Days 5 and 6: Tension in Vienna

Hallo and Guten Tag from the lovely city of Vienna, Austria. Another city in which my knowledge base is virtually non-existent. Boys choir. Arnold Schwarzenegger. Sausages. Ok, better than I thought, but still terribly cliche.  I hope to change that with this visit.

Our travel contigent of Shelton, Brad, and myself, have found a boutique hotel of affordable fare. We booked separate rooms, a feat we accomplished in Bratislava, as well, but one that we would rather not do consistently over the span of two and a half weeks.  It certainly adds up.  Alas, I had my own room and was thankful for some time apart from my travel squad.

And tonight, on the eve of our sixth full day abroad, while we sipped on espressos and ate chocolate treats on a crowded street in Vienna, the three of us experienced our first major dispute.  We now have dissension in our unit. Tensions wound tight. Brad has taken to spearheading the trip's destinations, which has worked out fine thus far, but tonight we discussed our next stop after Venice and have not come to an agreement.  We may disband for a few days and then rendezvous in Munich. In fact, even typing that now sounds infinitely cool. 'Rendezvous in Munich.' We shall see if it comes to fruition or if this conflict was all due to the anxiety wrought from an over-caffeinated espresso.

Speaking of espressos, Brad pridefully boasts to us all that his current drink makes three altogether for the day. He tells us that he's had two doubles and one single, which I figure, in a roundabout way, is equivalent to five espressos. Brad, too, has drawn that conclusion, and his smile doubles in size. Must be a new record.

I awoke promptly at 7am the following day to the sounds of men and construction in the streets below. My room was on the 7th floor and I kept the window open because thats what one does with weather as immaculate as this.

So I went for a stroll in the city amongst the early risers and professional go-getters of Vienna. A lovelier time has never been had.  Towards the end of my trek I stumbled upon a tent full of singing teenagers in a park.  Benches were set up inside of the large enclosement and once I heard what they were singing, I knew I had to listen longer. They were bellowing 'The Lion Sleeps Tonight,' in broken English, which, if they would have stopped after finishing I would have considered my morning a total success, but they contiuned, and in doing so, might have made my trip.

They launched into a Beatles medley that I feel of the utmost fortune to have caught on video. The crowd sang along to the energetic teens, seemingly bursting at the seems with Beatle mania. I will most likely use the audio from the recording as the background for my vacation edit I'll be making, which I'm already looking forward to editing and posting for you.

And now for more from my traveling companions, Shelton and Brad, whom have deemed 1:30pm, or 13:30pm here in Vienna, as precisely the right hour to awaken from their slumber.

Eating lunch with them today and I took particular interest in Brad's diet. It has suddenly dawned on me that he doesn't eat full meals, rather he receives nourishment throughout the day from a steady stream of pastry chocolate sweets, ice creams, and espressos.

Over here in Euroland, I realize I've  become quite successful in my own business of minding.

Viennians do so enjoy a good patio, for this, I cannot blame them. The hub of the city is lined with sidewalk cafes and bistros. But their love of a seat on a patio is rivaled only by their affinity for the ice cream cones held tight in their mittens. At all hours of the day, one can find an Austrian licking cone.

We slipped into the Albertina museum a half hour before closing in order to see the 'Monet bis Picasso' exhibit. Since we are friends, you and I, and you've been following our trek thus far, I feel like honesty is forthright in our relationship.  That being said, if you see one impressionist landscape painting, you've seem them all. However, it is nice to see paintings in person that I've only previously seen in old art history books.

The three of us, feeling a bit ostracized from certain gatherings of Europeans for speaking English loudly or perhaps a tad brashly, have developed a series of abbreviated catchphrases to denote places, events, and people. We have become so adapt at our version of English that as we were bantering today on the train, an eavesdropper called us out. 'I'm from America and I speak English and I have no clue what you guys are saying.' Mission Accomplished.

I got a haircut for the first time in 8 years today from a person besides myself.  Another man's dainty man-hands rubbed my scalp and lathered all of my juicy thick lockes. His name was Wilhelm and wow was Wilhelm gentle. Wilhelm cared. Not many people care, anymore. Just walking down the street, look around you. Gaze upon the throngs of the unkempt. For God's sake, people, kempt yourselves. People don't care anymore. But Wilhelm did. Wilhelm was a short, breadroll of a man with pyramid hair and a toothy grin. Wilhelm's eyes were like tiny chocolate chips set into a tan slab of cookie dough. Wilhelm spoke English excellently and I was taken by the preciseness of Wilhelm's craft and how Wilhelm nimbly whisked my noggin. Here I was, doing this, cutting my own hair, by myself, for the past 8 years? Who am I to do Wilhelm's job. If I could, and I mentioned this to Wilhelm, I'd employ Wilhelm to follow me about and trim me, care for me.  Wilhelm washed my hair afterward, massaging my temples, caressing my mind with his stubby digits. If Willhelm is with me, whom then, shall stand against me?

Tonight our train will depart late in the eve and bring us to a city familiar to the world, the famous Venice, Italy, city of the Gondola and Canal.

Until then, make mine Wilhelm.