The Ones You Can’t Google

I went to Schönbrunn Palace today, one of the most important cultural monuments in the country, a former imperial summer residence. The palace is massive, greater than any I’d ever seen, and the gardens, you could get lost in them for hours. Beyond the main area of flowers, trees (like woods?) stretched in either direction. You could wander the stony paths all day. I spent three hours there.

My camera, however, didn’t. It died almost as soon as I got there. For a moment, I was ticked. Annoyed at myself. Then I realized this is probably one of the most photographed places in the world, anyone can see it online, and I’m going to spend the next two hours walking the gardens of an Austrian Palace just by myself, no technology but for maybe some Nat King Cole playing in my earphones.

For looking like the typical camera-toting tourist, I burn my camera battery on the most non-touristy things. I hope one or two of these moments catch your interest.

20110930-052328.jpg

20110930-052339.jpg

20110930-052359.jpg

20110930-053410.jpg

20110930-052420.jpg

20110930-052432.jpg

20110930-052442.jpg

20110930-052518.jpg

20110930-052540.jpg

20110930-052616.jpg

20110930-052629.jpg

20110930-052643.jpg

20110930-052749.jpg

20110930-052708.jpg

20110930-052734.jpg

20110930-053018.jpg

20110930-052807.jpg

20110930-053106.jpg

Scenes from Vienna

Oh Vienna, you’re beautiful.

I walked all day yesterday, and most of this morning. I’m back at the hostel resting before another cruise around town. Did I say I was going to Bratislava? Wrong. Don’t listen to my plans until I show up in a new country. Night train to Krakow, Poland tonight… Enjoying many glorious days and nights in a hostel that includes breakfast, dinner and unlimited tea and coffee. My Vienna hostel… Not so much. Not at all, actually. But I guess that makes me venture out, if spend even more.

Yesterday’s route (imagine today I left my hostel and walked an hour the exact opposite direction):

20110930-045626.jpg

So anyone worried I don’t get out and see enough… I walked that big straight stretch, up and down, three times yesterday. And I don’t draw the side streets I wander up and down as well.

Vienna is lovely, if a little sleepy. Not much going on after 8:30p.m.

Kunthist. Museum

20110930-050006.jpg

Hofburg

20110930-050048.jpg

20110930-050115.jpg

20110930-050128.jpg

Parliament

20110930-050158.jpg

Rathaus

20110930-050240.jpg

Schönbrunn Palace

20110930-050637.jpg

20110930-050646.jpg

20110930-050659.jpg

20110930-050704.jpg

20110930-050712.jpg

20110930-050725.jpg

20110930-050732.jpg

And more…

20110930-050350.jpg

20110930-050403.jpg

20110930-050510.jpg

20110930-050514.jpg

20110930-050521.jpg

20110930-050536.jpg

20110930-050543.jpg

Grin and Bear Hug It

I get off the train in every new city giggling. It’s generally followed by a “What the heck am I doing in (city, country)?”

Giggle giggle giggle. Get on city bus to hostel. Get lost. Giggle.

I’m in a fantastic mood. Maybe I’ll buy lottery tickets today.

I took the train to Vienna, Austria today. It’s absolutely gorgeous everywhere you look. The architecture, the roads, the parks, the people. I’m here one night but coming back. My hostel is at capacity tomorrow, so why not slip over to Bratislava, Slovakia for a day or two? Back in time for the Vienna Boys Choir at Sunday mass and a night at the opera.

While walking, I take pictures of pretty things. You all know this by now.

But here’s a story you don’t get everyday.

I’m in the neighborhood with everything, it seems. The Hofburg Palace, State Opera, Burg Theatre, City Hall, Parliament, the university and the Museums quarter. Seen below, I snapped a shot of the Naturhistorisches Museum Wien.

20110929-050952.jpg

Pretty, right? Maybe I’ll ask someone to take my picture. Andrea taught me well when we traveled. Offer to take a couple’s photo, they’ll take yours in return. Or just smile, ask and say please.

I saw two middle-aged Asian men with cameras. The sole reason to make the admittedly vague ethnic description is to stress the mile-high language barrier between us. I motioned me + museum + camera, and got this picture.

20110929-051009.jpg

Yeah! I offer to take a picture of them, pointing my finger back and forth at the two of them.

Not a word of English being said, but heads are being nodded, two fingers are held up.

I’m still speaking English as though it’s going to help, reaching for their cameras. Not getting them.

Sure! I’ll take a picture of the two of you! that’s not what they’re saying

Both of your cameras? Of course! wrong, still wrong, you suck at this game

Two photos? Vertical and horizontal? Gotcha covered. no, nope, not that.

OHHHH!!! …you’ve got to be kidding me.

We never spoke a word, we never exchanged names… But we shared this moment. On three different cameras.

20110929-051023.jpg

I’m sending it out as my Christmas card this year: “Holiday Greetings from Nae and This Guy”

Maybe I resemble someone famous.

I wonder who.