Saturday, January 19, 2013

Snow: Jekyll and Hyde

 Do you see this? This is snow, and right now in central Europe, there is a lot of it. In the past two days, I have experienced two very different cities and two very different types of snow.

For our last day in Vienna we woke to a blanket of calm, beautiful snow. After putting on our snow boots and bundling up we went on an adventure in search of Cafe Sperl, a Rick Steve's recommendation, in the heart of the city. It took us quite a while to make it to the cafe itself, but we didn't mind. Walking in the snow was enjoyable. After asking several locals for directions and winding down side streets we ended up finding Beethoven's House and eating in what is now a very traditional Austrian restaurant. Even though we still hadn't found our original destination, it didn't matter. The snow seemed to stop all stress and sense of time. We were simply enjoying ourselves.  After walking off our meal and stopping in the local shops, we finally found Cafe Sperl. There, we sat for hours and enjoyed each others company over pastries and coffee. A perfect ending to a peaceful and mellow day.

The next day we left for Bratislava for our next adventure. Little did we know that we were leaving our calming snow behind.The further we drove, the windier it got. The further we drove, the hardier it was to see the road. The further we drove, the more I felt like we were going to experience a storm that I've never experienced before.
Somehow we made it to Bratislava. It took us quite a while because we ended up having to take back-roads because of road closers due to bad weather or reports of buses tipping over. Comforting. After slipping and sliding from the windy, snowy and slushy highway, we almost made it to the hotel. Unfortunately, the bus couldn't make it up the hill, so we faced the wind and walked in what was now almost two feet snow. I don't think I have ever been so cold or had the feeling that I was Ronald Amundsen searching for the Northwest Passage, but now I know. After conquering the mountain and dropping off our things, we had to figure out a way to make it to our concert downtown. Once again we faced the elements and walked through the heaping snow and angry wind down to the main road. We ended up crossing a street that cars didn't want to stop on because they were worried they couldn't get going again. After several anxious minutes we made it across the street to the city transit bus Frogger style. Clearly, we have left the Vienna snow behind. This was a brutal storm.

We survived, the storm passed and both Vienna and Bratislava have left a story to remember. After reading this blog, if you ever travel central Europe in January, bring your snow boots.

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