Wednesday, January 12, 2011

In Town and Lagging Jet

I don't usually have a problem sleeping on airplanes.

Flying from DC to Paris was a problem for some reason, perhaps the grim anticipation of being in France for a couple of hours.  Ok, it's not bad, but France and I, we like to kid.

Anyway, having had no sleep in a very long time is not the best way to experience Charles de Gaulle airport.  I believe I walked 16 miles from my arrival gate to my departure gate at this extremely busy hub, and discovered a boarding process that has all the charm of a normal airport boarding process, with all the added chaos of a discount fare airline crush to get on the plane.  I slept the entire way to Vienna.

Now, I'm at an apartment/hostel off the Burggasse, just west a bit of the city center, writing on a tiny keyboard unable to figure out how to switch from the German to English layout, and I could swear I have done it.  The practical problems with this aren't immense, but are annoying.  Mainlz the y and z kezs are reveresed.  See?!?  And where the semicolon and colon normally would be, I have an ö and a ä.  This makes it harder to type contractions, but easier to type heavy metal band names.

The hostel here is excellent, with a lot of extras relative to a hostel, and a communal and stocked kitchen, for example.  It's hard to find, being inside a building which entire facade is under long-term reconstruction, and can be found winding through tunnels that make it look like a bombed-out building.  But, inside it's great.

It's not full either - its 16 beds, small to begin with, hold 6 people now, two friends from Mexico, a girl named Hong Kong from Vietnam (I wonder if it's a nickname), a guy named Joseph from...not sure, actually...and Amanda from Australia that strangely enough worked for their version of the Democratic Party over there until a few years ago when they were voted out of power.  We picked each others' brains a good bit last night trying to better understand each others' political systems.

Went last night to Zu den Zwei Lieseln, which is a beisl (a bit like an Austrian pub that focuses on local food rather than drinks), that is somewhat famous an been around for decades.  It's just around the corner, and I thought, hey, let's start off with a bang and get some schnitzel.

For those that don't know, a schnitzel (not necessarily the famous wienerschnitzel) is veal pounded out thin and then deep fried.  Yeah, I know, don't fall all over yourself finding a recipe on the Food Network's Web site for your next dinner party.  But, it has a certain comfort food charm once in a while.  I got the house version, which is supposed to be the best, and is stuffed with gorgonzola, ham and pepperoni.  Sounded like a new Pizza Hut calzone, really.

The thing took up half an acre on my plate.  It was several pieces of veal tied togeter underneath with toothpicks too...sort of like stumbling across a bone eating fish.  One thing I forgot is that in most of Europe, pepperoni means pepperoncini peppers, not sausage. So, that's what I got.

And I have to say, I didn't know blue cheese or hot peppers came in flavorless varieties, but apparently I havent't looked hard enough in my grocer's freezer.  If you like breading, you won't go wrong at this place.  Otherwise, well, just enjoy breading and meat.

One thing I read before I left on a blog I subscribe to is that when one is in Berlin at, say, an Asian restaurant, tell the waiter that you're not German, and you'll get better food.  I'm getting the impression that ordering spicy food in the German countries may be a lot like ordering it in Minot.

Now,time for exploration, and maybe a nice Indian place for lunch.

1 comment:

  1. Justin - It's Jennifer, great blog! As I think you know I'm headed to Europe in a couple of months, including a few nights in Vienna. Since you sound happy with your hostel, I was wondering if you could pass along the name? Happy travels!