We often say to each other that " a travel day is a a travel day" to indicate that it usually takes a whole day to go from one place to another not matter how short the distance. The packing up, getting to airport/station in time, the waiting, the journey, finding the new place in which you are staying and sniffing around usually take a whole day!! This was certainly the case with our journey into Europe to Vienna. We got up early (for us!!), packed up, hoofed it to the tube and Heathrow, waited for a delayed plane, two hour flight to Vienna (one hour lost to time zones), sorted the transfer directions onto the S-bahn, alighted at Praterstern station, short walk to Gillian's place and having a cup of tea at 5:30 pm. Then is really ceased to be just a "travel day" .... read on!!
As we are only here for three nights we opted to try staying in a room that someone lets on AirBnB rather than a "complete apartment". Hence I am writing this sitting in the kitchen of a lovely, bright, rooftop apartment - "Central private room and bathroom" - let by Gillian, a much-travelled interesting person who works for the UN here. We will meet one of her kids (going to Uni in Shanghai!!) probably tonight. The apartment is on the fourth floor and very central!! We can walk just about anywhere easily!! We come back to Vienna later on the river cruise but we felt that such an histroic place deserved more than a drop-in by us!! (and we can show off our local knowledge when we come here on the boat!!)
With Gillian's guidance we walked to the edge of the canal for a beer - they truck in sand and set up deckchairs along the canal to create a "seaside" environment in which to soak up the sun .... Oh yes! Did I forget to mention that it is actually WARM!!!!!!!! After freezing our .... off in London we luxuriated in being able to stroll around in most pleasant conditions!! We strolled up the tourist quarter to St. Stephan's where mass was just starting at 7 pm - we joined in expecting to stay but the priest had a touch of the Ratzingers about him and gave a sermon in German for over 15 minutes, which did for us!!! We headed back out into Stephansplatz (Stephan's square), along the Graben and Freyung to the Rathausplatz (Town Square) where we enthusiastically joined in the "Music Film Festival" that runs all summer long (that's two full months!!! it finishes at the end of August). There are food stalls (really great quality, variety and cheap!!), beer stalls, thousands of people (not just tourists) and this enormous screen on which they have a different "music film" every night. Often this is an Opera or an Orchestral Performance .. tonight it was Walt Disney's "Fantasia"!!! We had a ball, felt very much at home and walked home around 11:30 tired and happy! ... some travel day!!!