Ah Vienna. The city of elegant living, excellent tortes and classical music. Our start there would not, however, include any of these. The first place we stayed was actually a great hostel but they`re sometimes rough places to stay in, no matter how well they`re run. Six of us in one room that night, two of those snored loudly most of the night and then once the rest of us finally got used to that, drunk North American (could they be Canadian??) girls came home from partying. The conversation and noise seemed to go on forever. Here`s a sampling of some of what was being said in the wee hours of the morning: “God I`m sooo drunk. Hee, hee, hee. Nathalie, get up. Get off the street: A car`s coming. I can`t get up. More giggling. Come on. I’ll help you up. Oh God, I think I just fell in my own urine” (at this point I (Elke) feel like I’m going to burst because I’m laughing so hard but am trying to not add to the noise) “Ugh, Nathalie, I’m not going to touch you for the rest of the trip (insert more giggling here).” Add very bad food and even worse service before we went to bed and you get the picture. So next stop the next morning = check out of the hostel and into a hotel we spotted the day before. An excellent move since we desperately needed sleep at that point, along with a decent, slow shower. We also went around the corner of the “Fursty”, our hotel, to eat a delicious breakfast at a little organic bakery. Delicious coffee, a yummy mango milk beverage and apple pockets – definitely hit the spot. Next, we were off to explore the city. We started out by walking down one of the main shopping roads which take you from our area in the west straight into the museum district and then to the old town. We took lots of pictures of the bombastic buildings and monuments we saw there, ate a quick seafood bite at the German seafood chain “Nordsee” and continued ambling along, soaking in the sites. Another “compulsory” stop in Vienna is the Sacher Cafe with its famous chocolaty and jam-filled torte. Two excellent viennese coffees (always served in Austria with a side of water) and we were off once again. A compliment to Mom Sprague here because Mitch said that this world-famous cake tastes like the ones Bernice makes for birthdays. Time to open up a cafe of your own Bernice! 🙂 Maybe the two moms can get together for that one – Heidi makes some fine cakes as well, eh mom? 🙂 We then ambled back up the shopping street, looked into a couple of stores (bought a couple of much-needed t-shirts and checked out a fantastic store called (translated) “Green Earth” which specializes in furniture made from only natural fabrics – nice stuff) and headed back to the hotel to relax and watch a bit of the Tour de France. Once rested up, we decided to take the metro out to see the famous Riesenrad (huge ferris wheel) and adjoining amusement park and then took the tram to the part of Vienna which houses the “Hundertwasser” buildings. Hundertwasser was an artist who was allowed to transform a number of houses into pieces of art. His style includes lots of colourful and curvy mosaics and playful extra details like trees which grow right out of the sides of the buildings. After that, a quick metro ride back to the hotel and a good dinner at the viennese restaurant on the corner. A quick note about our hotel, the “Fuerstenhof”: it’s compared to the Chelsea Hotel in N.Y. because it’s an older building with a sort of faded-chic feel to it and also, we read in our Lonely Planet guide, houses rock stars and other celebrities when they’re in town. There are photos of some of them hanging on the walls in the main lobby but we had to laugh because we recognized hardly any of them – judging from the German/Austrian-sounding names, they must have been more “local” celebs. A neat place to stay though with super-friendly staff and reasonable prices, considering the location. Next day, we packed our bags, left them with the concierge and walked over to the nearest cyber locale to update the blog, etc. and then jumped on the train en direction Salzburg. A very nice stay, all in all.