My first stop took me to the beautiful city of Vienna, Austria. On my plane ride over I started thinking to myself...oh my goodness, I don't even know what language they speak there. I have never gone to another country without brushing up a little on the background and history of wherever it is I'm going. I knew that they used the Euro and that I would not be losing any money to change it over. Gracias a Dios! But after getting my brain in full gear, I was able to remember that they speak German in Austria. (the directions I had from the internet to my hostel were very helpful in aiding my ignorance) So after I realized that the only words I knew how to say in German were Guten Morgen (excuse the bad spelling, I'm just going with phonetics on this one) Ya!, Dad Goot, and Danka, I was prepared for my random adventure into Europe. My first day was a rather lonely one for a few hours. I walked from the hostel all the way to the city center which took about an hour. The buildings in the center were absolutely amazing and as I was tired, I took refuge in the beautiful St. Stefan Cathedral. It was at this point that I suddenly realized, that duh...Austro-Hungarian Empire! The Hapsburgs! This was a family that ruled not just over Austria and Hungary, but had an amazing alliance with the Spanish and England. Basically, everyone in this area of the world, excluding the French, was a Hapsburg. Very powerful family. Now, when I get up the motivation to upload the photos, I'll let you all know. For now I will let you see the most amazing picture of all. If you know me, then you know I like Star Wars, and this VW van is sporting the most amazing symbol of all time. Vienna was fantastic, but seeing this on my last night in town made me rethink where my priorities lie. Back in the US or shacked up with whoever owned that van. I could become Austrian! But, only in California does George Lucas have the Skywalker Ranch. I gotta stick with my compadres! The Force was with me that night and I knew that the rest of the trip would be amazing.
Also, Vienna introduced me to a traveling companion by the name of Alexandra. And as luck would have it, she was from France. (Little side note, when I took French in High School, the name I chose for myself was Alexandra.) She was very sweet and in her meager 24 years of life she has traveled the world. She was very cool and made my trip not so lonely. She had planned on spending two entire weeks traveling around Austria, but when she found out I was going to Prague and how close it was, she decided to come along. When we got to Prague, she decided that going to Krakow and to Auschwitz was something that she was obliged to do. She spoke excellent English which was a bit unfortunate for me because I wanted to practice French. But as it is, in Europe everyone wants to speak English. We native English speakers have it so easy and I find it a bit unfortunate because we don't HAVE to immerse ourselves, we don't HAVE to learn. We just expect the world to bow to us. It's quite understandable why everyone hates Americans. I'm not trying to put all the blame on my compatriots, but there is a problem with globalization and you'll have to read my other blog to know my opinion on that. Sorry, I kind of got off track. I will say this: being from the Big Ole Melting pot of the American continent sure has made it easy to recognize the types of foods that they eat throughout the rest of the world and accepting of it! But I don't think a better goulash could come from anywhere else other than Austria. Or beer for that matter! Okay...enough for today!
Log on tomorrow for an update on Prague, not my most favorite city, but definitely worth it.
Also, I may be motivated enough to add a little history about Vienna.
A Bientot mes Amis!