Thursday, October 25, 2007

now bring on Vienna

Day 16

we left St. Gallen and headed toward Austria around noon
i wish we'd had enough time to stop in Liechtenstein again
and see more of it in daylight
but we had at least 6 hours ahead of us
and were off to a late start
the drive through Austria was absolutely beautiful
the most scenic i have ever experienced
we drove through some incredibly long tunnels
that went straight through mountains
including one that has to be one of the longest in the world
at 60 miles an hour it took us about 15 minutes to get to the other side
it was bizarre
for lunch we stopped in the world renowned ski resort
it's a quaint, very pretty town surrounded by gigantic mountains we found the city center and walked around the town a little
there's a turquoise colored river running through the middle
with beautiful bridges crossing it
and some very old buildings on either side
we found a little street fair where a polka band was playing
and some very drunk Austrians were singing and dancing
of course there was another merry-go-round that Gavin had to ride
he chose the choo-choo train and yelled,
“i’m winning! i’m winning” the whole time (???)
we then drove for a few more hours and neared Salzburg where
the Sound of Music was filmed
unfortunately Jayme only had a Vienna guide book
or she would have been crawling all over that city looking for the convent
the big white house, the gazebo etc.
apparently the Austrians have never heard of the Sound of Music
and are completely baffled by American tourists
looking for movie landmarks
she did have time to research where the hill was that “maria” ran up
singing the title song
it was in the town of Mondsee which was about 10 km outside of Salzburg
we didn’t know which hill it was as the entire countryside is made of
big rolling green hills
but we are pretty sure we saw it from the highway
you have no idea how badly Jayme wanted to find that particular hill
and run up it singing that song
can you imagine how many Americans must have done that to the utter confusion and amusement of the locals?
well, we finally got to Vienna at about 8:30
in the dark
starving and exhausted
luckily our GPS guided us straight to our hotel with little confusion
we knew that at this point in the tour we might be needing
some pampering
Paris was nice but it is a hectic city – much like New York –
and definitely not relaxing
we were beginning to suffer from travel fatigue
as we rolled into our posh Vienna hotel
i could write pages about the Meridien
jaw dropping cool from the second you walk into its ultra-modern lobby
filled with glass walls red mod sofas
modern art by local artists
and the coolest lighting i've ever seen
the elevator was all glass
mirrors and comforting lighting
with the sound of water coming in through speakers overhead
the hallway to our room had big squares of pink lit up beside each door
when we entered our room Jayme and i both gasped
it was a room fit for Bowie
the nicest place i'd ever stayed in
on the left was a wall of frosted green glass with an almost invisible door
leading to the bathroom
straight ahead were two huge floor to ceiling windows
which looked out onto the beautiful trees and buildings of the Openring
we were literally 100 yards or so from the main opera house
a king size bed to the left with a tall glass headboard
that had gothic cathedral arches etched into it
and was lit up by hidden lights
the bed linens were all white with the biggest, fluffiest pillows i have ever seen
Gavin had his own little bed with the same pillows
there were two big armchairs, a desk, a table or workstation,
a coffee table and a gigantic plasma tv
there was the coolest sculpture on one of the tables of a white hand
holding two big green apples
the glass closet door behind the headboard of the bed
had the coolest industrial handles
i spent at least 5 minutes examining them
wishing i could take the design and make some at home
there was a free minibar
a coffee/tea/hot chocolate station plus a safe
behind a large floor to ceiling mirror in the hallway
there was an ironing board, iron, pants press and hairdryer
the bathroom was freakishly cool
all of the walls were this green, frosted glass
the sink was a big glass bowl
the shower was a room of green glass with a shower head that had three jets
one regular, overhead massage jet, and two others that basically sprayed your back
and your rear quarters
one of the best things about this room was that it had beautiful hardwood floors
and really, really, clean carpet
i can’t tell you how good it felt to lay some bare piggies down on this floor
after seeing the grotesquely filthy carpets
on the floor of every single hotel we'd been in so far
we decided to order room service at 9:30pm
which was only 3 Euros more than it would have been to just go downstairs
and eat in the restaurant
it was luxurious
we sat in our monogrammed bathrobes and pigged out
Jayme had fish and chips and i had some kind of ciabatta sandwich
we finished it off with crème brulee
topped with berries
we all went to bed that night
in rockstar luxury
with full tummies and dreams of exploring Vienna
the next day


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