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Vienna, Austria

So instead of Prague we ended up in Vienna! When we inquired about trains, the train went through Vienna, so we figured we would stop there for a night. We had a six seat cabin all to ourselves which was excellent because we could move the seats to make a bed each. I slept really well and woke up looking at the snowy peaks of Austria! Vienna is very nice. I'm not sure how to describe it. It has less antiquities than Rome, but there is kind of a Medieval feel to the place. I am still surprised by the graffiti present in Europe. I know Australia has it's fair share of Graffiti, but we don't have buildings with hundreds of years of history!

The difference from Vienna to Rome was apparent immediately. For a start, in Rome, you RUN across the road before you get taken out. Vienna is very Germanic and organised. Only tourists (especially Italian ones) cross before the little green man (and little green person on a bike!) appears. The street manners remind me a lot of Newcastle in the UK. People pick a line to walk and you daren't step in their way. I got the dirtiest look from a lady today for happening to walk a little too slowly in front of her and her pram. This was after we saw a guy run his shoulder into a young lady. Crazy stuff.

Vienna has the same beggars that Italy had, if a little less dramatic. The beggars here will sit in little alcoves with a cup for money, whereas the Roman beggars will directly confront you for money. I had a guy approach me outside the Vatican saying he was a refugee fro Macedonia and his family needed just 1 Euro cent from me to survive. You can't buy a brass razzoo or a plastic one for one Euro cent. Unbelievable. I'm always a sucker for a battler, but I managed to resist the calling of people apparently down on their luck. We saw a lady and two children (her grand-children I would say) begging on the train. No-one gave them anything. They stopped their crying and wailing and patiently waited for the train to stop at the next station so they could board the next carriage. That kind of put me on the back foot as to their situation. It just seems like a business to most of these people. I'd like to know what the situation with welfare is in these countries, as well as government housing, that sort of thing. Every time we went to an amazing piece of Roman architecture we would prepare ourselves for the assault of people offering us half-price umbrellas or special deals on tours.

I know I sound a little jaded, but I was struck by the immense size and scale of the Vatican, and being a religious place I thought it was horrendous that people would hawk their wares outside. Mind you, every step we took on the way to the Sistene Chapel wasn't too far from a Vatican endorsed gift shop. You can't look at the treasures in the Vatican and listen to a priest talk about empty bellies with a straight face. Unless you've seen the mass of gold, jewels and paintings of inestimable worth in the Vatican you probably wouldn't understand.

All I wanted to see in the Vatican was the Sistene chapel. We went into Saint Peter's basilica first and I was blown away. I wasn't too happy at the amount of people taking pictures though. It was the same as the Pantheon for me. I think grandiose religious places, whether Christian, Jew or Muslim, should be seen as a place of worship not a place for people to gawk at the architectural wonderment and take pictures of the pretty statues. Places of worship are built for the glory of god after all.

Okay, that was probably enough about religion, just had to get that off my chest. We are planning to go to Prague tomorrow, so it's definitely maybe going to happen. We walked all afternoon around Vienna today but I know it wasn't really a good look at what makes Vienna tick. Unfortunately we've only got about a week more to tour around until we go somewhere special for Christmas and then back to the UK for new years.

permalink written by  10bastards on December 17, 2008 from Vienna, Austria
from the travel blog: Eurotrip
tagged Vienna

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