Vienna calling, the sodding journey home.

This one doesn’t deserve a day number, as it really wasn’t a part of the holiday, possibly one of the most infuriating 15 hours of my life. You may be interested to know that I’m still halfway through the last day while I’m typing this, but I’ve had a bit to drink, and really fell like I need to get this vitriol out of my system before I bite someone’s face off.

Admittedly, the day started off perfectly. We’d packed early and headed off into the reception 30 minutes before the driver was ready to pick us up. he was a really nice guy, and he has a good chat about what had happened on our trip. He didn’t seem surprised about the conversation we’d experienced on Day 6. In fact, he seemed a bit surprised that we didn’t go for it, and also gave us some tips for locations of that nature should we ever return.

We arrived at the airport, thanked the driver for his excellent service, and this is where things started to go just that little bit pear-shaped. After typing our details into the self-checkin computer, we got our boarding passes and luggage things printed. Jonathan was entirely exempt from the baggage procedure, as his case fitted in hand luggage. Remember, our bags would need to go to Heathrow. We’d pick them up, then make our way to Gatwick for the flight back to Newcastle.

Anyway, Chris went to one desk, I went to another. We both had the same “credentials”. Our bags disappeared up the conveyor, and we headed up through the check-in gates. At this point, all I wanted, and cared about was free wi-fi, which the airport seemed to offer. It wasn’t until we were sat in the departure gate, did I manage to get connected. Some of you may remember my “Hello From Vienna” post, where I said “Or rather, the airport, as I sit in the departure lounge awaiting part one of what will be an awful journey back.” You’ll have to forgive the typos. It’s a touchscreen. I think it all came down the fact I knew we were against the clock. I also thought that Chris was going to bail the Gatwick – Newcastle flight, opting to stay with Jonathan for a bit.

Nothing could prepare me for the horror that would lie ahead. Moments after posting that blog post, I needed the toilet. I headed off to the cubicle, and without me noticing, it turned out to be one of those freaky German “shelf” toilets. You poo onto what is literally a shelf, presumably so you can erm… “examine your stool”. Trust me, there were no surprises, except the one I got when I stood up, looked down and thought I’d used the toilet incorrectly.

The gate opened, and we headed off onto the plane. Chris really hated the experience. At this point, I had nothing to hate.

The flight was brilliant. I oddly fell asleep, waking just as we were coming back to the British Isles. The path down below the clouds was literally like the set of Eastenders. I almost lost a testicle when we flew over the Millennium Dome / O2 Arena. The other testicle nearly burst when we flew near Wimbledon’s grounds. Unfortunately, this would be the last happy experience I’d have on the entire trip. Usual shit ensued, as we passed through passport control. We headed off to baggage. Chris’s turned up. I stood there, waiting. The board said “Still offloading”. By the time there was one bag left, I was freaking out. It wasn’t mine, obviously. The board still said offloading, but after this bag went around the fourth time, I expected a holy fuckup.

I headed off to the baggage desk. I handed my receipt to the guy behind the counter…

Him: “oh yeah, there’s been a mistake. Your bag has landed, but it’s going to Gatwick via van… it won’t make it to your connecting Newcastle flight”. Slightly pissed off, I completed the paperwork, It took ages. It also became apparent that because the plane was delayed and so was the baggage, the three hours we had to travel 50 miles from Heathrow to Gatwick had considerably shrunk.

Jonathan lives in Surbiton, so the plan was to get a taxi to there. He’d drive us the rest of the way to Gatwick.

We jumped into a black cab, £20 each to Surbiton. After my bag shenanigans, I was happy to pay. All I wanted to do was get home. Something became very clear. The bag and plane delay meant that we’d be cutting things incredibly fine. Jonathan did his best to get us there in time, though traffic going through Surbiton didn’t help at all. I don’t think I’ve ever heard C or J get so angry. It was plain sailing from there to Gatwick, until we got close to the airport, there was another half-mile of traffic to the entrance. Chris, probably rightly, thought “fuck this”, and jumped out, heading towards the terminus. I’d got what little baggage I’d accumulated and ran after Chris. Be aware, my feet were still on fire at this point, and I’m watching the clock. I think we had about 17 minutes. We arrive in the South Terminal, with no sign of the British Airways travel desk. Chris asks someone, who points us to the North Terminal. A train takes us over there, and we arrive at the North Terminal… Whoo, British Airways desk. there we go. About 4 minutes to spare. We go to check in.

Him: “We don’t do flights to Newcastle from here”…

Instantly, I check the paperwork. Something stares back at me. A little block of toner that reads “Flybe”.

“Well, you’ll have to go to the Flybe check-in desk, won’t you”, was the reply from this instantly dislikable bastard. That was it, game over as far as I was concerned. Defeated, by the rudest bit of customer service I’ve ever had. Technically I wasn’t actually a BA customer, but you know what I mean. The paperwork I was holding was the victim of a fit of rage. My work colleagues will know this as a “pissy fit”. I was in rage mode at this point, but Chris remembers the afore-mentioned twat shouting at me to pick it up. I didn’t, and as far as I know they’re still on the floor there. I was defeated at this point. How long would it take us to get back to the South Terminal? Dunno. It felt like the longest journey I’ve ever had. Jonathan was there, wondering where WE were. Turns out he was the only one who read the itinerary correctly and knew where we should check in at. We went to the Flybe check-in desk. One of those stupid auto-check in machines wouldn’t allow us to do it, so I went to the desk. I ask if we’re too late to check in. the cheery woman behind the desk gleefully answered that we were still on time… “Oh, thank God for that”, I reply. the last two hours of shit were instantly flushed away.

“So, zis is for the… 8pm flight, yaa?”

There. Right there. That moment. That second. That question. That exact statement. The answer was no. We wanted the 16:20 flight.

“Ahh, sorree, ze check-in is closed”.

The holiday was over. We were stranded. I said something to the woman behind the desk. I can’t remember my exact words, but it was on the lines of “If BA hadn’t lost my baggage, we’d have been on time”. I knew there was nothing she could have done. Technically I do this type of job myself, so her completely apathetic “Oh dear” was noted, yet duly ignored, as the directed towards the customer service desk

Technically, we were stuck, and I’ve never felt so broken in a long while. It’s the first time I’ve ever missed a flight. I didn’t even bother contacting the customer service desk. the mood I was in probably would have seen us (or, at least me) being escorted out of the airport. I have watched countless hours of shows like “Airport”, and they show people kicking off. I always thought they were over-reacting. I felt ashamed and positively gutted that I was now one of those.

My world had ended. I was in London, no flight home, no baggage, nothing. I rang Daddykins, pretty much in tears about the whole situation, mainly through rage rather than actual emotion. Nothing he could say would reassure me that I’d see Hartlepool again without denting my wallet with money I didn’t have. Something I’ve only just realised, is that all of the photos, facebook updates, tweet, phone calls and Endomondo reports provide a pretty accurate timeline of what happened, and if some stupid bitch in Vienna hadn’t sent my bags to the wrong airport, we’d have made it.

There was nothing for it, we would have to get the train back. Chris knew there was a Grand Central back to Hartlepool at about 19:00, from Kings Cross. This was probably the lowest moment. I was in the back of Jonathan’s car. He’d disappeared somewhere to pay the parking charges, Chris was wandering about somewhere. I was in the odd position of feeling the early stages of dehydration, while at the same time busting for a pee. Add that to how depressed how I was, the feeling wasn’t great. Add that to the fact that I rehydrated myself at a petrol station and paid more for the water than what the petrol cost, checked my funds at a cash point and realising, after drawing out the cost of the train fare, I literally had £16 to last me 19 days.

At this point, it was about 16:30. I know this because of my facebook posts. Despite feeling like shit, I thought my troubles might have given someone a smile, so I kept updating facebook. Chad *loved* it. Cunt.

The next part of the ordeal was to get back from Gatwick to Surbiton train station. Remember, we still had a time limit. The M25 had an accident which slowed down things considerably. I’d already resigned myself to sleeping in a bush that evening. I just left him in charge. Two tickets were purchased from Surbiton to Vauxhall, and from there to Kings Cross. Basically, a Zone 1-6 £8 day thing. I’d give you all the details, but I’ve literally just given the ticket away to a guy called Geoff who likes such things. Glad you found my blog by the way.

The train picked us up at Surbiton and trook us past some sites such as the Battersa Power station. OK, by sights, I mean one. It was raining, and I really didn’t care

Chris was like a man possessed though the underground tunnels. I literally had to tell him to slow down, thanks to my feet. He told me afterwards, that we were actually extremely late getting the train. We arrive at Kings Cross / St. Pancreas (or whatever it’s called), to see a familiar looking train sat, waiting at the platform. We were at least guaranteed to get home, though we didn’t actually have a ticket. We’d get one when the conductor came around.

I went for a much needed piss at this point. I don’t care about the rule of not flushing the bog at the station. It’s 2011. These things should have tanks, or something. I sat back at my seat, and Chris delivered the ‘bad’. There was a broken down train somewhere near Peterborough, and we’d be stuck in the station for about an hour. I could have cried. Some of you would have noticed the photo of me on facebook, of someone “entirely fucked off with the British transport system”. Well, that was took right at that moment.

Eventually, the train set off. At the first opportunity, I headed off to the bar. I didn’t realise they had an entire carriage dedicated to being a bar. Obviously, everything was out of cans / bottles. I didn’t care, I was happy to return to my seat, my cold Stella ready to be consumed.

We’d got a table seat. Now, on the Grand Central, they have “game boards” printed onto the table. Apparently, you can “rent” game sets for your journey. Some tables have Cluedo, some have Monopoly, but they all have chess/draughts boards printed on them. this journey was going to be filled with abject tedium. Thankfully, I had a bag of Euro coins on me. Plenty of 1cent and 2cent coins. Enough to have a game of draughts!

Things were going swimmingly, until another train went past. The sudden shockwave caused the coins to be scattered all over the board, and the game had to be abandoned. Thanks to a genius bit of real-life bugfixing by yours truly (we simply moved the pieces towards the edge of the squares so when a train went past, there was less change of movement to other squares), we were able to complete a few games. Each game turned out to be a lengthy battle of cunning and stealth, taking much longer than a game of draughts really should. Eventually, the Stella I was drinking in the previous picture made it hard to distinguish between the 1 cent and 2 cent coins, so the games were abandoned.

My mind turned to the fact that we hadn’t actually paid anything for this journey. My heart would stop at every whoosh of the sliding doors. Amusingly, one of those whooshes turned out to be one of the management types at Employment Palace. We didn’t exchange words, more of an acknowledgement of “Is that… nah, it can’t be…”

Stations went past, and we were getting closer to home. Still there was no conductor. We arrived in Hartlepool at 10:48, and my mood instantly lightened. We didn’t actually pay a bean for the journey home. All it cost me was 5 hours of my life, which is, to be fair far less than the time I’ve taken typing these blogs on the holiday, uploading the photos and deleting Chad’s comments.

I’d made arrangements for Daddykins to pick me up once we’d returned back to the town. There was just one thing I had to do. As soon as I left the train station, I was straight down to my favourite Indian… “Chicken vindaloo, pilau rice, naan bread and chips please”.

I’d originally intended to finish the posting there, but if you’ve managed to read this far, another few paragraphs clearly can’t hurt. I thought I’d update you with my baggage story. Pretty much, my entire wardrobe was in that case, compressed to a “zip file” (you have to zip the case to close it, see what I did there? Maybe that’s now zip files got their name? Meh). I don’t think I mentioned what I got given. A stock letter with a claim number scrawled on the top in biro.

I was home, and my baggage still hadn’t turned up at my doorstep. I thought I’d give the website a go. Facebook describes in perfect, stunning HD quality what happened, and my reaction.

Once again, I was spitting blood. I wasn’t shitting blood, but I’m sure that afore-mentioned vindaloo pushed me close to the edge. I gave it a couple of hours, and tried the website again. No joy. I just had to ring their 0844 number via the house phone. Naturally, I was forced into one of those pressy-button scenarios, with images of my bag being fed into an industrial crusher flashing before my eyes.

After pressing some buttons, I was transferred to an Indian call centre. You’ll be disappointed to hear that my experience with them was commendable. The guy promised me that my bag would be here by 5. True to his word, there was a knock on the door at 4:45PM, my bag arrived safe and sound.

Two days later, I arrived back at Employment Palace, only to find this was the backdrop to one of the computers I use…

Vienna Calling, Day 7

The final day begins! It was a mere 24 hours until I’d be flying into Newcastle airport, therefore, I wanted the final day to begin early. It… er, didn’t. C+J were sound asleep intil about 10:30, despite making plans to get up early, as it was pretty much the end of the holiday. Still, one thing that was in our favour was the weather. It was absolutely boiling, and probably the warmest day since we’d got there. My first priority was to get some photos for this blog, so I started off with “The Little Stage”, where the previous night’s “festivities” were still sinking in…

That was the bar we’d spent most of the nights in. We were to give it a miss on this last night.

One other thing, as I mentioned was the “street art”. One particular one I hadn’t mentioned was on the outside of the Pilgramstrasse underground station, and clearly visible whichever platform you exit from. I think I’m more interested what goes through people’s minds when they design such drawings.

We headed back to the museum quarter, because I was particularly interested on what was happening at that harvest festival we’d found the day before. Turns out, not a lot. I’m not sure if they were still setting up, but there just seemed to be a load of tents. Maybe if the language barrier hadn’t been in the way, we might have got somewhere, and knew enough about what was going on. We didn’t, and left the place pretty quickly, but not before I walked out into the path of a passing cyclist, presumably getting insulted in another language. Whoopsy.

We walked around the shopping area for a bit, which was a complete waste of time. Pretty much everything had five figures before the decimal point, and I was day 2 into my £3 Matalan T-shirt. I didn’t really feel in place.

One thing I wanted to do, was to go up the big tower we’d seen in previous days. I missed the opportunity to go up the one in Berlin. I didn’t want to miss this one.

From our walk in the previous day, I knew it was one or two stops after where we’d got on the underground, so we knew we’d be in the vacinity of it when we got off the underground. It was the “Commercial Quarter” this time. I wonder, just how many quarters there were. This area was very modern. Construction was going all around us, and there were some interesting building designs. Oh, and LED streetlights.

Anyway, we reached a park area, which I now know as “Donaupark”. It was still about half a mile away, though the perspective made it look longer. I must admit, the standard of “mindless graffiti” here was rather more upper class here, than back home in Hartlepool.


A short walk though the park (for me, still with blisters, it was like a short walk with rusty nails in my socks) later, and we arrived at the tower.


I clearly had no problem with the height, but Chris did. He really didn’t want to go up there. There was no point trying to get him to go up if he didn’t want to, so I’d do a reconnaissance mission, go up there, do what I wanted to do and see if it was as high as it made out to be. Chris could then go up with Jonathan if he wanted to.

I paid my money, and headed off to the lift. The lift had a clear ceiling. As it went up, lights illuminated the lift shaft. The fact that it literally took seconds to reach the top caused confusion between me and the poor lady whose job it was to go up and down a shaft for minimal pay (f’nar!). I have the conversation ‘on tape’ as I forgot to stop the camera. I’ve not dared listen to it yet. I remember it in my head as being “awkward”. Tsk. They leave me on my own for five seconds…

The view was just as spectacular as I’ve hoped. Usual rules apply. A picture says a thousand words…




What I didn’t know, is that there was a revolving restaurant above my head, and I only found that out by Jonathan telling me, after his trip up there. Bugger.

We hastened back from whence we came. I’m not sure if that sentence is valid in English, but it meant we returned back to the expensive shopping precinct, as Jonathan had ran out of clean shirts, and sharing a plane ride home could be rather unpleasant for those concerned. To be honest, I know fuck all about fashion, but I know one thing. Certain shops that look expensive ARE expensive. The first shop we went into, I just knew he wasn’t going to get anything out of here. All of the brand names were the same as at home, except that I’d scoff at paying £50 for a certain brand of shirt because of its label. I think I let out an audible cry when I picked up the same shirt, with a €150 price tag. Good lord, I’ll stick with Matalan. At least if I spill curry onto it, there’s not much of a loss.

The second shop we went into was a little more reasonable.One thing that struck me as odd was the fact I nearly stood on a dog. No, really. There were dogs on leads walking around the shop. I kid you not. Jonathan managed to find a shirt for the journey home, while I was quite happy to recycle a previously worn one. You know, sometimes I have to check and make sure I’m not circumcised. (Oooo, there’s a line – Ed)

There were also souvenirs bought. Not from me, you understand. I’ve told everyone I know I’m not bringing them anything back, in the understanding that when they go away, they don’t have to bring me anything back. It’s an understanding that works perfectly, even if it’s a little anti-social. Fair enough, if someone requests a keyring in the shape of the Leaning Tower of Piza, they can get it themselves, I was a few hundred miles away.

Back to the hotel we went, I got a better photo of the >strange orange “street art” thing I posted from earlier in the week, as well as an image of the streetlighting near the hotel. I could describe it in great detail, but I thought I’d save that for the gallery. it’d be interesting to get a picture of the streetlighting working. I’ve never been in a location where domestic fluorescent tubes are used in streetlighting…



We hammered the pool table for what would be the final time. Reluctantly, our goodbyes were said to it, as we headed off for something to eat. I was still in agony, but not due to the blisters. Because I’d spent the last few days walking like someone who’d had nails hammered into the soles of his feet, it meant I’d been using leg muscles I didn’t know existed, so there was no way I was going to travel a great distance. Instead, we returned back to the ‘5er Brau’. there seemed to be a lot more people out this evening. this was mainly because they were broadcasting the Austrian version of “Match of The Day” on two big televisions. Still, we trusted the food, and could remember the menu. I went for the schnitzel again. I was going to go for the pork one, but couldn’t remember where it was on the menu, so just pointed at the chicken one, shouting “THAT ONE”…

The food was, again heavenly,, and we headed back to the hotel. It was around 10pm at this point, so it was still early. We attempted to go for a walk, but really only got as far as around the block, as my legs were ready to fall off. We headed back tyo the hotel, and had a couple of beers outside while discussing the journey home. I think we all knew it was going to be a nightmare, but I don’t think anyone knew just how bad…

Vienna Calling, Day 6

To be quite honest, I wasn’t looking forward to today, for we were off to see one of the 4 “The Third Man” exhibitions dotted around the city, which involves going into the actual sewers, and standing in the same chamber where these particular scenes were filmed.

As I’ve mentioned before, I’ve never actually seen the film. My only knowledge of it, is the music and that’s mainly because there used to be a “Piccadilly Bar” ice cream van that travelled Hartlepool that used the “Third Man” theme as its chimes. It always struck me as a bit odd, as it always seemed a bit of a dark film to advertise such a cheery product.

I went downstairs to find Jonathan in the reception, hovering over the computers trying to book the tickets. It seemed a pretty long, drawn out process just to book tickets, but then, this was the only English tour for this day, and it was at 1PM.

It gave us enough time for us to get ready, and also to don suitable clothing (there was no way I was going in my bestest Slazenger T-shirt). The walk from the hotel, to the sewer was, to say the least, painful. the blisters on the previous day had pretty much doubled in size, and putting pressure on my feet was agonizing. Still, we made it there, Jonathan handed over our booking reservation, and we awaited around for the tour to start. Chris was looking forward to it the least. He disappeared for a drink of water in a nearby shop, and I didn’t think he was going to come back. Amazingly, he did.

The entry was, quite literally, a sewer grate, as seen in “The Third Man”. Orson Welles goes down it. We waited around the top of it, only to be greeted every so often with the smell of raw sewage.

The other tour group returned from the same grate, thankfully looking clean, and not stinking of crap. This was slightly more encouraging, there would be no plodging through effluent.

We don the protective equipment, consisting of just a hard hat, and begin to head down the sewer, via a stone spiral staircase. Literally, the worst part is just getting down there. When your nose first gets below ground level, it’s pretty overpowering, and that’s the only time. It was too much for one guy, who, as soon as he got down there, turned back round and came back up. Wimp. I wonder if he got a refund?

The first room is just a chamber, showing how the water passes through the sewer system. Secondly, you go through the tight corridors, which leads into the main “exhibition”. The main chamber where the film was shot. The way it’s filmed, it’s meant to look like a long chamber of corridors, this wasn’t the case, it was pretty small. You’re on a ledge, and below you, is your first sight of sewage. The lights dim, and a projector shows clips from the movie, including the bit that was filmed where we were stood. Next, the lights come on, and there came a brief explanation of which different channel does, at this point, you see everything. Bog roll floating past, sweetcorn, the lot. Hoooooorp.

Next was another chamber, split into two. One side had mucky water coming into it, the other had incredibly brown looking water coming in from it. It looked disgusting, but the tour guide informed us this was nothing to do with the digestive transit of the residents, instead, it was from a local brewery who were clearing out their tanks.

The last, and most interesting stop was the “River Wein”. The river is used to provide clean water to the sewer, and is a massive 2km underground tunnel, with the river running through it. It’s an amazing feat of architecture, and there’s no smell!

You’ll be happy to know that there are no photos of this trip. I wasn’t going to risk any electronic devices down there.

We emerged back in the daylight at the end of the tour, thankful to see the sun again. Chris, despite not looking forward to the experience survived it. I wasn’t looking forward to it either, but I’m quite happy to say it wasn’t half as bad I was expecting it to be!

I still wanted to go back to the hotel and change, however, so we headed back, me, walking like an idiot, and I had a quick shower and a change of clothes. The shower helped my feet seem a little more normal.

Chris wanted to see the market we were at the other night. It seemed an interesting place, and it was! I’m normally not one for markets. Unless they’re selling CDs or records, I can’t really be bothered, but this one I liked. It was busy, the food looked and smelled awesome. The only downside was the amount of wasps. They were everywhere. Oddly, this didn’t particularly bother me.

We looked around for somewhere to eat, and after so long away from curry, I just had to have one. There was a little Indian place we’d passed, which appeared to be really popular, so we went there.

We all went for the Indian platter. Seemed a good idea to try a multitude of the dishes, but in smaller portions. 2 of the 4 were fantastic, whereas the other 2 weren’t really my cup of tea. One was a vegetable curry, with the initial taste of beetroot, and an after-taste of fish. Not for me, that one!

Next came the strangest part of the holiday, for me, and yes, I’m going to head onto the subject of toilets once again. Shortly after leaving the indian, everything started “moving south”. I hate public toilets with a passion, but knowing it was a mile back to the hotel, and I probably wouldn’t make it, I just had to use them. Sigh. I enetered the toilets, urinals were on one side, and a door straight in front, which I assume was the bog. Well, it was. There were 4 of them. In front of me was a woman in a blue apron. I froze on the spot. She said something in German. Had I strolled into the wrong toilets by accident? No, there were urinals! The woman asked for 50 cents, and showed me to a cubicle, and closed the door behind me. Turns out the cubicle had its own sink. It was remarkably clean. Oddly, I was seriously uncomfortable with the fact that there was someone the other side of a wooden panel knowing I was having a poo. Yet, I’m perfectly happy to dedicate whole paragraphs on the subject via the internet…

Er, anyway. it was still early, so we still needed plans for the rest of the afternoon. Chris wanted to see the “mumok”, the modern art museum, which we’d tried, and failed to visit earlier in the week. By now, we knew this underground like the back of our hand, and were there in mere minutes…


We walked up to it, only to find that, yup, it was absolutely shut. That’s not a typo, I said shut. It wouldn’t reopen until 7PM, and at this point it was half past four. Well, that knocked a nail straight through *that* idea. We were in the Museum quarter, and hadn’t even explored a quarter of it on our previous trip. I believe I pointed in a random direction, towards a large fountain thing, and we just headed in that direction.

It’s taken me until now to find the place where we went on Google Earth. We went from Museumplatz, down Maria-Theresien-Platz, through the Heldenplatz gates, and into a place that has so many images of it taken, it’s just made Google Earth crash. Bugger. It would appear that they were setting up for some kind of harvest festival, as marquees were quickly being erected, along with a stage decorated with fresh fruit and vegetables…


I grabbed a programme, and although I thought I struggled with my German, I’d picked enough up to find that the festivities lasted for Saturday and Sunday.

The highlight for me came a few minutes later. We passed through the buildings to “In Der Burg”, and heard the sound of music. There were a stringed trio, some guy on a bass, another guy with a guitar, and a woman with a violin, named the “Balcony Players”. I did get a video, audio on it isn’t brilliant as the microphone picked up more wind noise than anything else, but it’s listenable, though they really should reconsider that vocal section…

They had CDs for sale, but at €15, I passed, hoping to be able to download that particular track when I got home (legally, of course), but no luck. And, on their website, it’s €17.50 Riiiight.

We headed out to Michaelerplatz for a quick look sound, there were some fascinating ruins in the centre of it, which if you have Google Earth, you can get a 3D view of.

There were more horse carriages here. they seemed to be everywhere around here, obviously for the tourist trade. It’s the only margainally touristy thing about the place, except for the “Mostly Mozart” gift shops every 15 yards or so.

We headed off back to the hotel, and had the now customary pool table session. For most of the time, we were the only people using it. I think I saw one other person on there, playing with himself. Er, no, I didn’t mean it like that. He was playing with balls… um.

We went off in the search of food for the penultimate time. By this time, the blisters had flared up again, and I was in agony. I really didn’t want to go too far. A short walk from the hotel was a place called “5er Brau”. Exactly why it has a 5 in its name, I’ll never know. I am so glad I chose this place. We picked a table, sat down, and ordered food. Suddenly, my phone vibrated, I’d received a text message… “Welcome to T-Mobile Austria! We offer you excellent network quality”. This was odd. I’d been on Orange since I’d got there, and never once could get an internet signal. Just for funzies, I switched the internet on my phone. It only sodding worked! I got another text immediately after, saying that I’d been charged £2 because I was on Vodafone Passport. I expected this, but I knew that it was working! The first thing I did (after hammering Foursquare and Facebook) was to phone Daddykins, and give him an update on what was happening. Oh, and to check the webcam.

Food came, and I had the chicken shnitzel. I can’t remember exactly what its German name was, but it was absolutely delicious. If I had any complaint, they’d put too much salt on the chips, but apart from that, it was heaven on a plate. YES.

We ate up, paid up, and headed back to “The Little Stage”, for what would turn out to be the last time. Two blokes were at the bar, who instantly tagged onto the obvious tourists walking through the door. Everyone else had ignored us, but these seemed particularly interested into talking to us, and striking up conversation. One of the guys started talking to me, who appeared to be a little worse for wear. He seemed genuine enough, though he could barely understand what I was saying. He asked what I’d been to see in Vienna. My explanation of going down the sewers was completely lost on him. Apparently, in German, it’s “Abwasserkanal”.

I sat down with C+J, both of their spidey senses were tingling. Unaware of the conversation, but now instantly aware that something was not quite right, I tried to avoid them again. It came the time that the beer would need to be filled up. I went to the other end of the bar, and waved my glass at some guy behind the bar. Imagine my face when he greeted in me in no uncertain terms that the fact he doesn’t actually work there. The only space at the bar happened to be between my two best friends. Oh, for fuck’s SAKE.

The second guy who I’d not talked to previously, started talking. Again, just perfectly nonsensical chatter about football. I had to pretend I knew what I was talking about… next came the realization moment…

Him: “So, you want to meet Chelsea?”

My mind, still trying to process information about football took a few moments to process the question, before the euro-cent didn’t just drop, it ricocheted around the room. They were pimps. Fuck. He explained that they don’t get many tourists in these parts.

Him: “What are you going to be doing tonight”
Me: “Er, just having a couple here and back to the hotel”
Him: “That’s pretty lame, yaaaaaa?”

I’m sure, at this point, Chad, if he’s made it this far, is rolling around the floor, laughing his little Japanese socks off.

Two condoms, and €75 later, I…… hahahah, no, not really. I made my excuses to guy #2 and sat back down. C+Js eyes gave me status updates on what was happening with our two best friends. I couldn’t see as there was a wall in the way. Eventually, they got up and left. I was busting for a piss, and after what had just happened, I didn’t fancy using the bogs there, and we headed off back to the hotel. We’d noticed that one of the XXX bars near the hotel had all of the lights in the floors above on. It all suddenly made sense.

At 2302 words, and 12863 characters, this is probably the longest blog post I’ve ever written. The final full day was a mere sleep away.

Vienna Calling, Day 5

Ha! I bet you thought I’d stopped! Sorry, I was doing “other things”…

Day 5 meant it was the beginning of the end. We were now well over 50% through the holiday, and I wanted to cram as much as possible into our last few days in Austria. I did set myself a few goals, such as crossing the Danube on foot (well, over a bridge, but you know what I mean), and buying a Falco CD, but it would appear that the late 80s supserstar has been wipe off the consciousness of the nation. Actually, that isn’t strictly true, I just never saw one proper record shop while I was there.

The day started off with me and Jonathan travelling to use the Ferris wheel we’d visited the day previously Maybe it was the packet of Haribos I’d poured down my neck half an hour before, but I knew one thing, as soon as I stepped foot on the underground, the contents of my guts… erm, headed south for the winter. Touching cloth, as it were.

We were only meant to travel two stops on the underground before changing to another line. Unfortunately, we completely missed this, and before we knew it, we were at the end of the line, and what was even worse, a sign for “WC” was nowhere to be seen. We headed in the opposite direction, and managed to make the change at the correct station. I think I was entirely silent for the entire trip until we reached the wheel. We entered the complex that hosts the wheel, and I ask a nearby security guard where the toilet was. He points me to a set of stairs, leading down to… god only knows.

I waddle down, in the best fashion possible. I reach the bottom of the stairs, only to be greeted with… a turnstile. Yes, a FUCKING TURNSTILE. They wanted me to pay €0,50 for the privilege of desecrating their facilities. I fumble through my pockets, and find that the only coins I had weren’t accepted by this tossing turnstile. I looked around for security cameras, as I probably could have vaulted it easily, but with the position I was in, I thought it’d be best to waddle back upstairs and suffer the ultimate embarrassment… asking Jonathan for a 50-cent coin. He provided me with the appropriate funding, and lets just say, I returned up the stairs a stone lighter, and the next person in the cubicle would have a nasty tiger-stripe to contend with. Turns out it was money well spent. Maybe there are places in England that charge you for the same thing? Dunno. I tend to avoid public bogs wherever possible.

Yes, I’m aware I’ve just typed 300 words on the above subject. It’s just like old times. Anyway, we bought the tickets, and headed off to the wheel. There are displays on the way to it, which display the history of the wheel, which are apparently set out in some of the old carriages that were removed. I’d like to say it was a very detailed history, but some of the lights in the carriages weren’t working Whether this was by design, or whether someone just couldn’t be arsed to change a 60-watter will remain a mystery.

After viewing the history of the wheel, there was only one thing for it, go and see the thing itself. It was still pretty early, so the only people in front of us were a group of (presumably) German tourists, much older than ourselves. They all appeared from the same group, as they all appeared to know each other.

I can give you some technical details about the wheel. It was built in 1897, with a total height of 64.75 metres, and weighs 430 tonnes, or at least the iron does anyway. Yeah, I didn’t remember that. I just brought the free pamphlet back with me.

The ride is best described with photos, as even I am struggling to describe a wheel turning for several minutes.




Of course, there was the obligatory exit through the sodding gift shop.

Off we went, back to the hotel. After the early start, I was starving, and so was Jonathan. While Chris got himself up and about, me and J just had dinner at the hotel. Jonathan opted for the schnitzel, and I had a chicken breast / ham concoction. It appears that the hotel normally don’t do a lunch menu, at the amount of time it took to prepare it was nobody’s business. It was, however, really nice.

The plan for the afternoon was to visit one of the locations where “The Third Man” was filmed. This was Jonathan’s little interest, so we headed over to Karlsplatz, a mere two stops on “t’ untergrund” from where the hotel was. Now, this particular exhibit was interesting. there was no booking office, just a van, with some guy and his laptop. We inquire about English trips, and find out that all of the tickets must be done online. We get given another pamphlet off the guy, and we look at each other with what to do for the rest of the day.

I’ve always had a bit of an ambition, spanning from (I believe), a 1980s copy of “Your Sinclair”, describing something as being “the best thing this side of the Danube”. Anyway, I wanted to experience the other side of the Danube, and if it really was blue. Oddly, the only use of that “best thing” phrase I can find is on a Star Wars website… Google, you have failed me.

We got on the “purple” line, and headed towards a station close to where the Danube was. We get off the train, and we’re presented with something odd. A completely empty tube station. In fact, there was nobody around. Not a soul. Nothing. It was quite apparent that we’d strayed some distance off the tourist trail, and I loved every second of it.


The only way to cross the Danube at the point was a footbridge / cycleway underneath the A23. It’s a major road by the looks of it. It would appear we were on the wrong side of the bridge. One side is a cycleway, the other side is a footpath. Turns out we went the wrong side. Never mind. This one was the most scenic, despite the cyclists hurtling past us at a hundred miles an hour. Give or take.


Som we’re at the bottom of the bridge. It turned out that the Danube is split into two, and that to cross the full river, we have to walk down a cycle path, which would lead us to a footbridge, taking us to the other side. Jonathan inspected a sign, and I agreed that we’d need to head down this path, and we’d soon come across another path in a few hundred yards, and a bridge to complete the journey.

I even managed to get a photograph of my feet in the Danube.


Well, OK, my boots in the Danube.

A mile and a half later, we finally reach this footbridge. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoyed the walk. It reminded me of the HArt to Haswell walkway to some extent, except that we were in the middle of a city. We ended up in a small suburb, cutting through a park, with some rather dubious looking characters. And it looked like it was about to chuck it down. Thankfully, it remained dry, until we reached the tube station.

It seemed like we’d walked for miles, but Endomondo told us differently. Bah. Now, I have no idea whether these blisters happeened because of my shoes, socks, or just… something else random, but this was the end of my feet. I got back to the hotel room, only to find there were blisters where I’d never had blisters before. Bugger.

Despite this, it didn’t stop us playing pool for another good few hours.

Once again, we headed out in the search for food. After two mights at the “Theatercafe”, we wanted to try something different. I can’t remember the name of the place we went to, but the lady didn’t speak a word of English, yet we still managed to order meals and drinks. I think, I actually pointed at the menu at some point, saying “THAT ONE!” My German has improved drastically, I’m sure you’ll agree.

To complete the night, more booze was poured down our necks at “The Little Stage”, and we headed off back to the hotel, for day 6 would see us (possibly) up to our knees in other people’s “doody”…

Vienna Calling, day 4

And so, after the “excitement” of the previous day, day 4 turned out to be just a little bit irritating.

It was another day which also started late. It’s also the day that the least amount of pictures got taken, in the entire history of these holidays, with the shutter firing a mere 23 times. This was mainly because part of the day was spent walking around a museum. We originally planned to go and see the museum of modern art (some of you remember my trip, in Paris to the Pompidou centre, and really liking it), but unfortunately, it was closed on Wednesdays. Or rather, it was closed this particular day. Buttocks.

We opted for the Leopold museum, and works of art which weren’t exactly my cup of tea. Parts of it were good, such as the photography exhibition, the architecture section, and miscellaneous sculptures, but for the most part, it was oil paintings from people who I’d never heard of, featuring crude representations of naked women in oil.

Mmmm, naked women in oil…

Admittedly, this was the closest I came to pussy on the entire trip…


After a couple of hours walking around there, we headed off to find the big, old Ferris wheel featured in “The Living Daylights”. Unfortunately, Jonathan’s guidebook let us down terribly, to the point where I wanted to take it off him and throw it in the “Donau Canal”. Basically, the underground map on the back of it was a complete crock of shit, meaning that after following it, we were nowhere near the Ferris wheel. Instead, we were about 100 yards away from the barge thing where I’d purchased the €4.75 bottle of water. The tourist board things that had been put up were even worse. I think we spent about half an hour attempting to figure out whether we needed to get a bus, get a tram, or just walk the bloody thing. What we did know is that we were 3 miles from where we wanted to be. There was then the argument on whether our weekly tickets would be valid on the tram / bus network.

My advice of “Look, if they’re not, and we get pulled up about it, we’re tourists, it’s an honest mistake, I’m sure they won’t fine us!” fell on deaf ears for about half an hour, until I convinced them to go onto the trams. I have never been on a tram before in my life. I thought it’d be brilliant. It was shit. It’s a train that has to stop for pedestrians and other traffic, with wooden seats and the sound of numerous Austrians wittering on in their own language about the…. cost of… erm… sandals. And chalk. Possibly.

Eventually, we reached the end of the line, and disembarked into the middle of a park. Fair enough, there’s a direction board over there. We toddle over, and stare at it in disbelief. There’s no sign of a “You Are Here” symbol. Therefore, we could be anywhere in this huge park. By the power of deduction, sheer luck and the tiniest bit of judgement, we knew to head to the end of the road and turn left. There was an endless avenue of trees in front of us, along with sports grounds of every possible description. Yes, according to Google Maps, there’s even a racecourse on there. With steeplechase fences.

We walked for what seemed like an age, before we began to see this wheel. Two things were big about it.


Obviously, its size, and the second one was the pricetag to get in (€8.50? What?)… In fact, it was so big that Chris decided he didn’t want to go up. Some of you may remember the time I dragged him on the temporary wheel at Liverpool. He hated every second of that!

So, after spending 2 hours trying to find this wheel, we didn’t actually go on it. I could have cried! Thankfully, Jonathan did want to go on it, but we’d leave it until the next day, at least then I could take my big camera, and Chris could get a lie in.

After all of the fannying around we’d done trying to find this place, I almost screamed when I found out it was less than half a mile from the nearest tube station… At least we knew how to get there.

We got back to the hotel, and headed straight for the pool table. Another good few hours on the pool table resulted in us emptying the hotel bar of Becks bottles, and another jolly jaunt down towards where we ate the night previously. It was rammed. Apparently, there was some book signing going on, or possibly something connected to the theatre (we were sat in the “theatercafe”, after all)

I opted for the goulash again, because it was really nice, but this time I had the large one. Jonathan opted for the steak, though at €21, it was a little too expensive (and bloody) for my taste! The worst deal of the night came from Chris, who opted for a scotch. Now, this was a special scotch. I can’t remember what they called it, but it stunk. Jonathan thought it smelt like elastic bands, I thought it smelt like slightly charred computer components, like when you force a stick of RAM into a slot it shouldn’t fit in.

All three of us had sweepstakes on the price., and it hovered around the €8 mark. I almost fell off my chair laughing when we got the receipt. €14. I just had to take a photo of the receipt for posterity.

I waned to head off into the market which we’d got the noodles from earlier in the week. There were LOTS of bars here. All of them small, wooden and rammed with people. The midweeks seemed to bring everyone out on the street. We found one that was pretty quiet, and so, sat down and had a beer. I really enjoyed it, I think Jonathan did too. Chris didn’t, and I’ll probably never understand why. Maybe he was in shock at the price of the scotch? I’ll never know.

So, we headed off back to “The Little Stage”, the ‘Irish’ bar we’d found the other night. I actually really liked this place. Maybe it was the Windows 3.1 MP3 jukebox, with its CRT monitor crudely stuck in the wall, and track selection done via mouse. Maybe it was the fact the staff actually remembered us, and were friendly. Maybe it seemed that nobody seemed to care we reeked of tourist, and were happy to get on with their lives, while playing cards in the corner?

Maybe I just secretly want smoking in pubs reinstated. I know that sounds an odd statement from me, considering the only time I’ll ever smoke is about 10 minutes after my trip behind the final red curtain, but it adds atmosphere. Fuck your gastropubs! Give me a bag of quavers and an overflowing ashtray any day! OK, maybe I’m taking that too far.

I’d like to say I got to bed early. Naaaaah.

Vienna Calling, Day 3

Well, it would appear that you’re all finding these posts too long and boring, and that all you’re interested in the part where I probably took five years off my life with stress. Who ARE you people? Do you fast forward films to the end just to see the “happy ending?” Anyway, it shows that I’m still up to blogging, I thought I was losing my touch! Unfortunately, long, drawn-out monologues are a specialty. Grab a beverage, we’re onto day three!

This was another one of the days that started off exceptionally late. We’d headed off back towards Stephansplatz, as yesterday’s walk was cut short by the rain. The weather looked much better on this particular day, so it was my first continental airing for my big Canon.

We didn’t really stay there long. In fact, just enough time for me to get a couple of shots of just how ornate the roof is…


We once again headed onto the underground, and this time headed in the direction of “Schloss Schönbrunn”, the former home of the Austrian royal family before they all, erm, died. I’l just start off by saying it was rather large. There was also a tour, coming in at the cheap, cheap price of €16. You get a free audio-guide thing, which is handy, because without it, you’d know pretty much nothing about the place. For that price, I’d expect to be able to keep the bloody thing, but no, you have to put it into a box at the end of the trip. Annoyingly, two of the main rooms were under renovation when we went. You weren’t allowed to take photos in the palace itself.

One thing that totally pissed me off about a lot of tourist attractions was the “exit through the gift shop” culture. Maybe other places did this in other holidays I’ve been on, I don’t remember, but I hate it.

After the trip, we became separated. Jonathan went one way, me and Chris went the other. I attempted to phone Jonathan to let him know where we were, totally forgetting that we were about 900 miles away from home, and Vodafone passport had a 75p connection charge…

“Tue Sep 06 14:04 Voice 44798xxxxxxx 0m 8s 0.625”

Remember that VAT needs to be added to that. What’s even worse is that I incurred that charge because it diverted to voicemail. Bugger.

We reunited mere seconds later, and decided to head off to the gardens. Now, these were absolutely massive. One thing I regretted about the Berlin trip a few years ago, was not being able to stay and explore the gardens of “Sans Soucci“, in Potsdam. I wasn’t going to miss out on a second epic photo opportunity. This was almost jeapordised when it became apparent that Jonathan had lost his ticket. I don’t think I’ve heard as many swear words fly from his lips without him being behind a steering wheel.

Despite bags being emptied, pockets being ravaged into an inch of their linty lives, the little piece of paper was nowhere to be seen. Off we trudged to the customer service desk, three faces like thunder, expecting to pay another €16 for a ticket. Amazingly, and in a rare glimpse of customer service brilliance, the lady behind the counter recognised us, and without hesitation, printed a duplicate ticket.

This was the view as we walked out into the gardens.


Stunning. The best was yet to come. For me, anyway. We’d walked around the gardens for a bit, and I really wanted to see what that big fuck-off monument looking thing was. Neither C nor J fancied the uphill walk in blazing sunshine just to see what it was, so I walked it alone. I must admit, what happened next was probably the best part of the day for me, and an accidental discovery.

I walked up to this monument thing, and noticed a grey haired guy struggling with his ticket at a turnstile that apparently led nowhere. You were free to walk around the base of this thing as much as you wanted. there was even a cafe. Just for funzies, not having a clue what it did, I put my ticket in. Bing! Admit one. It wasn’t until I looked to my left, I noticed a stone spiral staircase going upwards. It led to the top of the monument thing. The photo opportunities were just stunning.


I felt a bit guilty spending as much time as I did there, knowing that C+J were cooking in the sunshine somewhere on the terraces while I spent about half an hour up there. The selfish side of me, however thinks, meh, their tickets were valid for this too! You should all know by now that I’m a believer in karma, and I’m sure the extra distance I walked would be the price I pay for this small time on my own, and these amazing photos.

I went back down and found C+J. One thing I didn’t realise is that these gardens are so large, they actually have their own zoo. Unfortunately, it was an extra €10 (or something), and although I actually wanted to go back, I’d forgotten about it. My life is slowly ebbing away. Will I ever take a decent photo of a meerkat?

It was still relatively early by this point, and there was still some of the garden to visit, mainly the maze. One of my life’s ambitions was to be in a hedge maze at some point. I remember, as a kid, being bitterly disappointed by the maze in the old Hartlepool museum, I expected it to be a massive hedge thing, instead it was some wood on the floor with gravel. I am happy to report that this maze is indeed made of spruce…


There was also a “labyrinth”. It seemed odd that we managed to walk for 10 minutes on a piece of land that is 47 metres from one corner to another. At the end of it were some genuinely memorable photo opportunities, as this was the moment that my big Canon rolled its file number over, from IMG_9999.JPG to IMG_0001.JPG


I think you’ll find it’s a fitting photo.

By this time, the heat had all got to us, and refreshments were in order. For the first time since I was 12, I had a Calippo, and they were just as good as I remembered them. Chris also joined in the sentiments and also purchased the afore-mentioned frozen treat, whereas Jonathan went for the traditionalism, and settled for a Cornetto (also known as Unicorn shit). I’m not sure whether it was the bright red shirt I was wearing, or whether the sugary treat had done something else, but I seemed to be irresistible to wasps for the rest of the day.

I think my only disappointment for this part of the day was the fact I wanted my photo taken in one of the disused guard towers. Unfortunately, the overpowering smell of piss knocked me back.

We had a sit down (and I sheltered from the wasps) in the shade of the main building, yet I still wanted to get up and take photos. Jonathan did a good job, with amazingly accurate timing, of trashing this one!


The camera was packed away, and we headed back to the hotel. After exactly two hours, this was my walking pattern, including the maze walk…

It was only a couple of stops on the underground before we were back at the hotel. We headed back to our rooms for a short while before battle commenced on the best place to eat. The previous night had been won by a take-away noodle place. I dreaded to think what the 2nd night began with. Saying that, I could have sworn I’d found somewhere edible-looking on our way to that place. Despite retracing my steps, I couldn’t find the place. It was at this point, I gave up for the week, and let C+J decide where to eat, and the decision was to eat at the “Theater Cafe”. It looked expensive, and to be honest, it was. I opted to go for the ‘Goulash’, a meal I’d only ever experienced once before, and that was out of a boil-in-the-bag, purchased from the now burnt-down “Sweet and Savoury” factory in downtown West View. Turns out I really liked it, but at €8 for a small portion, “just in case I didn’t like it”, I felt a little gutted. Still it gave me somewhere to eat.

Unfortunately, neither my memory nor photographic records show anything else happening that night. I do believe that it was our first visit to “The Little Stage” “Irish bar”. Again, nothing about it is Irish. It serves Guinness, to a point. The pils was incredibly drinkable. The fact I was in a room full of tobacco smoke and drinkable beer took me back to a time I never thought I’d miss. Chris agreed with me, it was like those “shit at the time, but retrospectively brilliant” nights we used to spend in the Queens.

The hotel room beckoned, and I, once again, hit the foamy goodness in front of the foreign telly.

Vienna Calling, Day 2

I awoke early, whiich is pretty much traditional for these types of holiday. I think it was about 7AM, which gave me enough time to have a shower, and begin to explore the streets. It became apparent that we were in a pretty suburban area of Vienna. I found this out as I went around looking for a shop that sold toiletries. There was a chemist open. I grabbed what I needed and headed off to the counter. I handed the woman a €10 note. She blurted something in German, I shrugged my shoulders, as if to say “Englisch”? She points to the display on the till. Turns out she was asking if I had the right change.

Of course, I didn’t, as it had all accidentally fallen into the vending machine outside of my hotel room the night before.

“Ah, nein”, I reply, in the best Hartlepudlian accent money can buy. I grabbed a carrier bag, almost completely destroying a nearby display. I pretty much ran out of the shop with my tail between my legs…

OK, that was one shop down. Won’t be going back there. Luckily enough, after wandering around for 5 minutes, I found a Spar. they have them in England. This will do for me.

After stocking up on important items, such as water and coke (the fizzy kind) I headed back to the hotel in almost completely the wrong direction, to the point where I had to turn back on myself and make sure I didn’t get lost.

One thing I did find, and was considered an absolute essential until I actually tried them, were… Paprika Pom-Bears…

Surprisingly, and rather upsettingly, I found them a total disappointment. At €1.49 for, admittedly, a rather large bag, the paprika flavour just wasn’t there as abundantly as I’d liked. Paprika pringles still win in this category, I’m afraid.

Something I did notice over there, and found it pretty interesting, is that the pedestrian crossings all make a certain mechanical ticking sound, rather like a grandfather clock. This speeds up when the “green man” is illuminated. On the way back, I bumped into C+J who were up earlyish, for the first time in the entire trip. I dropped my stuff off at the hotel, and I directed them to the Spar. We then went to a nearby bakery (amusingly named “Anker” – well, amusing to us anyway. Apparently, it’s a chain store of bakeries, rather like Greggs over here.)

One thing we sorted on this full first day, and I’m glad we did, was the transport. Vienna has a decent network of underground trains, trams and buses, and all for €14 for a weeks travel. Please note, however, that the ticket is only valid for that week. It ends on Sunday night, no matter what day you buy your ticket. Buy it on Monday, 7 days travel. Buy it on Sunday, 1 day travel.

One thing they’re very “big” on in Vienna is street art. Some people call it graffiti, some call it vandalism. If you look behind the obvious “tagging”, there’s some fantastic pieces out there.

At the end of the road the hotel was on, was this beauty, which made me laugh every time I saw it…


We made use of the train tickets, and travelled to Stephansplatz. At this point, the sun was cracking the pavements. Thunderstorms were promised later on in the day, but I couldn’t see it coming, as my body started to dessicate because of the heat. I literally thought my scalp was going to have to be ripped off. It turned out to be some possible reaction with the shower gel / shampoo the hotel had provided me with, as I avoided using this, and I was OK for the rest of the trip.

We walked around and found a place that might have been reasonable. It was on a barge-type of thing. I paid €4.75 for a bottle of water. Strange things happen to your wallet when you’re dehydrated. We headed back up to Stephansplatz to have a look around the shops. this was sort of like the expensive part of London. Shops had watches in the window with 5 figure price tags next to them. Unfortunately, the water had pretty much broke my bank account, so a watch of that price would have to wait for another day.

As promised, the rain moved in a short time later, and the distant rumble of thunder made us, and pretty much everyone else head for the underground and, for us, back to the hotel. I ended up going to bed for a couple of hours, as the heat took it out of me. I’ll say one thing about the beds, they were comfy. I think it consisted of one of those foam mattresses. I tried to show just how comfy they were by doing an action shot of me jumping on one. Unfortunately, it looks more like my belt has an erection. Oh dear.


Eventually, I awoke, and we played pool on the free table for a short while, before heading out onto the town. One thing we struggled with when it came to finding somewhere to eat was the language. No place had an English menu outside. Chris fancied some noodles. Actually, I did too. Now, Vienna has a permanent market situated on ‘Weiner Strasse” (I don’t know how to get one of those funny double-S things), whjich after wandering around aimlessly for a mile, seemed a good place to check out. We’d learned that a place called “Mr. Lee” did noodles at reasonable prices. We ordered them to take out, but were directed to a table until they were ready, and were provided with a bowl of what can only be described as coconut milk and frogspawn. Jonathan reckoned it was semolina, either way, it was slimy and not something I’d personally order. But it was free, and gave us something to discuss while the noodles arrived.

It was a mile back to the hotel, so me and Chris attempted to eat ours, while Jonathan kept his in the bag. Now, at this point, I’ve never felt so much like a tourist in all of my life. I’m walking down a street I’ve never seem before, eating noodles from a plastic tray, with unknown additional ingredients (green stuff, I think they’re called… vegetables?), while using chopsticks… in the end I just held the tray to my mouth and just pushed the contents in with the chopsticks.

After going back to the hotel for an hour, we headed off to find a bar, and happened to find an “Irish” bar. Nothing was irish about it. Literally, nothing. I purchased 3 bottles of something known as “Gosser”. It was cold, alcoholic and at €3.30, for a 500ml bottle, reasonably priced. It turns out it was more of a sports bar

So, after three bottles of that, we headed off back to the hotel. I watched something about cutting people open on BBC World, and promptly fell asleep… I knew I’d be awake early for day three.