Central Europe – Day 8 – Cake & Statues

Second breakfast is sachertorte at the Demel Bakery. We sit outside watching people from all over the world pass by. My iced Turkish coffee is 1000% superior to any of the hotel coffee we’ve had on the trip.
We tour the Sisi Museum in the Hapsburg Palace. It is moderately interesting but somewhat spoiled by visitors clogging the corridors as they stop and listen to electronic audio guides. I again struggle to not crush children and small Japanese men.

The exterior of the palace is far more interesting. Its entrance is surrounded by sculptures that I wish I had for my house. Maybe that can be a weekend project. Sculpting can’t be that hard, right?

We visit the crypt of the imperial family. The air is cool and pleasant, a welcome reprieve from the rapidly warming streets. There are dozens of intricately designed sarcophaguses, the newest are less than a decade old, others go back centuries. Nothing is macabre, only calming.

Capuchin monks maintain the site, and upon learning this I can’t stop thinking about little capuchin monkeys running around in robes, sweeping up and dusting.

We study the dates on each plaque. Many of the deceased were less than a year old. There are many Ferdinands, Leopolds, Rudolphs, and Maximillians.

The Albertina is our favorite stop of the day. Their collection is impressive. They have Picasso, Munch, da Vinci, Monet, and countless others. Docents shuffle quietly through the visitors, gently steering children away from the priceless art.

The paintings are engaging, but I spend far more time wandering through the Lee Miller exhibit. Each of the tiny silver gelatin prints is evocative and slices apart my confidence as a photographer. I have so much to learn about light and shadow, composition and narrative.

We eat lunch in the Albertina’s cafe and watch a group of American tourists get agitated because the waitress hasn’t split their bill. Math is hard.

The U1 Red Line takes us to the banks of the Danube and we walk along the boardwalk until the heat drives us back to the subway station. Everyone along the river seems to have brought their personal hookah kit.

Given the people we have seen in speedos and bathing suits this trip, I will never again worry about looking good at the beach. Although fewer speedoed Viennese  are working in their gardens than the other cities we have visited.


In the evening, it takes a bit of searching to find a restaurant that is not serving schnitzel. The Hard Rock Cafe is vetoed by everyone, it’s only redeeming quality is that it is cool inside.

The trip is winding down and we are struggling with not wanting it to end. Given the opportunity, I would live in Vienna and/or go on a never-ending tour with the Aussies, singing songs and making friends with the world.

“Here’s to Chris! He’s True Blue! He’s a Piss Pot through and through. He’s a Bastard so they say and he’s not going to heaven, he went the other way! He’s going down! down! down! down! down!…”

We re-pack and prepare for Hungary.