Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Vienna Part 1: Friday

After a slight delay we arrived in Vienna to be met by a friendly English speaking taxi driver that G had pre-booked. As there were 4 of us travelling together this was better value than catching the train in to the city centre. Unfortunately we hit a weekend rush hour and got caught in traffic in a hot taxi (& half of Vienna seems to be in the middle of being dug up - at least north of the Danube canal - with men laying new asphalt by the small bucketload) for an hour or so. Eventually we got deposited in front of our hotel The Levante Parliament, this hotel is a design hotel with a gallery attached and restaurant inspired by an Romanian glass artist Ioan Nemtoi. This was not to be though - the hotel had been overbooked an we were to be moved on to another hotel in another part of Vienna (I'm not sure whether G & Mr.T - were to be moved on or not, but they were anyway after I wailed "but we're with them"). To make up for this disappointment they put us into another taxi (which at least had the air con on) and we spent another 3/4 of an hour in it, looking at traffic and more road works. We were taken to another design hotel "Das Triest" , with interior architecture by Terence Conran. It wasn't as quite as central and as near to the wedding venue the next day but I think we ended up with a good deal. For starters, M and I ended up with an insanely large room (G & Mr T had a palatial bathroom), and the reception staff were extremely pleasing to eye (well for the females in the party at least). Breakfast was generous with a great buffet and on sunnier days we had the option to eat breakfast outside in the very pleasant garden courtyard. Once we had cooled down and chilled out over a cold drink in the aforementioned courtyard M "encouraged" me to join him in the fitness room. Although this was a holiday I could not have a holiday from training. Training was constructive as M showed me how I could improve my cycling fitness by using the equipment effectively (and not just using the cycling machine). I thought I would be bored but luckily I had packed my ipod shuffle with some cheesy tunes.

After this workout we freshened up and wandered through the city (no photos as I, erm, forgot to take any) to go back to our previous hotel. As we had been "inconvenienced" they also gave us a free meal in their own design courtyard (very swanky) with potted trees and glass sculptures. The barbecue menu was good, but I think we all agreed that the desserts were the strongest point.

We then travelled over to the inner city to catch up with those who had already arrived for the next day's wedding. We had originally planned to join them earlier for a meal but stood them up when we found we were getting a free meal. They were just finishing up and we arranged to meet them in a wine cellar which we subsequently found wasn't open. G, however, remembered that she had seen on her already extensive meanderings cocktail stalls near the Rathaus where there was a free film concert. This film concert was coming to an end but this did not prevent us from enjoying our time there. Just before crossing the road to get to this area however, we came across -what appeared to us - a total random roller blading procession, dunno what that was about.

Cocktails were ordered as soon as we reached our destination. In honour of the bride I felt I should try out her favourite cocktail a Caipirinha although she did not join us (something about an important day tomorrow). G had a cosmopolitan and Mr.T a Mango Daiquiri.


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