I almost didn’t come to Vienna.
It’s ‘just a big city’ I was told.
But I should never have doubted my love for Vienna – I am a coffee snob and Vienna is the home of coffee snobbism – with grand old kaffeehauses exuding old world charm with their chandeliers, hat stands, secluded velvet booths, grumpy old waiters in black suits with little bow ties and equally as old and grumpy waitresses in stiff white shirts tucked into their aprons.
They are the type of place you could sit and people watch for hours.
And that I did, considering the Polish flu deprived me of all will to do anything else.
But it turned out to be an expensive pass time, with a coffee and piece of cake, such as this much celebrated piece of Sacher Torte (basically a chocolate cake), the recipe of which pre-dates the founding document of my country by roughly a decade, setting me back a cool €10 ($16 NZ).
Despite the fact that afternoon tea cost me the same as my night’s accommodation I repeated the exercise the next afternoon, though subbing out the Sacher Torte for a crisp apple strudel and then chasing it down at dinner with schnitzel and
I blame Julie Andrews and her favourite things for the fact I genuinely believed Austrian schnitzel was served with noodles and I was somewhat devastated to learn it was only put in the Sound of Music song because noodle rhymes with strudel – which in hindsight makes a lot of sense.
Noodle disappointment aside, that frisbee-sized piece of schnitzel did not disappoint and put me in a happy meat coma.
His snore was so penetrating it infiltrated my earplugs and reverberated around the room and I had to go sit downstairs at reception at 3am after I got into a fit of the giggles when he pretty much stopped breathing for a good ten seconds and then gasped for air like he’d just resurfaced from the depths.
The only sleep I ended up getting was between 8-10am when he went out for breakfast, on which arriving back from he had the audacity to say – ‘you sleep in very late this morning, you must get very drunk last night?’
I felt like telling him the only drunk I was was drunk with fatigue from his awful impediment which will surely ruin any chance of him getting a girlfriend but I didn’t – I was too sleep deprived.
And as time is money as a backpacker and Vienna is an expensive city I dragged my sorry arse out to see the sights.
I was so tired I even momentarily forgot about my church fatigue, ending up on the roof of the Stephansdom Cathedral to get a panoramic view of the city and close-up of their self-cleaning Hungarian ceramic roof tiles and then standing inside for a long period of time marvelling at the light display.
I also made an exception to my museum fatigue, visiting the former residency of Sigmund Freud – founding father of psychoanalysis and many a immature laughs in high school psychology classes over his theory on children’s psychosexual development stages.
And of course, my visit to Austria wouldn’t be complete without a night at the Opera – though backpacker styles – which means if you sacrifice an hour of your life to queue outside, for €3 ($5 NZ) you can get a standing seat, so you, like me, can get a view of a chair on the left hand side of the stage and the violinists in the orchestra pit.
Atleast I could hear them though and whatever they were singing about sounded beautiful.
But in reality once we set the electronic translator in front of us to english, we discovered the script was as badly written as Fifty Shades of Grey, for instance:
‘This city is very good for parties.’
‘My love for you is like the eternal heartbeat of the universe.’
I must be uncultured because my Australian friend and I didn’t even make it to intermission, fleeing 1.20 in for the sanctuary of the currywurst and beer stand across the road.
I don’t think opera’s for me – currywurst and beer on the other hand…