Some Things Never Change

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March 17th 2016
Published: June 12th 2017
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Geo: 48.22, 16.37

No sooner had I written "some things never change" that I remembered that upon our arrival in Vienna, it immediately struck us that we didn't recognize the airport. I flew out of there so often during our tour, I was especially shocked at how different it all looked. Turns out a new terminal was added, along with a new underground train station, linking the airport to the city. Well, suffice it to say, AFTER we left the airport, nothing ELSE had changed in Vienna since we left in 2003.

We elected to stay at the hotel located immediately adjacent to the airport, as it would make things easier for our departure the following morning. We retrieved our bags and walked the short distance across the street to the hotel. It was only 9:00am or so and our room was not ready, so we left our bags and walked across the same street to pick up our rental car. The whole process could not have been easier.

The drive into the city was exactly as I had remembered, though I did appreciate having the GPS with us to help guide us to our old apartment. It was a beautifully clear day, though colder than we expected -- particularly in the shade. As we drove up our street, most of our old haunts were exactly as we'd left them, aside from our favorite Chinese restaurant. I'd like to thing the owners retired rather than went out of business. The building in which we lived had a large placard in front of it, as it was being renovated. It looked a little worse for wear, but a lot of that was probably due to the construction.

As she was only three years old when we left, we didn't realistically expect Anna to remember much -- if anything -- but we walked down the hill to the playground in which she and K spent countless hours, and she said it "felt familiar." Her favorite elephant slide was long gone, but in looking around, she started to have a few memories, which was touching.

We had a fairly flexible agenda for the day, as we were really just trying to get a flavor again of the city. We continued on and drove down past Schoenbrunn Palace, and then over to the Belevedere, where we wanted to visit the Gustav Klimt exhibit. We got a parking spot directly across from the gate, and there were no real crowds of which to speak, so all went well. Pressing on, we rode around the Ring Strasse, past most of Vienna's main buildings, and while we were headed to Cafe Landtman, across from the Rathaus, one-way streets and lack of parking had us ending up in an underground garage at the Graben, which -- luckily -- put us in perfect position to visit Café Central instead. This place had certainly not changed since our absence; in fact, I'd be surprised if it's changed much since the 40's. After a small lunch we continued on foot to visit the main pedestrian area, ending up on Stephansplatz before slowly winding our way back to the car. On the Graben, the main outdoor Easter Market was being held, so we spent quite a long time trolling the stalls, enjoying some warm Prosecco wine, and picking out a bunch of the hand-painted Easter eggs, for which the market is famous. Most of the eggs we'd purchased during our tour have since broken, so it was nice to "replenish our stock." This meant, however, that for the remainder of the trip we were gingerly handcarrying a bag containing a cardboard carton full of our treasures. Skipping forward, I'm happy to report that all of the eggs survived the trip and are now safely in Brambleton.

By now it was late afternoon, and we were all beginning to drag a little. We drove further out, to the Grinzing area of town, in which the wine Heurigers are located. We ended up at our favorite Heuriger -- Schrieberhaus -- and enjoyed a wonderfully familiar and traditional dinner of salad, Schnitzel, wine and beer. Even Anna got to have her first full beer (albeit it small), as the drinking age in Vienna is 16.

By the time we left, it was already dark and the drive out to the airport took almost 40 minutes. We dropped off the rental car and quickly walked back over to the hotel (all wishing we'd worn warmer clothes by now), got our key, retrieved our bags, and headed to bed. Or so we thought... Anna seized the shower and I unlocked my suitcase, but when I tried to open K's bag, the key would not work. This was maddening, given that we'd just tested the locks and we were so tired. Not sure what to do, I went to the front desk and they were able to get someone from maintenance -- who had just left to go home, and who returned to help -- was able to remove the lock with some bolt cutters. I'm still not sure exactly what we would have done if this had failed, but we now know that all our future locks will ONLY be combination models -- no keys.

Additional photos below
Photos: 26, Displayed: 25


Klimt Work Inside the BelvedereKlimt Work Inside the Belvedere
Klimt Work Inside the Belvedere

I snapped this picture before I was "politely" reminded that pictures are not allowed.
Giant Egg at the Easter MarketGiant Egg at the Easter Market
Giant Egg at the Easter Market

These were made in Croatia, and we saw them in several places during our trip.

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