Day 33 – Vienna

After Auschwitz, we drove back through the Czech Republic to Austria. This was a bit of a novelty as we had managed to visit 3 countries in a singe day. A big deal for a family of four from Australia.

Soon after crossing the Czech border, we found a McDonalds and camped outside. From the motorhome, we logged into their wifi to update emails (and of course FaceBook). This was the first time we’d camped in a car park, so I spent most of the night waiting for a knock on the door and a directive to move on.

Thankfully, no knock came, but as I was up early anyway, I went across to McDonalds for a coffee and to get catch up on some work before the family got up. I was so pleased to be in Austria. For no other reason then a strong and fast internet connection and G R E A T coffee. Even though it was from McCafe, it was the best coffee I’ve had since coming to Europe.

After breakfast we drove an hour or so to Vienna and found our campground. We checked in, set up, then headed straight out to the city centre.

We had a look around and fell in love with the building and architecture. Its hard to explain, but there was something about this city its layout and the architecture, and just its general  “artiness” that was magnificent.

But as attractive as the city was, we couldn’t stay long. Nearly everyone in town was smoking and the cigarette smoke was killing us. There was a haze over the plazas and malls, and for a family of non-smokers, who live in a pretty smoke free environment, this was like walking through the smoking room at an international airport. It was just horrible.

We found caslte or something and went over for a look.

In front of the castle in the middle of the road, were some exposed working from Roman times. Discovered during road renovation in 1990, they were now made a permanent fixture. Right in the middle of the road/roundabout.

All around Vienna city there were people offering horse and cart rides, and there was a large collection of operators in front of the castle. Unfortunately, the horses must have been “over watered” and there was a steady stream flowing through the street and providing a not so sweet smell.

We walked through the castle gates and found a Military display right in the middle of the grounds. October 26 is a National Day in Austria and every year the military put on a display of all their “toys”. Included were 5 helicopters and even a Eurofighter plan. Not to mention tanks, trucks and other gear. It was a pretty impressive display, made all the more impressive to see this modern war machinery inside such and old place.

We continued walking and found two identical buildings (I think they were formally Palaces). Huge, sandstone building, mirroring each other across a landscaped garden.

After a good look around, we continued along to the Museum Quarter, a mix of modern and old buildings and housing a number of museums and exhibitions.

There was full frontal, male nudity on signs promoting a particular exhibition, including a massive wooden structure out the front of the museum of a guy lying side on, with everything bared. Not the sort of thing you would normally see in Australia, but interesting to see their social standards so different.

Intrigued by the promotion, we went to the exhibit titled “Naked Man” which chronicled male nudity in art for more than 600 years. It was actually pretty cool and very interesting, and not at all pornographic. It was just art, and the human figure.

The kids looked at some of the other art works, but chose not to do the naked man exhibition so sat in the foyer and played on the iPads.

Everyones feet were hurting, and we’d seen about as much art as we were interested in, so we headed home and called it a day.

PS – If you ever get a chance to view the Naked Man exhibit, it really is worth a look.

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