Thursday, April 10, 2008

Vienna, 5.7.03: Trains, Racked Nerves, and Schnitzel in Wien

In Vienna after a very tiring trip from Olomouc to Brno. The train official surveyed our ticket in the way Czech officials do—what are they looking for? What do they hope to spy on it? –and then made an ugly face as he rolled the wheels of the suitcases, which were sitting on the seats.

We promptly moved them to the overhead storage area. As he passed back by, Steve pointed to them up above. He walked past, then wheeled around and into the berth, demanding to see our tickets again. He claimed there was a problem with them and left in a storm, never to return again.

My nerves were already much on edge—the ceaseless analphabetizing all around me, a language I can’t comprehend; the dirt and squalor; the toilets like something out of the Inferno. I wanted out!

But to get out, we had to endure the trip to Brno, where we had to change trains, the uncertainty of whether we were at the right platform, the inability to find a soul who spoke (or would admit to speaking) German or English, and finding ourselves seated in the smoking section of the train to Vienna.

Ah, well. We’re here. Rain alternating with a bit of sun and brisk Wiener Wind. A nice dinner at an inexpensive (for this tourist area) restaurant, the Ferdinand on Kärntnerstrasse. I had Spiegelei mit Gemüse, Steve Wiener Schnitzel, two huge ones, very delicious, and served with potato salad, cole slaw, and pickled cucumbers.

We’re tired. Won’t write more. I find myself dispirited, both by the day of nerve-racking travel and a lack of imagination about why I’m here and what I’ll do here.

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