Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Beefs with Vienna

Overall Vienna is a clean European city; its palaces and museums impressive, its avenues wide (although not heavily crowded) and its tram and metro system far reaching and fairly efficient. However out of the three places I went to on my mini Easter trip Vienna was my least favourite. I might even say it's one of my least favourite places I’ve been to while living in London. Besides it’s grandeur and it’s historical significance with the arts, I have two main 'beefs' with Wien.

1. Having to pay for ketchup and mayonnaise. Vienna is expensive, but it’s a low blow to charge one Euro for EACH condiment that should be everyone’s good given right, in my opinion, when ordering at a restaurant. Come on you Austrians, mayonnaise is not that expensive!

2. The opera. I made such an effort to see the opera or a classical concert while in Vienna and it was such a barbaric experience and an utter disappointment. We arrived one hour before it started because this was when five dollar tickets for the day were up for sale. We qued and entered to find people pushing there way back and forth front and center in the standing area. We asked someone what was going on and found that people who were the first to arrive attached lace or clothing or even a newspaper around an area sectioning off their space and then went and sat until it started. Those, like ourselves, that weren’t regulars stood around dumbfounded as people fought about spaces and tried to explain what was happening. The rudeness and aggressiveness started 10 minutes before when everyone returned to their places. Three Italian women argued saying they were there first and weren’t moving even though they didn’t leave their mark and there was a ribbon in front of them. An Austrian called them a bad name. Belen and I were forced in the middle of the aisle balancing oh so uncomfortably. Someone tried to get through and with this Belen moved to the left and was elbowed by a very large rude woman yelling at her, ‘hey, this is my spot what are you doing, what are you doing’. Belen at this point had had enough (she hadn’t even wanted to go in the first place). She said, 'it’s just the F***** opera, you are an animal.' The woman retaliated back with, 'Please watch your language, this is no place for that’ which I thought rich coming from her (she was a shusher and shhhhhd people throughout the whole opera too) It got a bit worse as more people came, but I will spare you the gritty details. When the opera finally started, I had images of the real drama playing out in the standing area with me tugging at someone’s hair (embarrassingly yes I thought it because I was SO heated up). After about ten minutes our feet and legs ached from our days walk around Vienna and the fact that we had stood already for an hour to reserve our spot that we wanted to leave. I told Belen we would be killed and we suffered on…needless to say, it was torture! By the time it was over we needed a chair and a nice stiff drink.

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