We left Salzburg on Wednesday morning in the rain and drove to Vienna. On our long drives we’ve been listening to a podcast that the family has adopted called Join Up Dots. It’s a podcast that I’ve been listening to for about 4 or 5 months and I got Ilise into it recently. The new car has full bluetooth capabilities so I have connected by iPhone to the sound system and piping in David Ralph on our long drives. I have also purchased some audio books on Audible and plan to listen to some of those on the rest of the trip along with Join Up Dots. About an hour and a half into the trip Ilise spotted an IKEA, so we stopped to get some gas, use the bathrooms and pick up some sweets. Then we were back on the road again.
We arrived in Vienna around 3:15 pm on Monday and we met Susanna, our landlord. She showed us the apartment and then where to park the car. We have a garage spot for the car that is extremely convenient to the apartment. We settled into the apartment on Wednesday evening, found a local spot for dinner (which wasn’t very good even though YELP! gave it high marks) and I got some calls done while Drew took her Geometry mid-term exam. There was a lot going on and we got through it all. Drew did great on her final and ended her first semester with an 89, which gave her a B+. Pretty good for a road weary kid doing school work between all the touring we have been doing.
Thursday morning we awoke to a magnificent day. I walked out of the apartment around 8:30 am and just started walking. I went out of the apartment and walked for about an hour and 20 minutes before finding myself at a major train station down by the Danube. I went to the ticket office and starting talking to a gentleman in line. He had a very cute dog and I asked him about the metro, how to use it, how to get back to my apartment, etc.. He was extremely nice and he waited for me as I bought my ticket. He showed me which train to take back to our apartment as he needed to go in the same direction. It turned out that his gentleman worked for the gov’t and had been a soldier all his life. We had a great talk and he left me right at the station by our apartment.
I got back to the apartment and started researching the CityBike program here in Vienna. They have a bike service similar to Melbourne where you can rent bikes for free if you return them in less than an hour. They are designed to be used as transportation from point A to point B and the bikes are just OK. But, to get around a new city they seemed ideal. The only problem is that each bike requires a unique credit card to reserve it. We have 4 people and only two unique VISA cards (the system doesn’t take AMEX). So, we found the only bike shop in Vienna that provides a Tourist Card for the bike program and headed there. We met the owner of the Pedal Power, Rich, who moved to Vienna in 1975 right out of college and never left. We had a great conversation with Rich about his journey and the fact that you could never do today what he did 40 years ago.
We picked up the Tourist Cards and jumped on some bikes and spent the day riding around Vienna. It was really cool for me. I know that Noah enjoyed it as well, but Ilise was struggling with her knees and Drew had fun at the beginning, but toward the end she was a bit bushed as well. We probably rode for about 7-8 miles before we returned the bikes around 6:45 pm. We had plans to meet the son of a friend who was performing in a bar around 8 pm. So, we dropped the bikes in the middle of Vienna at one of the CityBike stations and took the metro back to the apartment. We saw a lot during the day, including the huge amusement park that is open 24/7. Noah and Drew went on a bunch of rides while I conducted a coaching call and Ilise strolled around the park. We also road across the Danube and saw the business district of the city. On our ride home, we road for about 3 miles through the heart of Vienna. We felt a bit like locals because there are so many bike riders here.
We made it to Bryan’s performance around 9 pm and caught the second set of his performance. We were all exhausted and came home to crash around 10:30 pm. It was a very long and enjoyable day. Vienna is a beautiful city and we have some plans today to have lunch with our new friend and probably see one of the palaces that Vienna is known for. Looking forward to another beautiful day weather wise as I am off to take another long walk before everyone wakes up.
To a life well lived!