A Journey to the Center of Europe - Day 1

Ellen and I spent a week in Austria and Slovakia. Here is the first of several posts, chronicling anything interesting or extraordinary that happened each day.

Day 1

Woke up at 7:30am to get to the bus stop by 8:30am to catch the 8:45am bus to get to the train station at 9:15am to catch the 10:30am train. Bus service is so sporadic, if we took the next bus, we would have arrived too late to catch our train. An hour after getting on the train, we had to get off and switch to another one in Ulm, Germany, which we rode for three hours and then had to connect to a third in Salzburg, Austria. Three more hours went by before we finally reached Vienna, and by the time we got to our hostel and got situated, we had been traveling for 12 hours. So naturally, we were ready to do some drinking.

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The corner pub promised beers and sausages at reasonable prices, so we took a seat and got some brews. For food, I opened the menu and immediately saw what I needed to eat: a bacon-wrapped frankfurter with cheese inside. It sounded so tempting, and I hadn’t had a heart attack yet, so I figured what the hell. Turns out it was delicious, though admittedly very salty.

We went out for a stroll around a bit of town afterwards, and although everything was already closed—it being late Sunday night—we stumbled into the most elaborate and fantastical McDonald’s I’ve ever imagined. It seemed to stretch for miles and contained multiple levels, a separate cafe section complete with bamboo plants adorning the sophisticated high-top tables, rounded and padded booths which looked like they had been picked by Four Seasons decorators, and they even had specialty uniform jeans with the big golden arches sewn on the butt pockets. McDonald’s... more like SwankDonald’s.

On the way back to the hostel, we passed a bar with a rainbow colored sign called “American Bar.” Interestingly, that was the only gay bar I recall seeing in all of Vienna.

Back at the hostel, before heading to bed in our four-person room, one of our roommates informed us that the other roommate was epileptic, so if we heard a lot of crashing and banging around during the night, "don't worry, she's just seizing." No wonder they’re called “strangers.” We looked at her for a few moments to make sure she wasn’t joking, mumbled “Okay, thanks,” and went to bed, ready to leave as soon as possible for Slovakia in the morning.
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