Me, singing an aria in front of the opera house.
We started the day following Lonely Planet's version of
I am not an architecture buff, but I can see that this is a well-designed city. Every time we checked out the guide book, the building we'd be looking at represented a masterpiece of some kind of era, be it gothic, renaissance, art nouveau. But it is just not the main sights. We wandered around some of the non-touristy streets and discovered design apparent in neighborhood cafes and restaurants, where someone undoubtedly spent a great deal of time thinking about the look and feel of the place--from the tables and chairs to the light fixtures. All of these places looked uniquely inviting and undeniably hip. The people inside these places, smoking cigarettes, drinking wine, matched the interior, and that was a sight to see in itself.
We opted to go to Kunsthistorisches, the museum of fine arts, simply because our book said it was one of the best museums in
But when it got to the stuff exhibited in the museum, Dan and I were bored stiff. We walked through rooms and rooms of 16th and 17th century paintings, all dark and gloomy, of aristocrats and religious motifs, all looking the same. We breezed through some of the Roman, Greek and Egyptian artifacts having seen similar exhibits in the past. Then there were rooms of ancient coins that we didn't even bother with.
If you don't feel like a museum, there is always a cafe. There is one at every corner, most of which sell a wonderful selection of cakes. In the
There were so many places to choose from, but we opted to stop in one of the most fancy and well-known cafes called Demel. We tried
After a day of sight-seeing, Dan and I went to visit Kristina, one of the Germans from my Polish language classes, who is going to university in
Kristina lives in this really awesome apartment, which she rents with a few other students. It is really old, but really large and spacious--her bedroom is probably the size of Dan and apartment in
She was a little nervous to see us, but we were thrilled at the chance to see her home and enjoy the delicious Middle Eastern spread she made for us. After a few glasses of red wine and her roommate Lilian arriving to join us, she finally relaxed and we had the best time sitting around the kitchen, talking and drinking into the night.
Kristina is socially-minded, and I knew she would have a lot in common with Dan. Lilian turned out to be the same way, so right away, we got into friendly political debates and discussions, plus talks about comparisons between The United States and
Lilian suggested that we smoke scented tobacco, and I was surprised when they pulled out a giant hookah right there and then. They told us that it is very trendy in
Dan and I looked each other. We have never known anyone to own one.
"We have two of them," Lilian said.
Everyone knows I am not a fan of smoking, but when in
Kristina walked us home, following us on her bike, and I could tell that Dan was just jazzed about meeting her. And I hope that it made him realize that traveling is not just about the places you see, but also the people you meet.
We're hoping that Kristina and Lilian will come visit us in
Hey mom, don't look!