Vienna: Soccer and egyptians!, then Budapest: Stuff!

Vienna Travel Blog

 › entry 20 of 20 › view all entries
Vienna has been transformed into the soccer (re: football) capitol of the world for 23 days, with me arriving just in the middle of them. Austria's hosting the Euro Cup, and it's all a bit ridiculous now because of it. The 'fan zone' where you can view the games free amongst the hooligans covers the downtown area around the parliament. I was hoping to make it to an alternate viewing area (one was a courtyard where the game was projected onto the side of a cathedral) with a more bohemian and less boisterous vibe, but no such luck.

I stayed at Hostel Ruthensteiner near the Westbahnhof train station, and though it was hardly opportune for walking to the downtown core, it was at least easy to get around on the metro. Vienna itself has this shocking cleanliness everywhere: it's as if the buildings get a fresh coat of paint every day. It's a pretty nice place overall, with some neat restaurants (I went to one budget Pakistani option where you pay what you wish), but a bit lacking in that buzz that gives a city that extra something.

Being the former centre of the Hapsburg empire, there's a lot of great stuff to see, all of which is definitely on my Flickr account, so check it out!

While I was there, I managed to check out the Tutankhamun exhibit that was visiting. The posters were a good sell for it: They featured the golden sarcophogus in all its wonder, so I figured that'd make it worth the 15E I'd have to spend to get in. Oddly, there was no giant golden sarcophogus: it's still tucked away safely in Cairo, while here they showcased one of the miniature replicas (still golden, and still beautiful...) that housed Tut's internal organs. I was mildly irritated by this bait and switch, but it was a cool little history lesson nonetheless. Tut was hidden away so excellently and his tomb was mostly unplundered because he was a pharoah who meant to follow up with his predecessors' monotheistic religion. Apparently people weren't down for that, and condemned him to the worst fate a god, man or otherwise, could suffer: being forgotten. Ironically, he's know easily the most well known pharoah ever, so the joke's on them.

After Vienna I was off to Budapest, which was alright. It wasn't as if my hostel was to blame: HomePlus hostel had the most helpful and selfless staff I've ever met, and they brought me everywhere. I dunno. The place just seems to be doomed to seem mediocre to me. Using the Hungarian forint (about 150 to the dollar) was fun, though: I ended up buying a litre of ice cream (Movenpick ice cream, to be fair) for what would've been about 15 euro... It was damned delicious, I must say. The only experience with real hungarian cuisine that I could mention would be at a nearby restaurant, where part of my appetizer incorporated raw bacon. So far, that's the only dish I've been unable to finish. I also learnt how to pick out gothic churches, which makes me seem that much more intelligent. Yay.

Until next time,
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photo by: hellenica