Vienna Travel Blog

 › entry 21 of 90 › view all entries
"Take these chances, place them in a box until a quieter time, lights down, you up and die" -- Dave Mathews Band, Ants Marching

I got up, cloudy sky and well, decided to take a different direction for the day.  I had heard from a fellow backpacker a few stops back that the Wachau valley wine tasting tour was fantastic, if a little bit on the spendy side ($60 - see yesterday about being frugal so I might not feel so guilty about spending a bit of cash later).  I made up my mind to do it, rain or shine which turned out to be a fantastic idea.  While it seriously looked like it was going to be another cold and rainy day on my itinerary in Vienna, the Wachau valley turned out to be quite nice, warm but not super hot and sunny.  Anyway, the Wachau valley is about 80 km from Vienna and well, produces some of the best white wines on earth (if you are to trust the medals won and the locals) and well, we hadn't turned off the beaten path for about 5 minutes (i..e parked the van) before we were off sampling, starting with the purported oldest wine cellar in history.  It wasn't much to look at, only that it was quite expansive and well, must have taken the monks a long time to dig the thing out of the sold rock sometime after the first milleneum.  I figure the things you can accomplish if you don't have computers or television to distract us. 

The views of the river valley were stunning, esp. on a bike, going along the danube and feeling the wind blowing against you.  I have to tell you, it is a joy riding bikes again.  Really, again, it just goes back to the simple things.  Typically a tour like this would have at least 10-15 people on it, but it was sold rather poorly by the guide and only two people from our bus were on it, including myself, and two random americans who were on their own. 

It may be a strange state of affairs or just my mindset or something, but I have to say that I have a much easier time talking to canadians, aussies, kiwis, germans, hell, most people than I do with a lot of my fellow countrymen.  Its been my experience so far that people that I have met are articulate, intelligent (with the few exceptions being those going on a sexual oddessy, those have tended to be English), etc, while the scant few Americans I have come across have been  vapid, moronic, trust fund babies, who go on tours of europe to reinforce their stereotypes about the evils of socialism or to come back and brag to their not so rich friends that they did something "meaningful" with their summer break.  Granted, this isn't a great cross section of the society as a whole, but I can certainly understand why people don't particularly care for us all that much.

Anyway, I am going somewhere with this, since well, when you travel, you should be prepared to meet all kinds.  Its a great melting pot of ideas when you're all tossed together randomly with people who would probably wouldn't go out of you way to shake hands with, let alone converse over a beer.  So, all topics are open, the church (cause of the da vinci code movie), politics (since the other guy was an aussie and couldn't for the life of him figure out why we elected GWB again), etc.. So, politics.. hmmm. religion and politics, two things you don't discuss over wine I suppose.. but we got through it okay.. oh did I mention that the two americans were from Ohio and college students, I figure that only becomes relevant later. Etc etc.

Hmm .we tasted a bunch of fantastic wines which I could not buy because I didn't have room or the desire to carry them for a month ... I got to see the ruins of a castle that once housed Richard the Lion Heart  who was imprisioned there after doing the dastardly thing of burning the austrian flag.  It was amazing, seriously... I'd love to go back, maybe on my own, do a bit of wandering around, certainly just an incredible place to see and experience.

Anyway, toward the end of the trip, the aussie said something to the effect of his surprise that we had elected GWB, since they thought that Kerry would win it.   The two ohioans both expressed their opinion that they lacked surprise, "oh we were weren't surprised".  Now, this isn't something I am too proud of but I did inherit my father's .. lets say ability to go fishing.  The idea that you might just say something even if it isn't something you completely believe in just to see what people will say or react or .. well, see if it will get them riled up.  Okay, I am proud of it, but honestly, I had to endure years of people backing the current administration calling me everything from a  moron to a traitor so I tend to not give quarter  in these things.  So, I said "I wasn't surprised either, why elect someone who is competant, when you can have four more years of what we've got".  I figured it was the end of the conversation but the aussie wasn't done.  So he asked who might the democrats put up for election this time around.  Before I could say anything, the girl pipes up with "Anyone but hillary".  Which well, is just too easy a softball to give up, so I said "Yea, cause god forbid you have a woman in charge".

her: Its not that shes's a woman.
me: oh well, what is it then?
her: Its that she's a socialist.

It was this point that her boyfriend had the presence of mind to shut her up before she totally consumed herself.  Obviously not before she had gotten the foot in a good ways.   I mean, here she is in Austria, a socialist country, being given a tour by someone from Denmark (another socialist country) on a tour with Australian (which is yet another socialist country), etc... I mean, honestly, between you and me, I don't like Hillary either, but at least I can formulate an argument against the person instead of the right wing, ring a bell, bark bark bark, pavolvian response to a woman being in the white house. 

Anyway, I have a fantastic time and well, there is something a bit relaxing about baiting someone and then being able to just leave it on the table.. the rest of the evening was spent wandering around a bit, doing email and the like.. you know, le usual.
berm6161 says:
Church, politics, and whine. A deadly combination. I sounds like you are havining a great time. I can't wait to see you when you come home. Seamus and Shannnon say hi. How is flat stanley doing?
Posted on: May 26, 2006
Join TravBuddy to leave comments, meet new friends and share travel tips!
photo by: hellenica