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The Journal

4/30/01- Took train- much exhaustion from inability to sleep the previous night due to excitement! Motel was adequate but not great. Got some sleep, though.

5/1/01- Went to airport at 7:00 AM for 1:40 flight. Flight was then delayed almost 4 hours. Waiting seemed interminable. We got very tired of the airport. Finally got on the plane at almost 6. Tried to sleep- couldn't very well. I think I got less than an hour. Night lasted maybe 3 hours, and suddenly it was...

5/2/01- Landed in Amsterdam, had to get new boarding passes for flight to Wien. Long slow lines and much waiting. VERY sick of airports by this time. Got some sleep on the city-hopper while it waited for clearance to take off. Everyone seemed to be able to speak English. Landed in Wien- Alex amazed that they didn't check our passports. (Simon at the hotel said it's because they checked them in Amsterdam.) Went to bus stop- had a bit of a challenge with the ticket machine- finally figured out it only took the 100 AS bills. Bus dropped us off at Westbahnhof, and the Hotel Fuerstenhof was just across the street. Easy! Love the room: 16 foot ceilings, comfy bed with soft linens, minibar stocked with juice, water, beer and wine. We immediately jumped in the shower. Went in search of food- ate at the Servus: Alex had Beouf Stoganoff with dumplings. I had Gemuesestrudel with cream and potatoes. Very yummy it was. And bier, of course. Bier went straight to my head. Came home and crashed.

5/3/01- Awakened by church bell next door at 7:00 AM. Breakfasted downstairs: rolls, cheese, meats, coffee and orange juice. Yummy chopped meat spread-type thing. Got U-bahn tickets, took U to Stephansplatz to cash traveler's checks. American Express didn't charge a fee, and gave 14.86 rate. Walked around Stephansdom. Took U-bahn to Prater, met Pedal Power guy Rick. Rode on the Riesenrad. Took U to Volksoper. Ate lunch: Alex had Paprika chicken with dumplings. I had Gebackenes Hirn with salat. Hirn is brains! It didn't taste bad, but I don't think it's something I'll order again. Took U to Westbahnhof, purchased tickets to Linz. $21 each- not bad. Went to Schoenbrunn Palace- took tour of rooms. Castle was showing signs of age in the wood- cracks and stuff. Walked around the grounds and up to the Gloriette.
Went to Keller Melker for dinner, had some wine. Wandered around, found Esterhazy Keller that was having a Maifest. Sat down just as they were hanging the May tree. There was traditional live music and people dancing in Lederhosen and Dirndls. Lively crowd singing and drinking. Drank green wine by the mug. Got quite drunk.

5/4/01- Sick from too much drink. Slept until noon. Went out, took streetcar trying to get to Stephansdom- ended up elsewhere. Took U to Stephansdom looking for antique shops. Got lost, walked around in circles, ate lunch at the Kleines Cafe: Thunfisch toast and some kind of wurst. Walked around somewhat grumpily because didn't feel well. Went back to room, changed for opera, went to opera. Left after first act because it was so hot inside and I didn't feel well. Ate dinner at Westende Cafe next door to hotel. Alex had chicken in gravy, I had Shinkenkaese salat. Went to bed.

5/5/01- Went to pick up bikes, got lost on way back, found our way (after flat tire- glass puncture). Decided to take a walking tour from Fodor's. Ate lunch at the Brezl Gwoelb, an old pretzel factory. Alex had Tyrolian Groest'l, I had eiknoedeln. Started at Judenplatz, went to Am Hof and the flea market there, Schottenkirche, tried to find the 3rd man portal. Ended our walk at the Stadtoper. Had a beer at Flanagan's, talked with Irish waitress there. Went to hotel then to Grinzing via tram to Martin Sepp heuriger. Had a fine meal with wine: Tafelspitz confused Alex, who ended up eating the spinach sauce like soup. I had Bratwurst and Sauerkraut. Went home to bed.

5/6/01- Caught train to Linz at Westbahnhof with bikes. Arrived at Linz, rode through rain and traffic to Aschach (got lost, had to backtrack). Lunch at Dannerbauer: Spargelcremsuppe, Karpfe and mystery fish. Stayed night at Faust Schloessl, wonderful dinner there after bike ride around town. Alex had Schweinmedallions, I had Salat mit Huehnbroststrife. They thought we were Australians.

5/7/01- Rode back to Linz to try to cash traveler's checks. American Extpress said no can do, next bank the same. Oberbank cashed some, Sparkasse used my debit card for more cash. Linzer torte and coffe drinks and ham sandwiches at the Glockenspiel cafe. Left Linz through industrial side- mountains of gravel! Went to Enns to the Gasthof zum Goldenen Schiff. Had our laundry done. Ate dinner there: Pfeffersteak for Alex, turkey skewer for me. Alex has caught a cold so we decide to take it easy tomorrow.

5/8/01- Stayed in Enns; walked around town and took pictures. Went to supermarket for the first time. Ate lunch at the Cafe zur Stadt Enns: I had Berner Wuerstel, Alex had Jaegerpfandel. Took nap at hotel. Went for brief bike ride- tried to go to Markt St. Florian- got lost and gave up. Had dinner at the Schiff again: I had Schafkaese, Alex had Huehnerbrost. Went to bed. (Missed to the boys a bit.)

5/9/01- Rode South along the Donau. Watched ships in lock of dam. Got flat tire at road construction- took forever to fix- never did get the lump out. Caught in a rainstorm for about 10 minutes. Made pretty good time after that. Stopped in Grein for bike repair; closing in 10 minutes so we decided to stay night. Hotel Goldenen Kreuz. Forgot to mention lunch at Wirthaus in a little town outside Mitterkirchen. Shocked the waitress by tipping 20% (50 AS = $2.75). Walked around Grein & took pictures- love this town! So old! Dinner at Cafe Blumstrauessen. Alex had Berner Wuertzl, I had Shinkenkaeseplaetzle. Talked at length with some Canadians from Calgary, Ed & Dolores.

5/10/01- Got bike fixed- went on way along river. The wind started blowing against us not far outside of Grein- made the going slow and difficult. Stopped for lunch in Melk- had gespritzt wein and vegetable lasagna. Decided to take a boat up to Duernstein- we weren't making very good time. Boat trip was great- went too quickly, though. Got to Spitz in one beers' time, changed boats and got to Duernstein in another beers' time.
Walked through Duernstein, a-marvel at the antiquity. On the other side of town found the Stockinger Gasthaus. Had dinner in their heuriger. Nice family running the place, good food, good wine. Saw they had a Jack Russell Terrier, and the lady promised to bring her to breakfast the next day. Decided to stay 2 nights, explore the area and take the train to Vienna.

5/11/01- Met Ginger the Jack Russell at breakfast- got licked and nosebitten, cuddled and covered with white hairs. Walked up to the ruins on the hill. Rode bikes to Krems (sans stuff), ate lunch: schnitzels of various kinds. Explored a bit, then rode to Weisskirchen, where we explored some more and had beer at a cafe there. Ate dinner at the Saenger Blondel which was very nice. I had salmon trout and Alex had something I don't remember.

5/12/01- Rode up to Krems, caught the train to Klosterneuberg. Wouldn't have caught the Schnellbahn if not for the help of a kindly German fellow. Rode into Vienna from Klosterneuberg. Decided to try to find the Gasthof zur Agnes in Sievering. Had lunch at a cafe in Sievering, asked around about where zur Agnes could be- no one really knew, but were told there was a restaurant at the end of Sieveringer Strasse. Biked up the hill- sure enough there it was. Booked a room with the character there for 3 nights. Returned the bikes to Pedal Power- rode through Vienna and didn't get lost once. Had coffee at the Cafe Central, walked around, window shopped, had dinner at a keller with a name like Universitaets Bier or something like that. We both had varieties of pfandels, but can't remember which kind now.

5/13/01- Went to the Kunsthistorisches museum. Stayed there about 3 and 1/2 hours until I got cranky from hunger. Had lunch at Cafe Central. Tried to go to various stores, but, it being Sunday, they were closed. Went to Cafe Einstein to check e-mail: Slow! Went to the Zentral Friedhof, but it was closing too, so we went back to the Gasthof, and beers and talked with the hostess Marta, then had Wiener Schnitzel.

5/14/01- Shopping day! Started at Stephansdom, found ring at nice antique shop. Then got Alex's jacket. Then Mom's scarf, then my mantle. Then Gail's mug, Ariyanna's toy. Then Mozart balls, then chocolate at the grocery store. Ate lunch at Esterhazy Keller: Mozarella with tomatoes. Had coffee and cake at Demel, then wine and cake at Sacher later. Took our purchases home, then went to a heuriger for dinner that Marta recommended. Alex had half a duck and I had Huehnerschnitzel.

5/15/01- Took bus (after saying goodbye to Marta) to street car to bus to plane to plane... long plane trip.

5/16/01- After much waiting, finally got on train to go home. Train trip uneventful until Salem- then had to take a bus because a semi got stuck on the tracks somewhere along the line. Mom picked us up. Boys happy to see us!