Tuesday, September 21, 2010

And so its going.....

Good morning, 9am here means 3am back home...this is still somewhat of an abstract idea to me. Yes yes...I know we all understand how the earth's rotation works and that the sun can only be on one side of the earth or another...but still, I was never a morning person at home and now I can't seems to sleep past 8. This inevitably proves that miracles do happen.

Enough with the rambling.

My calendar reminded me this morning that today is September 21 which means we have been out of the States for exactly five weeks and one day. I was deliberating about buying a bicycle I found yesterday for a tremendous deal, then to my dismay I realized that we are leaving the country in less than four weeks. This high mobility stuff really puts a damper on getting settled in somewhere.

I suppose that is the point of this whole process though. From what I've been learning at our professional visits any job in the field I'm hoping to enter will be highly mobile with transitionary job descriptions that are short in duration and vague in mandate. The initial shock of being somewhere else indefinitely has subsided, but there is a whole new process of some sort of psychological transition that I'm observing from myself and all other members of our group.

It is certainly an exceptional (in the atypical sense) position to be put in. Only 11 hours of our aggregate week are spoken for via mandatory class attendance. The other 157 available hours of each week are wide open to anything we can imagine (or realistically, afford.) What then, do you fill the time with? Our relative position to the city is not too far, but not too close either. Going downtown with a specific goal takes a considerable portion of your day. Therefore trying to be especially *studious* can be hampered by entertainment quite easily. I'm my case in particular the two events are mutually exclusive.  Though only 11 hours are required for class, the amount of reading we are assigned is pretty enormous if you really want to grasp it all. Therefore, the process of watching myself and nine other people try and learn to balance the two in this kind of environment is pretty intriguing.  

Of the ten of us, I don't think anyone has been adapting in similar ways. This psychological transition is definitely wearing on some more than others...obviously everyone has different needs and different mental compositions. There are a slew of activities: drinking, shopping, slothing, exercising, going "awol", etc...all of which sound no different than anything there is to do back home to cope, yet there is no reenforcement by friends/family/comforts of being somewhere "safe."

We were all told about "culture shock" both in our handbook and by the student counselor at orientation in Leiden, yet watching it all played out is a different story all together. Mentally I picture all of us living in the bunker from LOST with the countdown clock slowly ticking away, though alternative to the show's plot, no one acts like anything will happen when the numbers hit zero; incredulous observation if you will.

I'm left to wonder what will happen when the clock runs down; a massive explosion, a jack popping out of a box, or will I end up like Desmond....laying naked in a field with new trans-reality hopping powers that link one dimension to another. Though unlikely, the latter option sounds rather appealing.

For anyone that never watched LOST in its entirety I am truly sorry for the previous paragraph's analogy....that being said, if you haven't already, don't watch the show unless you want to be utterly disappointed by a limp, weak-ended, mind-exhausting finale of a should-have-been work of art that turned out to be an overextended mind-fart.

Yes, I am still truly bitter about this whole fiasco.

Or, as I like to say...."6 years, LOST."
And thats my opinion on the season finale. Good day.


Thursday, September 16, 2010

Here Comes the Sun...

Ok…picking up where Jonathan left off…

Let’s see, where were we…Oh yes, beer and sleep. Ok so day two, as JP said, was quite a bit better than day 1. We started the day by getting up early, sometime around 8am, and heading downstairs for breakfast. St Christopher’s Mosaic House is quite a fancy place – everything is brand new, clean, color coordinated. Classy if you will. That explains the price for breakfast. Most hostels include breakfast in the cost of the bed. Not St Christopher’s. We walked downstairs and paid 150 crowns each, which is roughly $7.50 a piece. For breakfast. Oh well, it’s all you can eat so we took advantage of stuffing ourselves while waiting on Matt.

While Matt woke up and got breakfast, JP and I decided to wander around the streets near our hostel to waste some time. We found lots of shops and restaurants, even upstanding establishments like Hooters. Yes, in Vienna. After wandering around for 20 minutes or so, we decide to head back. Although heading back, if not in the direction you came, can be tricky in Prague. They like to make things difficult and completely ruled out the grid system when planning the city’s streets. So we pulled out the map to see if the next street would take us back to the hostel. Ten minutes later, we decide to go back exactly the way we came. Holy confusion…note to self for later (see below for my reasoning...).

So we met up with Matt and decided to head down to Prague Castle. I wrote down the directions at breakfast so I wouldn’t look like a tourist and break out my oh-so-“inconspicuous” map (credit is given to where credit is due – thank you Ali for loaning me your map and city guide book…they were the only things that got us around the city!!). So on to the castle we go. My directions were pretty darn accurate, if I do say so myself. It took us down loads of winding streets that, again, laugh in the face of common grid system cities…as well as unsuspecting tourists. We eventually came upon the river and Charles Bridge which takes you across the river to Prague Castle. And all without getting lost! We wandered in a few shops along the way and bought tokens of our trip and then headed across the bridge to find coffee and snacks.

This bridge, I must warn you, is pick-pocket heaven. Hundreds of unaware tourists check out the venders on the side of the bridge, selling everything from jewelry to paintings to something resembling the sound of an Irish flute. Don’t get me wrong. I checked it all out, too. But a hint if you visit Prague: watch your bag/pockets ALL THE TIME. There are so many people it would be nearly impossible to tell when it happened if anything were to happen. Either way, the bridge allows for beautiful pictures of the river as well as the view of the castle.

After stopping several times to take pictures, we finally made it to the other side of the bridge. By this time we had one mission in mind, and one mission only: coffee. We took 8 steps into the surrounding areas of the castle and found a little café that looked promising. We found two tables outside the café and sat down, taking turns to run inside and see what they had for us to munch on. JP went in for the both of us, and when he asked what I wanted, the only thing I said was “coffee,
surprise me”. (If you know me, this is not uncommon.) And surprise me he did! He brought back two huge lattes and a crepe, and conveniently for me, he likes to share J So 20 minutes was spent drinking lattes and eating crepes. Day 2 is looking better already!

After filling ourselves with café goodness, we headed toward the castle. The guide book said it might be a bit of a hike…up a hill. I will write to the guidebook publishers and tell them to be more specific next time. What. A. Hill. Well, I might be over exaggerating a bit, but after the shenanigans we encountered the day before, a 15 min hike up a medium sized hill is NOT what I had in mind. Either way, the walk up was beautiful and completely worth it. We reached the top and had a most amazing view of all of Prague. Words won’t explain it so I won’t try. Again, there were minutes of picture taking and then on into the castle.

Going into the castle, we noticed it said there were tours for approximately $6 per person. We were about to venture inside to find out when the next “short tour” started when a man approached us and asked us if we would be interested in the “short tour” (“short tour” meaning 45 minutes through the main parts of the castle walls). We all hesitated, noticing he has no uniform on and looked like a tourist, but in the end gave him our money, which again, was completely worth it. This supposed tour guide was quite incredible. He really knew his stuff. He took us around the castle, along with 3 other unsuspecting tourists, and explained all of the history of the castle, from when it was built to the present. At the end of the tour, Matt, JP and I were ready for food. We asked one of the girls on the tour, Maria from Germany, to come grab some food with us. She agreed and off we went chatting about traveling, school and festivals, all while on the hunt for food.

Food was found and bellies were filled. We invited Maria to come with us to explore more of the city, but alas, she had plans of her own – only so many days in Prague, you know! We made tentative plans to meet up again that evening for drinks and future plans to attend a festival in May of next year, if school/money allows it. Hopefully we will see Maria again!

On to find more! But first I must mention this jewelry store along the way. My goal in each city I go to is to find a bracelet to bring home with me. This is the souvenir I will collect so that more things don’t come home with me, like books and clothes. We ran into this jewelry shop and sure enough I found my bracelet! And my fantastic, amazing, wonderful boyfriend purchased it for me J We can officially check Prague off the list.

Next stop was the Astronomical Clock located in the center of Old Town. It’s set right in the middle of the square and, for a nominal fee, you can take an elevator/stairs to the top and get a view of all of Prague. Sign me up! First, ice cream for the boys, then stairs to walk it off.

So to the top we go. Again, another beautiful sight of Prague. It really isn’t a small city. Red rooftops are everywhere. It just adds to the majestic splendor that is the Czech Republic (view from the top below!).

Time for a nap. Back to the hostel for a break, some sleep, and a shower. We actually didn’t make it far from there. The rest of the evening consisted of conversing with people from all over the world in our hostel. First, we chatted with a few Australians that we shared our room with. They were from Perth and quite the entertainers. I had to apologize once or twice for listening (and giggling) at their conversation. It’s easy to hear people’s conversations when you have 5 in a small room at one time. On to the rest of the evening. Again, I should emphasize the grandeur that is the Mosaic House. Clean lines, funky style, lamps on the ceiling. Exactly what we were looking for. The bar/restaurant is no exception. JP and I come downstairs to find Matt schmoozing with 2 English fellows and 2 Danish blondes, all of which share a room with him. The rest of the evening consisted of card games, stories and bullshit talking back and forth between the British, Danish and Americans.

Day 3: This day started much like day 2; JP and I got up early, ate breakfast at the hostel, and decided to explore the city some more. Matt requested a few more hours of sleep so we ventured out on our own. First stop was a bookstore I saw in the guide book. Normally I’m good with directions but that doesn’t necessarily mean I’m a pro at reading maps. I misunderstood one bit of information that took us down a street that wasn’t where we wanted to go, although it wasn’t far from our intended destination. On to the real bookstore! We arrived to where the bookstore was located to find a huge “mall” or road that headed to what I believe was the Museum of Prague. It was beautiful! Long stretch of a wide road with a pedestrian walkway down the middle of traffic, ending at the museum. Brilliant design. And naturally shops and stores on each side of the road. Finally, after taking pictures of the museum, we headed back in the direction of the bookstore. It’s a huge bookstore with every kind of book imaginable. I was looking for one of the classics but in Czech – I have a thing for books I’m familiar with in other languages. Collectors items really. However, I couldn’t find what I was looking for. On to the next order of business: finding coffee. This time a bit more of what we’re use to…Starbucks. Conveniently there is one off of this main road I just mentioned so we stopped in and I had my first European Starbucks drink of the trip. Café Mocha. Mmmmm…

By this time, we had about an hour before we had to go meet Matt at the Astronomical Clock we found the day before. We had just enough time to find a statue by an artist I was very interested to see, David Czerny.

His masterpiece is a very unconventional sculpture of a horse and a man in a passageway between streets. And it happens to be right around the corner from Starbucks! So off we go to find this artwork. Ten minutes later, we find the passageway and look up to find the sculpture. It’s a horse hanging by his feet (from the ceiling) and a man sitting on this stomach. Strange but rather typical of this artist. The only disappointment was the scaffolding all around the sculpture. It was barely noticeable next to all the gray pipes and such, packing it into a tiny space above our heads. Oh well. Maybe the next sculpture will exceed expectations…

It’s noon and we arrive at the clock to wait for Matt. Ten minutes go by and no Matt. Twenty minutes go by and still no Matt. So on to the Dali exhibit across the square to see how much it costs. Maybe we can go later if we have the urge – Dali is one of my favorites!! However, we still need to find Matt. To waste a few more minutes, I head into this bookstore on the square and look for my classic while JP plays with the fish-eye view on my camera. Success for us both - I found Robinson Crusoe in Czech for something like $8 and JP got his fish-eye of the clock. Now, let’s see if Matt’s made it yet. A few more minutes of searching and we find him! Time to move on to more adventures…this time, ice cream.

We find this ritzy little ice cream parlor that looks more like an upscale café than anything. We sit down, take a glance at the menu and see pictures of art. This ice cream is beautiful! They really work on presentation at this place – oh and it tastes good too. Speaking of tastes good, it’s time for food. Real food. The ice cream isn’t cutting it.

But naturally we’re distracted, or I was distracted rather, by a little outdoor market on the way back to the river. The vendors sell everything from Praha magnets to handmade jewelry to candy. I bought a necklace. Enough said.

We wander down towards the river to see what we can find in the way of lunch. Pizza sounds good but will we be able to find any? We come across this little restaurant on the river. Literally, it’s on a boat in the river. And of course they have pizza. So we go for it. They seat us 10 minutes after we get there and it’s time to order. Beer to start off with followed by pizza for JP and pasta for me and Matt. Everything is fabulous. Not to mention the view is beautiful. Again, we’re on the river but I forgot to mention it’s on the other side from the castle.

After lunch, we head back across the river to find another David Czerny sculpture. This time we were disappointed. Not much to mention so I’ll save my comments.

Time to go back to the hostel. Another nap is needed and shower time too. However, our plans for later consist of finding food (a common theme of the weekend) and entertainment. After our downtime, we decide to head back to the center of the city to see what Praha looks like at night. Everything is lit up and there seems to be just as many people out at night as during the day. We walk back across the river to find food – as it’s nearly 10pm and everything is closing for the evening. But first, we must find the Lennon wall. Yes, the Lennon wall. There is a wall down a side street in Prague that has John Lennon inspired graffiti all over it. This wall must be 12 to 15 feet high and 40 feet long – I’m guessing of course. But the entire wall is filled with Lennon themed pictures and words and quotes and symbols and messages.
It’s quite the attention getter with peace signs and music symbols in every color of the rainbow. Not to mention the lyrics and titles of many of the Beatles greatest hits.  Ok, hunger is now becoming an issue. On to food.

We find one of the only places that’s still open on this side of the river and it sells sandwiches and hotdogs. Oh and chocolate cover waffles (which seem to be popular in Europe) which Matt didn’t buy and regrets to this day. The lines were long – or slow rather – but the food was good. Yet time called for other entertainment, like walking back down to the center of town to take night pictures there. So back to the center of town we go. The boys were denied ice cream from a cart vendor who said they were open but one of the two carts was closed – you can have ice cream from one of the carts only. Not really sure why this was but either way, JP and Matt were without ice cream. It was a good day, day 3. But it was getting chilly and we were all exhausted. Time to go back to the hostel. We all agreed to be ready and meet downstairs at 7:50 the next morning. We walked back to the hostel and said our goodnights. Back to Vienna tomorrow. (Below is a view of the city center. Kinda looks like something out of a Disney themepark...)

The next day arrives and we pack our backs and head downstairs. We check out of St Christopher’s Mosaic House and head down to the train station. Along the way, we saw practically empty streets, except for tow trucks and the cars they were picking up (literally picking up – they had a contraption that allowed them to put something under the car and a crane to lift it – strangest thing ever). Either way, we made it back the train station in time for breakfast before we headed to the train. Three hours later we were in Breclav, which was the station where we switched trains. After almost missing this train too (because our train was minutes behind, and again we only had minutes until the next train left), we made it to Vienna with only one thing on our minds: homework. Our trip to Praha was over. Time to start planning the next trip…in between papers, tests and projects of course…

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

A Trip to Prague; Black Karma VooDoo Magic

It is official; I finally get to have my quarter life crisis. Twenty-five years old here we come…

During the week we had a lot of homework to do, the weather was dreary, Brandy was sick, and I was feeling relatively lethargic so we waited until a few days later to really celebrate the b-day…although I certainly have to mention that the night before my birthday resulted in a hand-shaking contest with an old man wearing a cutoff blue jean vest and a hangover until 2pm the next day…enough said.

So the birthday was Tuesday; I nursed my hangover, Matt made some spaghetti for the whole crew, I went to the climbing gym, and finished out the day watching “The Expendables” with Brandy while sucking down orange soda and eating junk food…perfect day as far as I’m concerned. We decided to hold off on the real fun until two days later when we had decided to go to Prague, capital of the Czech Republic, for the weekend.

Over the years I’ve heard a lot of horror stories from people who have done a moderate amount of traveling. Before this trip I managed to make it to the Caribbean a few times, Jamaica, Paris, Hungary, and Peru without any major problems…a few hang-ups here and there, but certainly not what we had in store for Thursday, September 9, 2010.

We went to class in the morning, got out at 1 p.m, and made a mad dash for the train station for our 2:30 departure. At 2:10 we were on the platform with full stomachs and everything we needed for a great weekend in Praha. The original plan involved Brandy, Matt, myself, and three trains (two connectors in Vienna proper, and one that went from the station in south Vienna to Prague.)

The original plan got blown to smithereens in a matter of 20 minutes.

At 14:28 we boarded our first connector train with high hopes and even higher spirits. We rolled through the city marveling at the enormity of architectural features and the wide array of trackside graffiti…truly complimentary works of art, apparently. After a short jaunt to the middle of the city we disembarked to the train platform, climbed the stairs, and scurried to find a monitor to find out what platform our next connector would be on… I should also mention that we had exactly 6 minutes in between trains. At the top of the stairs we find the appropriate monitor screens for train departures…except there is no train with the same number as ours.

The first thirty seconds of staring back and forth between the piece of paper with our travel information and the monitor weren’t that bad. Then I realized we had about 5 minutes left before our mystery train left…I could only envision the countdown clock followed by loud beeping noises that end episodes of 24, which I hate by the way; no one likes to feel like bomb is getting ready to go off.

With roughly 2 ½ minutes to go Matt spotted a railway worker who spoke broken English. We showed him our ticket hoping for good news. What we got was mediocre news.

Pointing down the block he said, “This train leaves from other station. Down that way.”



And run we did. Down two blocks with our bags slinging wildly about, across the street (where I dropped one of my bags), up a flight of stairs to the departure monitors that said our train, number 80 I think, was on platform 3…at least that’s what I thought I saw. Matt said he saw that it was platform 2. We go back to double-check.  Apparently train 80 was simultaneously on platform 2 AND 3. So we ran again. It was almost good enough…keep in mind this all happened in a frantic 2 ½ minutes. Let’s just say that I watched our train pull away when it was about 10 feet from me.

This was only the connector train to get us to the main station…we still had a chance. Matt quickly suggested that we run for a cab; the real train to Prague didn’t leave for 12 minutes or so. If we got an expedient cabby we might even be able to beat the train we were supposed to be on. Thankfully the cabs were right outside the station. We picked the closest one and jumped in. 

Somehow between the frantic spouting of directions and disgusted looks on our face he understood that we were in a hurry, but he sure as hell didn’t drive like he was in a hurry. He said Wien Simmering station was just a few minutes down the road and that we should be good to go. A few miles later down the road we were 3 minutes from missing another train. He let us pay early so we could jump out of the cab and make a mad dash for it. With one minute to go that’s exactly what we did….we ran out of the cab, across the street, and up some stairs to a train platform. Notice I said a platform…not the platform.

He brought us to the wrong damn train station. (This is where you insert about three paragraphs worth of expletives spouting from all three of our mouths...I’ll save you the details.)

At this point I suppose I should speed the story up a bit. I hung my head down and looked at my watch just to notice that it was exactly one minute past the time our train to Prague was supposed to leave, wherever it was, or rather, wherever I was. We sulked across the street and waited for a tram to take us to the underground, where we then took the subway to the right train station only another mile down the road. Eventually, we were standing on the right platform where our train had been only 15 minutes earlier.

The good news was that Brandy found a departure schedule that indicated another train to Prague would be leaving in roughly an hour and a half. Unfortunately there was no ticketing counter at this particular train station and we weren’t sure if we would be able to board. The nearest ticketing counter was approximately 19 stops north on the underground, back to the middle of the city.

So back to the underground we went, 19 stops north to the middle of the city, up 10 flights of stairs to a ticketing counter where we learned that we could either buy another one-way ticket or try and haggle with the conductor with the tickets we already had. After all that had happened shelling out another 60 euros was out of the question, so we had to chance it.

This time we took the elevator down.

Half an hour later we were back at the southern train station with 30 minutes to spare. We all got a beer and tried to forget what had just happened. At this point we had been running around for something like three to four hours and were probably only about six miles from home.

The train rolled in right on time and we bum rushed the conductor asking how we could get our tickets switched. Luckily a 15-euro up charge was all that was needed and we finally got to board the train hot, sweaty, tired, and unnerved.

Luckily our spirits were lifted and the train ride was enjoyable once we could finally laugh about the whole debacle. Matt bought us all a beer once the train got moving and we gorged ourselves on pretzels, Haribo gummy bears, and chocolate chip cookies.

The countryside between Vienna and Prague was gorgeous. In between the pastures and small towns gothic-styled cathedrals and remnants of Soviet-era statues are scattered randomly throughout the journey. By nightfall I had a stomachache from all the junk food and beer yet everything was coming in line. We were in Prague only two hours later than expected. What else could possibly go wrong anyway?

Apparently, a lot…

Upon disembarking at Praha hl.n. we attempted to get subway tickets to take us a toward our hostel. The fee was 18 Czech crowns in coins only…so our first problem arose when the ATM gave us bills in increments of 1000. Everything in the station was closed except for a newsstand who employed a ferocious little woman who was very reluctant to change out such a large bill. The lady at the counter scoffed at us all but Matt was able to finesse her into finally getting the finances all squared away. This was only a minor setback.

We took the train down a few stops and then followed the directions that our hostel had emailed us. We were delirious and the directions were pretty vague, I’m not sure which was the greater factor; nonetheless, even with directions we managed to take the tram in the wrong direction a few stops, so we switched and went back the other way.

Literally 20 seconds before our stop a rather frustrated looking man with a shaved head and a brown jacket walks up to me, murmurs something in Czech, and holds out a circular metal disk in his palm with some sort of red insignia on it.

I indicated, “no, I don’t want any.”

“Tickets please!”

Oh right….the undercover tram cops. Great.

I was a little irritated that we were being audited after only being in the country for 30 minutes, but what the hell, we bought our tickets fair and square—there shouldn’t be any problem at all. So we handed him our tickets.


This wasn’t looking so good. We had tickets, why did he need a passport? He had all three of them collected and started writing down some information.

 He then began to explain to us that we officially owed 700 crowns apiece because our tickets weren’t valid. The ones we bought were apparently non-transferable and became void when we switched from the train to the tram. So there we stood, screwed again, not to mention we got to watch him write us all tickets as we passed the stop where we were supposed to get off. It took him about 8 stops to finish the process…we were going the wrong direction again.


The next 30 minutes were essentially us meandering our way back to where we thought we were supposed to be, cussing out the Czech public transportation network and wondering what sort of black karma voodoo magic was haunting us all day. That is exactly what it was too, black karma voodoo magic. Eventually we finally made it to the Mosaic House where they tried to charge Brandy 100 euros more than we were originally quoted online. In matter of seconds the look on her face convinced the guy at the counter that he would fix everything for us in the morning, so we received our room keys.

The elevator took us to the second floor where we were unable to access our hallway because the keys weren’t validated.

Back down the stairs. Reactivate the keys. Back up the stairs.

The hallway door open this time. The room on the other hand, does not.

Back down the stairs. Reactivate the keys. He decided to come with us this time. The hallway opens, the door does not. He proceeded to scan our room key over and over again, each time getting the red light. Eventually for some reason after 6 or 7 tries it finally worked.

If this wasn’t enough of a hassle he then scanned the card, opened the door, and slammed it shut about 5 times just to make sure everything was working right…this was fine except for we ended up walking into our room at 11pm or so with 4 people staring at us light we were a couple of morons. But alas, we were there…finally.

The only option left was to go down stairs, have a beer, and then head to bed before some more black magic got a hold on us.

And that’s exactly what we did.

I promise…day 2 was much better…to be continued.


Friday, September 3, 2010

The Fanta Here is Amazing

It’s sunny again!!

Initially we had some great weather in Austria. A week into our stint here it turned rainy, cold, and windy…but alas, sunny Austrian skies are here again. So far it seems as though everyone in our group has gotten into a decent pace. We have tons of reading each week but of course still have plenty of time to run out and grad some beer and ice cream…yes, I do mean at the same time.

I’m especially happy today because my back doesn’t hurt and my nose isn’t gushing. For the last couple of days I’ve been relatively sick. I wasn’t so much extremely ill, but had a minor cold with those nagging symptoms that make you wish you were so sick all you really have to do is lay down and pass out for a couple of days. Yesterday we had our tour of the UN headquarters in Vienna where we walked around the premises and listened to a few talks by a senior advocacy advisor from UNIDO (United Nations Industrial Development Organization) and senior press correspondent from the IAEA (International Atomic Energy Association.) It was quite interesting but I had to battle sniffling and a constant stream of snot coming out of my face…sorry for the imagery, it was pretty embarrassing.

So far I think my favorite aspect of the city is the Rathaus(city hall) at night time. For the last two months they have been hosting a music film festival there that starts at twilight each evening. The front of the city hall, which is a neogothic masterpiece of a building with towering spires and all, is draped with a giant screen on which the film for the evening is shown. In front are chairs and bleachers for viewing and behind that is a huge layout of outdoor restaurant booths from around the globe…Thai, Italian, Iranian, Australian, Austrian, you name it….and of course plenty of bier and spirits. The whole production unfortunately ends September 12 but another film festival happening at various locations around the city starts about a week later.

I don’t know if any of you like H&M, but they are literally dozens of them around the city. There are at least 4 stores within a block in the middle of the city…and yes I’ve been with Brandy to each of them on multiple occasions. If you like to shop, Vienna surely won’t be disappointing.

Today we’re going to head down to the natural history museum, head to the state park, and then possibly go to the coffee shop where Sigmund Freud did the majority of his psychoanalysis work, Café Landtmann I believe it’s called…maybe I’ll have an epiphany.