Day 3- Sunday, September 23, 2001

This was the day to travel to Vienna. We woke up about 6:30 and packed our things up before going to breakfast. We had the usual buffet for breakfast- smoked salmon (of which I am becoming quite fond), sausages, herring, cheeses, etc. Of course it was still raining. We checked out of the hotel and walked to the U-Bahn station near the hotel dragging our bags trailing behind us. On our way we passed a small marketplace where people had set up shop to sell their things. The down escalator at the station was not working so we had to drag our bags down the several flights of stairs. From here we rode to the Marienplatz station and then transferred to one of the S-Bahn trains to the Hauptbahnhof (Main Train Station). We easily made the transfer and arrived at the Hauptbahnhof at 8:50am. We went to the information office and had our Eurail pass validated and headed for track 15 to await the train to Vienna. This train station reminded me of the grand train stations that we used to have here in the U.S.- Chicago, St. Louis, Indianapolis, New York, etc. From the looks of the remainder of the train cars and the people getting on them I was very glad that we had first-class accommodations. The other cars looked like cattle cars. First class was not very populated. The train was nice but not exactly luxurious. The seats were comfortable and our luggage was stowed in front of our feet, between us and the opposing seats, as there was no separate baggage car and no overhead racks. The train departed at 9:35, about 10 minutes later than the scheduled time. We rolled through the countryside, making several stops along the way. Because of the rain and the fog it was difficult to see more than a few thousand feet. The couple in front of us was from Michigan. They had been on the night sleeper train from Paris before getting on this one. They said that they didn't get much sleep.

It was getting close to noon and we were getting hungry we walked to the dining car, which was adjacent to our car, to see what was available. There was no non-smoking section, and we weren't going to do that. We went back to sit down. A waiter came by with drinks and we asked him if we could get a sandwich and he said 'Sure. You can get salami or ham and cheese. We both got the ham. The cheese on the sandwich appeared to be a Brie or Camembert and it was all very good. The 2 sandwiches plus two bottles of water was DM 24 or about $12 US.

We arrived in Vienna at the Westbahnhof, one of the two train stations in the city, at 2:25pm, right on schedule. We had to go downstairs in order to get out, and yep you guessed it, the 'down' escalator was not working. We were beginning to feel like we were jinxed with escalators. Again we had to drag our bags down the stairs but this time there was a new twist. A young girl looking like she was feeling very sorry for herself was sitting near the bottom of the stairs blocking most of the stairway. We asked her several times to move but she either didn't hear us or was ignoring us. We had to shift our bags around to be able to get around her and Barb's rolling bag turned over on her- what a pain. We found a taxi to get to the hotel. The fare was 125 Austrian Marks and when I handed him 150 (25 as a tip) he looked miffed. No matter, as we will never see him again.

We checked in to room 305 at the Hotel Imperial. It was still too early for dinner so we got maps and other information from the front desk. The hotel also had a business center with free internet access. I used it to send a few e-mail messages. One thing was very interesting about the computers. They were COMPAQ models, running Windows NT, but the keyboards were very different. In addition to all of the special characters, the 'Y' and 'Z' keys were switched. I never could figure out why this was. It was finally 6:00pm and the restaurant was open. It was worth the wait. It was a very elegant place and the food was very good. Definitely 5 stars, as was the hotel. The wait staff was very attentive, carefully rearranging the tableware when they got out of place during the meal. It was almost like there were invisible outlines for the knife and fork because they would always end up in the exact same place after rearranging. Must be something they teach in waiters school. I ordered the smoked salmon appetizer and giant prawns for the entrée. Barb shared my salmon appetizer and had the lobster thermidor. It all was excellent. For dessert she had some pastry and I had some Austrian blue cheese and a glass of sweet white wine (Trockenbeerenauslese). The bill for dinner was 2300 Austrian Schillings (ATS) which was about $135 US. Not bad for the meal and service that we had. The rest of the evening was spent relaxing and catching up on our journals. We were definitely feeling the effects of walking 5-6 hours and many miles every day.

If we had any complaint about the hotel it was, as with nearly every building that we had been in so far, very HOT. It was like an oven in the place and even worse in our room. The air conditioner didn't do much at all and we slept with the windows open.

Lobby of Hotel Imperial - Vienna
Hallway of Hotel Imperial - Vienna
Hotel Imperial - Vienna
Tiny Elevator Hotel Imperial - Vienna
Our room at Hotel Imperial - Vienna
Our room at Hotel Imperial - Vienna
View from our room at Hotel Imperial
Back to Munich Oktoberfest
Vienna, Day 2