I'm the guide now // Day 11

In the event you are wondering where all the world's cigarette money goes, it must be to Germany and Austria. I've never seen so much in my entire life. I've travelled to Asia, South America, Italy, etc... and none of it compares. I came back to the hotel today and just felt like it had begun to permeate everything about me. Vienna is still great. Smoking is the worst. Sorry, I'm not sorry.

After a few days here, I've really begun to get revisit favorites and hit things low on the list. Some of those end up as winners... and some are confirmed as low priority sights. I'm talking to you Votive Church. You were a waste.

Quick summary of today:
- 10.4 miles walked
- 1 yoga headstand
- 5 churches (2 repeats, 3 new, 7 visits)
- 1 borderline hangry moment solved with cheese bread

Morning time
Since K left, I have moved into my parent's hotel as an illegal resident. While it would be great to join them for the buffet breakfast with crispy bacon, I used it as an opportunity to get a good morning walk around the city. I hit up my two favorite churches (Jesuit Church and St. Stephen's Cathedral), found a grocery store I want to move into to (Billa) and treated myself to a coffee and chocolate croissant at Cafe de l'Europe. I couldn't tell you the last time I had a chocolate croissant before this. Is there anything better than breakfast in the sun in Europe?
The Forced March
Like I had hinted at yesterday, I used today to really see my favorites again as well as things that just needed a second pass. After breakfast, the whole gang went to the top of St. Stephen's North Tower. I had originally intended on the South tower and 340 steps, but we heard the views were better from the North. The North is the easiest tower. It has zero steps and an elevator. The elevator is run by a guy who pretends to not understand English. Super cute.

Other sites:
  • observed the Ankeur Clock dance at noon. The clock runs about 6-8 minutes late so I guess you'll never miss the dance. It was moderately impressive. I am glad that I saw it, but can't strongly recommend anyone else go out of their way to do it. 
  • Jesuit Church has been my favorite from the start so it was nice to take everyone over to see it. Since this is about my 45th visit, I've started to notice other details that I love. Like the tile floors, big wooden doors, hinges, etc.

We also put Naschmarket on the list a couple days ago but hadn't yet made time to get to it... because it's kind of outside the primary city limits. This is about the time my grandfather started to call my touring style a "forced march". Cute right? The market itself is kind of colorful and interesting but pales in comparison to the Florence market or even the Munich Victual Market. I guess the origins go way back to the 16th Century. Rick Steves - or anyone really - suggests you walk out there, peruse, and get lunch. There weren't amazing lunch options so we ended up at Landsknecht Treff. My salad was pretty solid but the guy could not have been more presumptuous and rude. I'll have a glass of wine before I write that TripAdvisor review.

Easy Afternoon
I opted to skip the museum filled afternoon for some solo city walking - but being the very hospitable tour guide I made sure to drop the rest of the group off at their next location via some parks. Funny part? Anytime we see a statue my dad immediately starts telling us how the person died (via the horse hoves) and my mom starts guessing who the woman is.

Here are some of the spots I hit on my way:
  • Votive Church - Just not really worth it. I can't even be that descript. I really loved their gold / brass chandeliers and their brightly colored stained glass but other than that it felt kind of commercialized but not even in a good way. Skip this one on your trip to Vienna.
  • St. Michael's Church - Randomly walked in here on my way back through the main area. The high alter is super impressive. This isn't going to sound complimentary but it looks like someone balled up some gray play dough and then slowly began to pull it out into a lot of little statues. The pictures are super dark... because it was super dark. That's how life works.
  • Failed attempt at a visit to Cafe Central. I spotted their amazing lighting in the Yelp listing and didn't realize it was a popular place to go. Couldn't quite muster the 20 person line for a latte. Maybe on my next trip to Vienna. I did rectify the oncoming hangry by stumbling across Gragger & Cie. Their cheese breadstick will cure the world of angry and hatred.. and only cost 1.50E.
  • View from the Albertina - This is becoming one of my favorite perspectives in the city. It's an easy little flight of stairs to the top and the view is worth it. Especially at night.
  • Franziskanerkirche - The only thing exciting about this church is that it has a blue exterior. Since the pictures came out terribly, you can look at the TripAdvisor review. I'm not sure there are any churches left in this city that I haven't found yet...

For dinner, we retreated back to the pizza place from the night before. I think all the sausage, pancake soup, goulash, and schnitzel is wearing on the gang. Pizza isn't such a bad thing :) ... plus it makes me selling a trip to Italy that much easier.

Tomorrow? Might see the Spanish horses practice in the morning. Dad goes home... and maybe I'll have to actually go to a museum. 

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