Today was my last official day in Vienna before heading to Bratislava, Slovakia tomorrow morning for a day trip. Karlskirche, another church filled with the finest marble and flying naked angel babies, turned out to be the first stop of the day. As sad as this may sound, the churches are starting to blend together. Hopefully Italy will be a welcome change to this monotony. Since Vienna loves their palaces and royalty just as much as London, we walked through the Belvedere gardens and palace grounds, which at the top gave me another wondrous view of the city below. I had no desire to look at more porcelain china, fancy tapestry, or royal toilets, so I was content enjoying this view and the peacefulness of the gardens themselves. I have noticed something that I do not appreciate enough in America that you probably would not consider. As random as this is, restrooms are readily available in the U.S. while in Europe you have to pay 50 cents to enter. Okay, moving on… as a break from the heat of the city, we traveled outside of Vienna to Seegrotte, an underground lake. This lake was a mine in the early 1900s before flooding in 1912. After draining some much of the water, the Nazis used this area as a place to build planes for World War II while hiding them from the Allied forces. Now it has turned into a tourist attraction. In the middle of a hot day, the dark narrow tunnels that led to the lake were a nice respite with its constant under 50 degree temperature. On the drive back to Vienna, I realized how much this trip has depleted my energy. Running around for what seems to be 24/7 with late nights and rough starts to the morning has taken much out of me but I power on. Back in Vienna, we walk through the Prater, which is a regular park with green space and gardens surrounding an amusement park. After passing one of the oldest Ferris wheels in the world, the Riesenrad, and watching people on some of the lame amusement park rides of years past, we grabbed a half liter to use as an excuse to sit down. The beer culture is so prevalent in this part of the world that you are almost expected to order beer with your meal (maybe because water is so expensive). Thank God Germans and Austrians know how to brew a good beer. To sort of complete the day, we walked around the old and new Danube River (the new one being built to prevent flooding of the neighborhoods from overflowing of the old river). I ended another day with some chaotic planning to figure out how to get to my next destination, Bled, Slovenia. You may be wondering why on earth would I possibly want to go to Slovenia; just look up Lake Bled and you will be wishing you were there with me. So much of this trip has developed into last minute adjustments and a willingness to go with the flow. A rigorous outlook would be the death of a trip like this.
Day 24: Last Day In Vienna