We spent two weeks blasting our way through the former Austro-Hungarian empire and it got quite intense as far as logistics go, but if there’s anything I took away from that experience, it’s that Vienna sure is grand.
We stayed with Aaron’s friend from high school, Dave, and his wife and two kids.
Dave works for the International Atomic Energy Agency and he took us to the United Nations for lunch. That was a real highlight of our trip so far.
He also took us on a wonderful bike ride along the Danube River through the Austrian wine country that was adorable and charming.
I’ve become fascinated with the Hapsburg empire – a royal dynasty that some historians have lauded as patron saints of Vienna’s golden age of art and culture.
After a week of cramming sightseeing into the mornings, and working and babysitting in the afternoons, we were pretty exhausted but still trucked on for four days in Budapest.
Budapest is a crumbly, Communist version of Vienna – a grittier, more faded grand.
We loved both cities. They’re like the super successful lawyer and his plumber brother who’s also got some money in his own right, but has a beer belly and five o’clock shadow.
The clock keeps on ticking, don’t it. Since we want to spend a month at the end of our trip in Greece and Italy, we had to stop the clock on our 90-day visas and leave the Schengen zone immediately – so we hoisted our packs and got on a tiny bus to Romania. To Transylvania!