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.