Wherein DF travels to Mitteleuropa and recounts his merrie adventures to his adoring broad readership.

Tuesday, June 07, 2005

Vienna top 5 worst

Dont get me wrong, BR, Vienna is the bomb-diggety, but in the interest of providing the most complete picture possible of my experience I hereby offer the top five things that did not float my proverbial boat.

5. The Danube. First, it is not, as one Strauss would have it, blue. Far from it. Sort of an unhealthy bean green actually. Moreover, its not actually the Danube, but the Donaukanal, a man-made offshoot of the river, that flows north of the city.

4. The guy inhabiting the room next to me in my hotel who celebrates the dawn of each new day with a truly astounding repertory of throat-clearing and loogie-horking. It begins each morning at 6am or so, and is so loud that I fear the noise will echo all the way to the Tirol, threatening Alpine avalanches.

3. The ersatz "Walk of Fame" stars that have been laid down all along the Kartnerstrasse. All the way from the Museum Quarter to Stephansplatz, one runs across these pavement memorials to great composers as well as ones Ive never heard of, in an obvious knockoff of Hollywood. How people thought this would improve vienna baffles me. Perhaps its a nod to California in an attempt to show solidarity with Arnie.

2. These guys (and some gals) dressed up like Mozart, or imperial coachmen (you know what I mean: the wigs, the knee breeches, etc.) who stand around the city center and spend all day stuffing concert brochures into the hands of baffled Japanese and obnoxious Italian tourists (though, thankfully, not into my hands--people either seem to think I am a local or regard me as too scruffy looking to merit even a brochure). Especially on teh hotter days I wanted to go up to these folks and tell them they were made of stern stuff to suffer that kind of discomfort and embarrassment for (what must be) a pittance, but of course I cant say that in German and thought it would only get me a kick in the jimmy anyhow.

1. EVERYTHING IS TOO F-IN EXPENSIVE! The above were small annoyances, and were really quite hard to come up with because I did love Viena, but the one truly problematic thing about the place is that good lord almighty it is an expensive city, orders of magnitude moreso that even Berlin, Dresden, or Amsterdam (none of which are particularly cheap). The first night my search for an internet cafe found me shelling out almost four euros for a quick twenty minute email check). I went looking for a cheapo Imbiss to get a doner kebab or brat and found doners for 8 euros (like 11 bucks), brats for 4 euros (six bucks), and diet cokes for 3 euros (four bucks). At a certain point, I went on a sort of hunger strike and ate only at cheaper places outside the city center, and--I say with less shame that I woudl have thought--even twice patronized McDonalds merely to eat a meal that I thought was not utterly overpriced (plus, who among us does not love a good egg mcmuffin?).