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Chris Sayer’s Travel Diary

Monday, 06 Apr 2009

Location: Austria

MapDay Five April 5
Our final full day in Vienna, and after a leisurely start, we purchased a day ticket for the public transport and just wandered aimlessly, starting off heading away from the city, unlike every day previous. The train line ended up across the Danube in the new part of Vienna – modern, new buildings of glass and steel, open parklands and mostly apartments. A Sunday market was happening in adjacent to the station, with a children’s merry-go-round and colourful train. Again we got the impression that this is a very livable city. Heading back to the old city, we passed an amazing piece of architecture – a working waste treatment factory that has been made into a work of art - it has to be seen to be believed. I can imagine some people thinking it grotesque … we thought it was a very clever way of beautifying a drab piece of industry. Very arty, eye-catching and provocative. Maybe everyone should consider turning their ugly industrial sites into visual works of art?
Our friend Judy recommended a visit to the Sacher hotel for their famous torte and hot chocolate – and honestly it was the most heavenly chocolate experience we’ve ever had. Enough said – end of story.
Then on to the museums, and we chose the History Museum – we could have chosen from dozens of others. Egyptian and Greek artifacts from 1,300 years B.C., and then paintings by Rubens, Rembrandt, etc, etc, some paintings from 16th century. All housed in the most incredible building with a marble interior, huge staircases, huge stone pillars, vaulted ceilings with gold-plated paintings. Every corner we turned took our breath away. What must the other museums be like? You could spend a month in Vienna and not see everything in its museums.
Packing our cases for the flight to Turkey tomorrow. We finished the day by popping round the corner to our favourite restaurant/pub (within staggering distance), and our new friend from the other night Thomas was working again. Nice to catch up again before we go. To finish our Austrian experience, we had traditional Austrian fare – “camembertbrot” – apple slices, melted cheese and cranberries on traditional brown bread, and then a traditional dish from the Styrian region of Austria called “grostl” – potatoes, small dumplings and onions. I had black pudding (or blood sausage as the locals call it) and sauerkraut, while Anne has grilled turkey and cheese. And it was delicious.