Hero’s Visit

Hero stopped by Vienna to visit me for a few days before going home to Cyprus.  He arrived on Monday evening, and left today around noon.  When he arrived on Monday, Hero, Amit, and I went to Cafe Dreschler, where Hero had his first Wiener Schnitzel.  This was after a failed attempt of ours to get Fladen mit Speck at the adventmarket at Karlsplatz (it was closed).

On Tuesday, Hero accompanied me into IST Austria, where he saw the pretty pictures of currents at Jeff’s talk, then decided to skip out in the afternoon talks and make some plans for our sightseeing in Vienna.  At one point, Herbert came into my office and asked Hero if he was giving a talk next week, and Hero said “no, you must have confused me with Dave.”  I was not around at that time, but when he told me this, I asked him if he told Herbert who he was, and Hero said “no, he didn’t ask.”  What an interesting encounter …   On the way back from IST Austria, we stopped by the Prater to see the reisenrad (ferris wheel) and met up with Karine.  We went to a mediterranean restaurant for dinner that night, since Hero kept talking about all the Gyros he saw in Vienna.  I had to stop him from getting a gross one from a street stand.

On Wednesday, we had a full day of sightseeing in Vienna.  We started by going to the Schonbrun palace.  We took the Grand tour, and saw all of the Rococo decor.  I enjoyed the tidbits of information that the tour gave us (we had audio tours), such as only one daughter (the favorite) was allowed to marry for love.  The rest married for political reasons  We toured Karlskirke, Stefansdom, and Peterskirke.  We (finally) ate the Fladen mit Speck at the adventmarket.  Touring Karlskirke was pretty neat, they have an elevator that brings you up to the dome, and then stairs you can climb into the lantern.  We were so close to the ceiling that we could touch the paiting … and in fact, I did just that!  The lantern had a wonderful view of Vienna.  unfortunately, it was snowing, so we could not see too far.  I brought Hero to Julius Meindl and to a Belgian chocolate store, where he bought some presents for his sister.  Then, we ended our tour at the back of the Hapsburg palace.  We had to head home to get ready for … the opera!

We saw Macbeth (Verdi) at the Staatoper.  We had standing room tickets, but we got there 2.5 hours early, so we were numbers 14 and 15 in line.  We were in the first row of the ground level standing tickets.  I think the best view in the house.  Conveniently, there were subtitles provided, even in the standing area!  For 4 euros, this was a great deal.  We read how the process worked on a blog that I found.  The description was very accurate, so we knew exactly what to expect, even though we had never done it before.  The opera was amazing.  The director added modern flare to Verdi’s opera.  Although I usually don’t like modern aspects added to Shakespeare, I liked most of the directors choices.  The only thing that I found distracting was when the witches were acting like paparazzi, taking photos (with a real flash) of Macbeth during the first act.  I also wish that the king of Scotland did not bear it all on stage.  However, it was worth seeing.  And, for 4 euros … you can’t beat the price.

After the opera, we went to a Beisl to get some dinner.  The kitchen was closing in 15 minutes, and the waitress decided to ignore us until the kitchen was closed.  When she arrived at the table, she told us that we were getting Schnitzel.  That made the decision of what to get a little easier.

Yesterday morning, we went to the Naschmarkt before picking Dave up from the CAT (City Airport Transit) station.  The three of us returned to my apartment, where we ate some lunch and tucked Dave in for an afternoon nap.  Then, Hero and I headed out for a tour of the crypt at Michaelerkirche.  unfortunately, the tours only happen on Wednesdays (and it was a Thursday).  So, instead, we went to a souvenir store to pick up some trinkets.  Then, we walked to Cafe Central, where we had a Sachertorte and another hazelnut dessert.  They were delicious, but we came no where close to finishing them, so we wrapped them up to go.  Then, Hero and I walked around the palace grounds, and then to the Rathaus and the Parliament.  Parliament has a very greek look, with the columns and statues outside.  The Rathaus is gothic.  But, they stand side by side.  It seems rather unfitting that you can see both vastly different architecture styles at the same time.

Last night, we went on a tour of the Vienna Schnapps Museum.  The tour was informative, and rather funny.  Herbert was heckling the schnapps maker which made it even funnier.  Then, the ladies had to leave the room so the men can talk about the Champagne (it is called Rene Pogel … you are supposed to read it backwards … the boys let the cat out of the bag by telling us this secret).  But, the girls got the first taste of the schnapps.  Bei just went right down the line.  By the time Jeff arrived in the tasting room, she was already bright red.  We all had our share of tasting the schnapps though.  My favorites were a red one, which has chili in it!  It has a slight kick that I like.  Another one is called “Schonbrunner Gold”, and it has real gold flakes in it.  Dave enjoyed the green one (no surprise).  I stayed away from trying the cream based ones, as I didn’t want to get sick from the experience.  Dave and I bought three bottles, and a t-shirt for me 🙂  Then, our entire group went to a restaurant near my house to have dinner.  I had the guloush, Dave had the schnitzel, and Hero had bakhendl (fried chicken).  Michael and Michaela had beer with coke (yes, in the same glass).  I was disgusted, but of course I tried a sip and it actually wasn’t that bad.  But, maybe that was a result of drinking schnapps beforehand.  After dinner, Amit joined Dave Hero and me for a little bit at my (now overcrowded) room.   We hung out for a little bit, then went to bed.

This morning, we slept in a bit, until almost 9:00.  Hero and I told Dave that there wasn’t enough hot water, so he kept turning the water off during his shower to conserve it.  When he got out, I informed him that doing that was unnecessary.  That’s what he gets for listening to me when I say ridiculous things like “5 liters of water for the shower”.  Then, we went to the Hundertwasserhaus, where Hero and Dave made their first stop on the peepee tour.  (There is actually a tour of the bathrooms in Vienna …. and you have to pay to use these toilets too…)  Dave and Hero both liked the Hundertwasser apartment buildings.  We had a bite to eat with Hero at a little restaurant (whose menu was written on a chalkboard only) and left when the restaurant filled with smoke.  We were sitting in the non-smoking section too.  Somehow they thing that small room dividers (with large gaping holes) can block the smoke between two tables.  Well, this is not true.  But, the food was good.

We said goodbye to Hero at the Ubahn.  Hero went one direction, and Dave and I went in the other direction.  When we got to Heilengenstadt, we had to run like the wind to catch the bus.  In fact, the bus started to take off, but saw us so the driver graciously opened the doors for us.  We arrived at IST Austria, and had a magnificent lunch (it was our christmas lunch today), and now we are back in the office.  Today, Dave is supposed to start writing his dissertation.

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2 Responses to “Hero’s Visit”

  1. Natalie Says:

    “That’s what he gets for listening to me when I say ridiculous things like ‘5 liters of water for the shower’.”

    Only Dave and Meghan fall for stuff like that, they should know better. Even Kathy doubted you when you pulled it in Miami.

  2. Laura Says:

    What an ending. “Today, Dave is supposed to start writing his dissertation.”

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