Rain. It has become the primary essence of our days. It greets us when we wake, accompanies us through our activities, and watches as we fall asleep each night. If it weren’t for the overall journey we enjoy, it would be very disgruntling. But…it’s not snow. 🙂
Our B&B includes breakfast (of course!!) so with that now completed, our bill finalized and luggage packed away (I found a new way to pack the trunk and all fit inside now, albeit with no room to spare), we once again head out to find new excitement.
The road will eventually lead to Vienna, where we will spend the next 3 nights. But to get there, it would seem the best way is not the way of the crow. Rather a more roundabout route visiting a couple of old historic cities with their own unique attributes. The first is the city of Linz with a pop. of about 200,000.
It is yet another city (situated on the Danube) that is ages old, having its first official recognition in 799 AD. Fast forward a few hundred years where it had the third bridge in Austria built in 1497. After another 400 hundred years it was felt a second bridge over the Danube was necessary (for the railway now) and it became so in 1897. The third bridge only took 75 years being built in 1972.
Adoph Hitler spent about 10 years of his early life in and around Linz. Had he continued with his choir and singing lessons and followed up on his initial considerations of priesthood at the time, the world would certainly be a different place.
In the main square of the city stands the “Pestsäule” (plague column), built as a remembrance of those who died in the many plagues that the city has suffered in its lifetime.
Now guess what? It’s Thursday…and many (most) of the shops in town are closed on Thursday. This is becoming almost comical. Austria is open to a LOT of things…except business on Wednesday afternoons or Thursdays…depending on where you are. AND…to make matters even more hard to grasp…October 15th (each year and it happens to be today) is national Women’s Day. Pretty much anything that is not already on sale (women’s fashions and accessories (and somehow crystal figurines fall into this category somewhere)) is on sale for a flat 20% off!!! BTW…just to make the guys feel even more left out, there does not appear to be a corresponding Men’s Day.
Ok, let’s move on. Our next stop is Steyr. There are, apparently, no young cities in Europe…certainly none that we have run across to date. Officially recognized in 988 AD, there are Celtic references dating back as far as 600 BC. More recent notables are Adolph (again) who spent a little time here in 1904 and Franz Shubert, who wrote his Trout Quintet when he was on holiday here. Hmmm…working while on a holiday…sounds somewhat familiar somehow…. Also rather interesting is one of Steyr’s twin towns is the little town of Bethlehem. You may have heard of that one.
A most fascinating city and one where we managed to find almost the only available parking spot right in the town square. And…it quit raining. Things possibly looking up perhaps? Well…not really. It’s still Thursday, not much is open including one of the locations we actually were looking forward to viewing – the Rococo Town Hall. Built between 1765 to 1778, it remains a very fine example of that type of “Late Baroque” artistic movement. That influence spread throughout Europe touching facets of the Palace of Versailles in France, the Catherine Palace in Russia and the Queluz National Palace in Portugal to name just a couple. Rococo was more light-hearted than it’s august and ornate cousin Baroque and not so based on religion as was Baroque. They had their similarities, but also stood apart with important divergences.
A light lunch and back to the car to continue our travels. What’s this? A plastic baggie on the windshield under the wiper with some paper contained within. Really??? After the rain and cold and nothing-openness I now have to get a parking ticket? Nobody likes a tourist any more. It would appear that the reason the stall was empty was that it was meant for those that have a pre-paid pass (workers in the area come to mind) that would normally appear on the dash of an allowed vehicle. Which mine is not.
Yippee. They won’t let me spend it but they’re more than happy to take it from me anyway. And just to complete the feeling of hospitality, the rain comes back with gusto. Moving on.
Now straight to Vienna. We wanted to stop at Melk but the rain just keeps coming down without remorse or regret so we press on. Even with Hilda guiding us, the trip through Vienna to our hotel proves, once again, driving in a major city in Europe is often a white-knuckle experience. One particular road had cars parked on both sides (fortunately it was a one way) leaving about 2 inches (no exaggeration either) on both sides of our car to squeeze through. We made it although one clown decided to open his car door as we were approaching. He wisely rethought his decision.
Parking is under the hotel, covered and locked. Hooray!! At an expense of 18 Euro a day. But…we won’t need the car for the next 3 days, and there is nothing left in it to steal (other than the car itself and it’s not mine!). Supper located and ingested and back to the room. Once more I sit (free Wi-Fi included!!!) updating this missive and hopefully providing a little insight to the world and a little humor to your day. My own has been filled with both.