December 2014 archive

On to Ankara!

2014-08-09 11.52.21For the flights from Vienna to Istanbul to Ankara, I did not have the best of luck. My first flight was delayed by almost 4 hours, I missed the connection, and stood in line for several hours in Istanbul trying to get re-booked. When I finally got my new flight, that one was delayed by several hours, so I didn’t arrive in Ankara until the early morning, about 4am. I got on a bus into the city and then into a confusing taxi ride where we could not understand each other, since not a word of English was spoken. I finally made it, and all was well!

I was in Ankara for a beautiful wedding, and the bride took such good care of me, even taking me around the city the day before her wedding! For lunch, I was spoiled with the following:

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Turkish kebap

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Rakı, the anise-flavored national alcoholic beverage








Afterwards, I rode the metro with a friend of the bride’s and was given a brief tour of Ankara, including the Ankara Castle. It was once under the control of the Romans and Byzantines!

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The castle had great views of the city, and was lovely at sunset. As the sun went down, you could hear the call to prayer and the chants reverberating cross-town:

Wien and the Start of an Epic 11-Day Voyage

Months have passed since the most epic travels of my year, so it is PAST DUE to tell the tales.

Between August 7th and August 18th, I went from Vienna –> Ankara –> Cannes –> Berlin –> Prague and back to Villach. 5 countries in 11 days! And all with my little backpack.

I only had 1 day in Vienna, but managed to pile up on the desserts and architecture. Vienna reminded me of Budapest, but with much more opulence and less destruction. Also–best transit ever! Metro, city trains, trolleys, buses. Everything!

One of my first stops was the Schloß Schönbrunn, a sprawling Habsburg baroque palace with giant botanical gardens.

2014-08-07 07.31.55Among the gardens was a set of “Roman ruins” which I thought might actually be Roman ruins, but were actually designed in 1778 to have that ruined horticultural look. Totally, blossoming gardens were WAY mainstream back then.

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I stumbled upon some other lovely buildings in downtown Wien.

Here’s the Karlskirche:

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And the intricacies of the Rathaus:

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I also loved the way the sun was shining through this fountain:

2014-08-07 12.43.50All this walking made me crave the dessert delicacies Vienna is famous for. Can’t forget the Sacher-Torte, a moist chocolate torte invented in 1832. I had some at the original Hotel Sacher. The hotel had two areas where you could purchase the torte. I luckily found the more “lowbrow” section, where I quickly sat down outside in the evening sun, sipped my massive eis cafe, and savored each bite.

2014-08-07 13.25.30In the morning, it was off to the airport for me, but not before a quick stroll through the amusement park called Prater. I love the fun English signs you come across:

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