With Salzburg in the rear view mirror, the train jetted down the tracks for Vienna with my dad’s cousin Florian waiting for us at the station. When we said our hellos (today being the second time I’ve met him with the first being 15 years ago) not much English was spoken, which left me smiling and nodding awkwardly. We arrived at his apartment, where we would be spending the next few nights, and sat around to discuss our plans and what we would like see over the next couple days (when I say discuss, I mean my dad and Florian chatted in German while I looked on confused like a boss). My dad and Florian started heading for the door and so I followed but I had no idea where I was going or what we were doing. Turns out we were heading for a restaurant. After we sat down, we started looking over the menus (all in German by the way) and then all of sudden Florian, in practically the first English I had heard from him, said “have you seen my wiener?” I had no idea what the heck to think. Not until I noticed the sign on the wall with that quote above a wiener dog did I have the moment aha moment; no longer did I feel disturbed by my foreign relative. The meal was delicious by the way and decidedly filled with protein including beef in a goulash sauce, a bread dumpling, sunny side up egg, and of course a sausage wiener. Florian, a 70 year old,o took us on a tour of the city. When I heard he would be leading us around the whole day, I thought he would be slowing me down but dang could this guy move. We covered quite a bit of the city including Viennese parks, churches, government buildings, and the imperial palaces. The obsession with skeletons and the dead continued to fascinate me. In one church I found two full skeletons dressed in the clothing of their time period under altars of the church’s side chapels. Call me crazy if I am the only one creeped out by praying while an almost too alive looking skeleton stares right at me. The churches were gorgeous in their own right as palaces in themselves with golden emblazoned statues over the altar and multicolored marble pillars supporting these prayer houses. Being the great host that he is, Florian tried getting me drunk back at the apartment with his dark beer and champagne as we watched some more World Cup action. Even with the language barrier, he is quite the riot. Tomorrow, we start the day at the famous Spanish Riding School.
Day 22: Viennese Hospitality