picked up my map at the rail station TI and was going for the metro, but the TI tells me to take the bus, it will be faster. This is a terrible lie; the bus goes nowhere near my destination, and drops me off across town on the outskirts of Buda, where I have to overpay a taxi driver to bring me back. Good start.
  • Germans need to learn to queue. I was waiting behind one woman to get ice cream, and these little old German ladies from a tour group come up behind me, and start elbowing me out of the way and ordering themselves. It's not like I can respond in kind...
  • Was walking and got greeted by a normal-looking local guy sitting on a bench with his girlfriend. I assume it's because I'm wearing my Messi jersey (which tends to elicit comments). We make introductions and chat for a bit before he makes it clear that the girl is not his girlfriend, but the prosititute he's pimping, and her services would be available to me for a very low rate. I politely thanked him and continued on my way.


  1. Light rail is the best option to move around in Budapest, also try to get a Pass, they are dirt cheap and you get to use any public transportation with it.

    Drink some Dreher beer and if you can bring back one for me!

    I just LOVE Budapest I wish I was there now =)

  2. Yeah, I have 72-hour pass (now). Unfortunately, large swaths of the tram tracks are under construction currently, so it's been mostly metro so far.