Well, Austria’s all wrapped up, which means it’s time for a bunch of random photos.
The Vienna Central Cemetery is actually one of the largest cemeteries in the world. Going to a graveyard isn’t exactly the first thing that comes to mind when you travel to a new city, but there’s something grimly fascinating about wandering around a cemetery so large.
Hey, you know the pancakes that you grew up loving? Yeah, they’re trash. The Austrians have perfected the pancake; we all need to get with the program and follow their lead.
If you’ve seen the Third Man (and seriously, you should see the Third Man — it’s one of the greatest film noirs of all time), then you’ll remember that the city of Vienna features very prominently in the film.
One of the most famous scenes is the one in which Orson Welles’ character attempts to justify his misdeeds while riding a giant ferris wheel.
Well, that ferris wheel is a real thing, and it still exists — it’s called the Wiener Riesenrad, and for ten Euros, you too can go up there and justify killing a bunch of people.
Getting a sacher torte from the Hotel Sacher — where it was invented back in 1832 — is one of those things you kind of have to do as a tourist in Vienna.
One of the first things I ate when I got to Graz was a wiener schnitzel from a fairly well-regarded restaurant, and it was fine, but the meat was a little bit dry. I’ve had better back in Toronto. And it’s like, what the hell? I’m in Austria. This should be the best wiener schnitzel of my life.
So I figured, okay, I’ll try again when I get to Vienna.
I had some flat-out awful meals at McDonald’s in Spain and Italy — meals that were so bad, they made me look at my life and think “am I doing this right?” Well, here comes the land of Arnold Schwarzenegger to hold out a hand and let me know I’m doing just fine. Because McDonald’s in Austria knows how to do it.
Tasty Treat Number One: I had a pork dish called schweinsbraten at Gasthaus zur Alten Press, and if that sounds extremely Austrian: yeah. The whole restaurant was extremely Austrian.
I think everyone can agree that Austria’s greatest gift to the world is the fact that it’s the birthplace of the greatest movie star of all time, Arnold Schwarzenegger. They’ve converted his childhood home into a museum; as soon as I found this out, I knew a stop in Austria was a must.