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 Ã¢â€šÂ¬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”…