From when I arrived in Vienna…

I’m having a blast. Vienna is beautiful, with cafes and statues and lots of classical music everywhere. It’s very pricey and very Americanized compared to the last few stops, but it’s nice being in cooler weather and in a country where everything is pristinely clean.

The drive here from Venice yesterday was stunningly beautiful, through snow-capped mountains and gorgeous lakes. My friend Joley put the Sound Of Music soundtrack on while we were driving, and everyone was singing along. It was fun. Until the bus broke down, that is, and we got to spend three hours by the side of the highway waiting for it to be repaired. Fun stuff. At least the weather got a little cooler – it’s low twenties during the day here and beautiful.

We’ve been spending a lot of time walking around seeing the famous sights like Saint Stephen’s Cathedral, the Opera House, Hofburg Palace, statues of Maria Theresa, Mozart, Strauss, and more.

This afternoon, we met back up with the tour and went to the Schnaps museum to go schnaps tasting. That was a lot of fun. The guy working there was a riot – he missed his calling as a stand-up comic. Since it was unlimited tasting for 5 euros, a lot of people got pretty drunk. After that, we drove out to Schonbrunn Palace, which was the summer residence of the Hapsbergs. We saw the gardens out back and got lost in the shrub maze like little kids.

Tonight, Elie and I decided to walk all the entire way around the ring road, which took a long time but let us see most of the sights. There was a big film festival going on at the Rathaus (city hall) and it had stands set up with food from all different countries. We saw the War Memorial (the only one in Vienna – this country tends to dislike remembering its history, especially WWII), the university, a few famous churches, and more. We walked past the Danube, and headed into the traditional “Jewish quarter”, which is kind of an anomaly because the Jewish population here is so small – 7,500 today down from 100,000+ before the war.

Tomorrow we’re heading into Munich, and the next day we go to the Austrian Tyrol and whitewater rafting. That should be amazing.

Well, I don’t have much time, but I hope everyone’s doing well. Talk to you all soon!

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