|We weren't supposed to see this|
And we're off...
First stop Vienna, for a 6 hour stopover between London and St. Petersburg.
(The fact that it's cheaper to fly to St. Petersburg via Vienna - a city only slightly closer to St. P than London - tells you all you need to know about the messed-up economics of air travel...)
The original plan was simply to sit in the airport between flights - neither of us wanting to risk a venture into central Vienna which could lead to us missing our connecting flight. But then where's the adventure in that?
After chatting to a wildly patriotic Vienna resident at Heathrow airport, we felt inspired to dive into the Austrian capital for a few hours - using the brilliant City Airport Transport system to blast straight from the airport to the city centre (16 minutes train from airport to Landstrasse).
Exactly 16 minutes later, then, we found ourselves sipping Dunkles Bier in Stephansplatz. Naturally we wanted to order the most authentically Viennese cuisine we could think of. So it was Wiener Snitzel:
And, um... an 18 inch Frankfurter. Which we sort of ordered by mistake. (No further jokes will be made about the Frankfurter - if you're looking for sausage jokes, you're reading the wrong blog.)
|No sausage jokes here|
But no matter how many times we asked for 'Vienetta', our waiter seemed unable (or unwilling) to understand the request.
|What could be more authentically Viennese than this?|
Aside from the lack of Unilever-branded ice-cream desserts, our main problems in Vienna were twofold:
- We were dressed for a chilly evening in autumnal St. Petersburg. In Vienna it was 26 degrees.
|If I sit here long enough, winter will come|
2. We hadn't planned to come into Vienna at all - so we had no guidebooks, no map, and had done no reading about the city of Vienna whatsoever. So we fell back on our capacious knowledge of European culture and history - enlivening our sightseeing by pretty much making up names for the sights we were seeing.
Here, for example, is a photo of the Cathedral of St. Johannes, patron saint of herringbone.
|Some day this pattern will be used in overcoats|
This is a statue of the Greek deity Epydiddimus, God of the Mildly Uncomfortable:
|Pigeon causes mild discomfort|
And here is another photo of Sammy with a Frankfurter:
|Still no jokes here|
So that's Vienna for you - wonderful city of, um, culture. And cathedrals. And... stuff.
For all we know.