Today was our day to depart the hotel, but not Vienna. First thing we did was find breakfast and today the coffee machine was working. Well, for a brief few minutes it appeared to be broken but it was just making new coffee. So that disaster was averted, much to my relief because I certainly needed more coffee.

Gned getting ready to leave the hotel.

Gned getting ready to leave the hotel.

We checked out and had our luggage held in storage. I would not leave the hotel until our stuff was locked up, so we were the last people to leave. Fortunately, catching up to the others was not a problem. This tour caters to the “mature” tourist and so I’m pretty much on the young end of the age spectrum – something that hasn’t happened to me in a very long time.

We then went to a local flea market/open market via the subway. Eva had fought with the system and managed to make them understand that selling us a ticket for next week didn’t help us at all. We weren’t going to be here for next week. The rule is that they sell tickets from Monday to Monday. When Barb and Bill got here, it was early enough in the week that their ticket was still for THIS week. The next day, when we finally showed up at the subway, it was so late that any reasonable person would want the ticket for next week. Apparently selling them from date of purchase and for a week’s time didn’t occur to anybody.

We were handed a couple tickets to ride once out and once back on the subway. We were legal and she was going to handle it for us. We walked around the market and it was fabulous. Well, half of it was fabulous. The food side is open daily and there was a fantastic selection of foods available.

There was an assortment of meats and fish

Octopus for sale along with other fish

Octopus for sale along with other fish

There were vegetables

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and olives

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and sweets

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and spices

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and hookahs. I don’t know why these were there, but they were.

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On Saturdays there is a flea market full of real crap available. There were some really nice things for sale and then there were some breathtakingly ugly/nasty things for sale. Everything was haggled over and we had no idea what would be a good starting point even if we had room in our luggage.

We stayed until we were frozen and then we opted to go back to the hotel. I was trying not to wet my pants and we finally found a bathroom (pissour) and there was a guard lady in there who yelled at me in German and I was able to say I didn’t speak German in German and they she told me I needed to pay to use the bathroom and I knew I had some change, but without my reading glasses, I didn’t know what was what and rather than mess with all that, I just scurried back to the hotel and used their stuff for free.

The bus showed up and we were taken from the hotel to the ship. We were very impressed. The pictures online looked different and usually when that happens, it is the reality that is in disfavor. But instead, this is much nicer than we had expected. The rooms looked smaller in the pictures. They are small to be sure, but they are nicer than we thought they would be. Gned liked it all, too.

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Gned under glass

Gned under glass

Safety first

Safety first

The first thing they did for us was feed us. Good plan there. Nothing like a hoard of hungry people being quelled with excellent food. Then we toured the ship.

There is a lounge at the bow of the ship.

Gned at the bow of the ship

Gned at the bow of the ship

They sell drinks here

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all kinds of drinks

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whatever you might want.

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They have a library and game room as well as a sitting area and other amenities. The fitness room has a treadmill, elliptical, stationary bike, and rowing machine along with a Jacuzzi and sauna. If I ever feel well enough to actually breathe, I hope to use some of this stuff. However, it doesn’t open until 8 AM which is a bit of a problem.

There was a shuttle service from the boat back into Vienna. We took that and went to see St. Stephen’s cathedral which was breathtakingly beautiful. The holy space inside was awe-inspiring. There was so much to see no matter when you turned your eyes. It was stunningly gorgeous inside and out.

St. Stephen's cathedral

St. Stephen’s cathedral

 

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Over the confessional

Over the confessional

Outside the doors

Outside the doors

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The spire of the cathedral reflected in the mirrored building across the street.

The spire of the cathedral reflected in the mirrored building across the street.

We walked more among the beautiful buildings and fountains and then we needed to get back to where the shuttle bus would pick us up for the last run of the day back to the ship. It was essential that we get back because without it, we were not going on a river cruise.

The streets are twisting and turning and surrounded by high buildings. We had noted the national bird of Austria, the crane, up near the drop off. We figured we should be able to see that and Dick did see it up over there. Then we were worried that there might be other cranes, but it was the only construction we had seen so we just hoped for the best.

We kept walking downhill because we were dropped off close to the river. But we came to a point where everything was heading back uphill. Luckily there were three police walking toward us and I said loudly while making eye contact, “Excuse me, where is the Danube?” We were pointed over there and told to turn left and sure enough. When we got to that corner, there was the Starbucks and McDonald’s we had seen when we got off the bus. We hadn’t gotten lost and there was time to spare.

We saw some familiar faces at the bus stop and they were quite angry. Apparently they had been let off at the back of the line at 3.15. We missed that bus and didn’t arrive until 4.15 and we were let off at the head of the line. They had been standing in the cold for almost an hour waiting for the bus that they said didn’t show up at 4.30. But Dick and I and the other lady that rode in with us all said it had been there.

When the bus showed up, we went to get on it and the other passengers all said it wasn’t the right bus. But it had our sign in it and it was the driver who had brought us over. It was NOT the same driver from the hour before us.

We all made it back to the bus and eventually to the ship. On the ride back, the lady over there said she thought she was going to be able to text for free over here. She was from the US. I chimed in, cuz I’m so shy and stuff, and said that it was one price to send and a different price to receive, but it all cost per text. I mentioned the price of a phone call per minute and I said the data was all the same rate either download or upload.

This woman did NOT buy a data plan either. She has been sending pictures to her daughter from Europe for a couple weeks, from what I could gather. I don’t know how many pictures. I assured her we used Verizon and perhaps AT&T was different, but I don’t really think so. I also pointed out that keeping your Wi-Fi turned on meant that the phone was sending out and receiving data all the time pinging towers. I added that GPS did the same thing so you might want to turn that off.

Someone wanted to know how to tell if your GPS was on. I asked if she could tell me the local temperature, and she could. I told her that her GPS was on. I also told them that airplane mode would stop all the data transmission. I offered the woman over there who had been sending pictures the use of my computer to look at her bill. I said that if it would make her less nervous, she could look and if she preferred, she could pretend I didn’t offer this service.

Later she told me she might want to look. I’m so glad I took the time to stop at the Verizon store and admit how stupid I was so that I didn’t do this stuff, too. I did make sure she understood that I only knew this stuff because I specifically asked some young man to help an old fart learn to use her phone.

Back at the ship we had our first briefing and then went to a lovely dinner. After that, I came back here and Dick went to the bar. Soon I will join him there.

 

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