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Thursday, August 7, 2008

Vienna Calling

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After gassing up (no pun intended) I left the town of Mikulov and headed for Austria. I pull out of town and the first thing I see are the casinos and whorehouses. Not requiring either I continue on. I figure it will be awhile before I make it to the border... oops! I just crossed the border. That was quick. It's funny. The EU has made all the border crossings into funny looking rest areas filled with currency exchange kiosks and cafes. The EU has been around for awhile now but the border crossing building are being maintained for when the next all out war comes to reestablish the need for border guards again.

The quality of the roads improve on the Austrian side of the border. There is something peculiar about the way the lines are painted though. To the untrained eye you would think that you were on a two lane road. As it turns out there is an invisible lane in the middle of the road that everyone knows about. If you pull up fast on someone they immediately get over as far as possible and let you get around. The unfortunate part of the equation is that it works both directions. Basically the middle lane is reserved for an ongoing game of chicken. The system works quite well and I was moving through traffic with very little effort. There were a couple of occasions where I found myself sharing the middle with oncoming traffic. Fortunately I could accelerate my way out of danger pretty easily.
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I could really tell I was in Austria the moment I hit the first village. Everything looked so perfect. All the houses were well maintained, with lots of flowers, and perfect yards. Driving through town was also nice because I could see everyone stop and look at me as I drove by. A couple of bikers pulled up to me at the lights and gave me nods of approval. This country loves motorbikes and motorbikes love this country. The road was well off the beaten path and wound through the country side littered with corn fields and wind farms. The weather was a perfect 30 degrees Celsius, my tunes were cranked, and life was good. It doesn't get much better than this!
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The smell of sausages and cabbages finally overcame my willpower so I stopped in for lunch. And what goes well with Bratwurst and cabbage? Beer! I wasn't to surprised to find out they sold that as well. What goes well with Bratwurst, cabbage and Beer? Accordion music! There was no shortage of that either. I sat outside on the long table eating my tubular meat and admired my bike. The beer tasted so good I ordered a couple more. The trip to Vienna shouldn't have taken more than an hour and a half but I took almost 3 hours to get there. Funny thing is that as I was driving towards the center of town my playlist decided that I should listen to Falco's Vienna Calling. Weird.
I roamed about town and took in some sights (or is that sites?). I got lost, though you can't really call it lost when you have no place to be. So maybe I was misplaced? Now up until now being on a motorbike has had a lot of advantages. You can go anywhere and park anywhere. This isn't true in Vienna. In the center if you don't have a sticker on your plate you can't park. period. Everywhere I stopped I was accosted by a local telling me to beat it. I started to find it very frustrating. I finally decided to stand my ground and not worry about it. I found a place with lots of bikes parked, found my spot, and parked. A guy cam out right away to tell me I couldn't park there. I told him I wouldn't be there long I was just stopping to have a drink and I pointed at the first place I could see that had drinks. I was in luck! He happened to be the owner of the establishment so he stopped hounding me.

Vienna is a beautiful city, but it doesn't differ very much from Prague as far as appearances and architecture. In all honesty, I found it less appealing than Prague because it was lacking that Eastern European grittiness. I can understand why a lot of people love it though. It's very civilized, clean, and there used to be a lot of culture here. If that's what you're into Vienna is the place for you. Don't misunderstand me. I will come back to Vienna one day. Just the next time I come it will be by train and I will have a hotel reservation, opera tickets, and a tuxedo to match.

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1 comment

Anna Barton said...

Face it! Vienna is just plain boring.
And they don't even make decent beer in Austria.
All they have is Mozart balls.

A

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