Sunday, 12 February 2012

Sixth destination : Vienna - Day one

Tuesday 18th October was my last day in Warsaw as I left for Vienna that night.  My train, departed at around 20:30 hours from Warszawa Centralna Station.  It was scheduled to reach Vienna next day 19th October at around 06:30 hours at Wien Meidling station.  I had booked my seat in an eight seat compartment since that was the cheapest option though it was as costly as a 2 tier AC berth of Gujarat Mail from Ahmedabad to Mumbai.... ;) Luckily we were just 4 men in the whole compartment and 2 of them got down at Katowice at around 23:00 hours.  So now we both had 4 seats each for us which was like a bed.  Quiet lucky to travel sleeping in the price of seating.... ;)  I had a brief chat with the other guy in my compartment.  He was Austrian working in Warsaw.  His girlfriend had come to see him off at the railway station and I saw her crying as he was leaving on the train to meet his mother and sister in Vienna.  

While I was in Warsaw I had send lots of couch requests to CS'ers in Vienna.  I had even posted a CS request in the last minute couch request group of Vienna, but none accepted my request.  I was quiet disappointed.  But just 3 days before leaving Warsaw, I got a message from guy around 51 years on my cell phone that please check your CS inbox.  I checked and I had a message that he was ready to host me till 21st morning.  This was his message.
[ Dear Nipun,
I trust you will find a good host in Vienna for two nights. If not, I would be happy to host you from Wednesday evening until Friday morning, as I shall travel to India in November – for the first time in my life. I did already accommodate people from India twice.
Nipun, I already sent you a text message. Please study my profile: If my lifestyle is O.K. for you – welcome.
In any case: Enjoy Vienna and all the best!

So I went through his profile and saw that it was complete with all information about him and also there were lot of good reference's too.  He had also hosted 2 Indian CS'ers and their references too were good.  Everything about him was positive.  Just than I saw the groups that he belonged to.  They were Naked Sleepers, Gay Nudists, Nudist Lifestyle.  He had also mentioned in one of the group that he is always naked at home.  I was zapped.  I thought no I wouldn't like to stay at someone's place where you've got be always seeing a naked man walking right in front of you.  And also he lived in a studio apartment, so no privacy.  So I thanked him in my reply and expressed my hesitation.  

Luckily very soon my couch request was accepted by Astrid Poleschinski.  Though it was just for one day.  On 20th morning she was leaving for Paris.  So I thought that's okay.  I can surf for one day and then move to a hostel.  But again I was lucky enough that for the rest of the 2 days another CS'er Sepideh accepted my request to host me. She in her message gave me a very very valuable advice that I can buy a metro ticket valid for 72 hours or a ticket for a week which costs the same and its valid for metro, bus and tram all three.  So once I got down at Wien Meidling, I straight away bought the metro ticket and headed for Rosaliagasse 19/9 where my host Astrid lived.  I reached her place and there she was at the door with a big warm smile.  I got a very nice welcome and I liked her house too.  We had a brief chat and then she gave me a nice warm breakfast of hot tea with bread and butter.  And then she gave me the map of the metro and indicated on it which are the places that I can visit.  She left for her office giving me the key to the apartment and said she'll return by around 19:00 hours.  I had a nice hot shower and took off to explore Vienna on a bright sunny day.

Schonbrunn Castle
My first stop was at Schonbrunn U.  I got out of the station and walked through Auer-Welsbach Park and reached at the entrance of Schonbrunn (meaning "beautiful spring") Palace.  It is one of the major tourist attractions in Vienna.  There were lots and lots of tourists from all over the world at Schonbrunn Castle.  But most of them were Japanese.  At all the places I had always seen Japanese come in big groups in buses with all their latest gadgets and camera and they simply love clicking.... ;)
View of Schonbrunn Castle from top of the hill
over Neptune Fountain

It took me around 2 hours to see the whole place and around.  At the far end at the back side there is Neptune Fountain and just behind it there is small hill which takes you to Maria Theresa AVGVSTA Imperatib.

The view from the hill top was really fantastic.  I got out of the castle and 
walked around to find a metro station and soon I was at my next stop Stephansplatz. This is actually considered as the center of Vienna. One of the exit at Stephansplatz leads straight to the front of St. Stephansdom.  It is actually St. Stephen's cathedral and it is the mother church of the Archdiocese of Vienna and the seat of Archbishop of Vienna, Christoph Cardinal Schonborn, OP.  It is considered as Vienna's landmark.  That day when I reached Stephansdom, something unusual had happened.  The exit to it was closed and the entire right side of Stephansdom was cordoned by the police.  Also there was a chopper standing right in the middle of the cordoned area.  Finally after some time the chopper flew away and everything was cleared for the tourists and local public.  I went around it, clicked some pictures and again boarded a metro for Donaunisel.  This metro actually halts right on the bridge built over the river Danube.  The entire view of the river from the bridge was just spectacular.  I thought hopefully once the riverfront project on the river Sabarmati in my city gets completed it should look just like this.  I walked around the river for some time and got tired.  So finally  I decided to head back.  I started walking for the U towards Vorgartenstrasse.  Just before reaching the U, I saw an Indian store PUREWAL selling Indian, Asian and Oriental food.  I stepped inside and saw one sardarji standing at the counter.  He was the one who actually owned the store.  That day while I was talking with Astrid in the morning we had decided that I shall cook something Indian for dinner.  For me the best thing I can cook is Dal and Rice.  But since she didn't had any Dal I had told her I'll be cooking vegetable pulao.  I was glad to find Tuvar Dal at the Indian store.  2 euros for 500 gms.  That was expensive compared to Indian prices but I knew it would be perfect for dinner.  Had a few words with the sardarji and then went to the U and by 17:00 hours I was at my host's place.  It was still some hours before Astrid would come back.
Astrid - My ever smiling host in Vienna

So I thought of taking some rest and soon fell a sleep on the red couch.... ;)  I had a nice nap for around 2 hours before Astrid came back.  And then it was time to cook some Indian dinner.  Dal and rice.  She had a pack of some assorted spices though not from India but we managed with it.  Finally I suppose she liked what I cooked.  And after some chats and conversation we went to sleep.  Next day I was leaving and was going to stay 2 days at Sepideh's place, my CS host for the rest of my stay in Vienna.

Also before I left Warsaw I had a chat with Dasa, whom I met in Ahmedabad when she was here for an internship.  She was coming to Vienna to see Salvador Dali's exhibition on 21st.  So we were thinking of meeting each other on the 21st.

1 comment:

  1. good story Nipun, keep posting...why you didnt cook your favorite dish;)
    ?? she would definitely love it!!!!=))