"It means nothing to me". Not my words, but the words of Midge Ure.
Rather shamefully, we amassed something like 19 hours total in the Austrian capital, sleep included, then got the hell out rather quickly. Vienna, it has to be said, is rather charming. Around almost every corner is yet another white-painted statue with a gold kopf, and you're only ever a few goosesteps from another vast, impressive building that boasts of a greater past, of kings and Empires, of grandeur and pomp and blah blah blah.
It was particularly exciting to be on the move again, and this our Prague to Vienna train was more British in feel; the carriage was open-plan as opposed to being re-partitioned into compartments with a corridor outside running the length of the wagon. You know, like those old Cold War movies. But this train felt as if we were headed back into the West, mainly because we were.
We took the D-line tram around the Viennese ring road and up to the hostel Porzellaneum, which was tremendously exciting. For a couple of pounds more, Martin and I had booked our own private rooms. Granted, they were shit and looked like student accommodation (because they were), but private it was too. I might've even been able to squeeze in a bit of bodily self-abuse.
Austria, our third country, uses the Euro. In addition to this, the prices are not dissimmilar to London. So why we ended up hitting Vienna for a huge binge is a bit of a head-scratcher. Perhaps because it was Saturday night. Perhaps it was because we had been too exhausted to cut loose in Prague with its 80-90 pence beers and plethora of bars, and strip-clubs on every corner. So we did it in Vienna instead.
Vienna, where there aren't that many bars.
Vienna, where beer is as pricey as Britain.
Vienna, where nightlife seems to mean 'sleeping'.
Don't get me wrong. Vienna is lovely. Very lovely. The scores of tourists and middle-aged American ladies with dewey-eyes staring at the splendidness of it all testifies to that. But in embarking on a tour of 'the Sex Capitals of Europe', as Hippy Dave is convinced we're doing, Vienna struggles to compete with our previous destinations.
We ended up having a couple of drinks in the Bermuda bar (actually a pub) where oddly, most of the patrons seemed old and greying and were far more boistrous than everyone else. A gang of large blonde women were drinking heavily and getting random men to sign their t-shirts, causing us to surmise that they may be a British Hen night on the prowl. When they headed in our direction - and they had remarkably been eyeing us up - Martin bolted for the toilets to leave me to it. However, they'd spotted his fleeing and decided to give us a wide berth, which I found really irritating. Far be it from me to suggest that I'd like to be stuck in the middle of a gang of drunk British women, but I'd like to be stuck in the middle of a gang of drunk British women.
Which counted for nothing anyway as we were now marked down as 'Massive blonde bird dislikers'. We fled there for the cocktail bar opposite which seemed to double as an Indian restaurant and got befriended by an Austrian anglophile called Tomas who was hideously hammered, laughed a lot at his own jokes, and seemed convinced that Pol Pot was a singer who recently won Britain's Got Talent. I then spotted a nearby table with an absolutely gorgeous girl on it and said to Martin, 'That's girl's absolutely gorgeous.' All the girls immediately turned round to see who said that, I went red, and we had to leave.
The next bar was more Austrian in that the staff were wearing Bavarian costume and they were playing awful german folk-techno. We also got served by a man in drag who looked like a miserable pantomime dame. There didn't seem to be any reason for this. We then moved on to the next bar (bearing in mind that they were all virtually next to each other more or less on the only road in Vienna where you can 'party'). We stayed here for the duration drinking bottled beers and deciding to go upstairs to the club to drink more expensive cocktails and dance in the direction of women who didn't want to be danced at. Somehow, one of us had the extremely sensible suggestion to call it a night, and move on the following morning to Budapest. Vienna was proving to be too expensive, and - not that we're alcoholics, mind - one road doth not a party town make.
One hot dog later, some pizza slices, a cab journey back to the hostel, and a desperate booking for somewhere to sleep in Hungary, and we are now in Budapest which I bloody love. I fly out from here tomorrow, so the circle is almost squared and the trip is nearing its end. Regrettably, I didn't get to meet up with Elif, occasional commentator here and Viennese resident, but then she doesn't reply to my emails in time, so that would explain it.
But then that's probably no bad thing. She'd end up actually having to meet me.
Next post: Wandering aimlessly around Budapest, finding the Greatest Bar in the World (on a Sunday), and deciding to buy a flat here.