I don't know what the big deal about Austria is - as far as I
can tell, it's just a big, dark country. Just some town and city
zipping by at incredible speeds.
Well, there was some light. We pulled off at Stift Melk, a 1,000
year old Benedictine Monastary. The parking lot was empty, but the
building, right along the Danube window, was all lit up. So we parked,
and made our way to the building.
We didn't know it was a monastary. We thought it was some castle.
The huge doors leading to the courtyard were closed, so I peeked
through the crack in between them.
You know how some really large doors have these small, inner doors
built into them? As I leaned up against the big door, I tested the
small door, and it opened.
So what did I do? Well, I am an American, right? Of course I stepped
in. Dan followed. We looked around, and saw nobody. So we started
All of a sudden this lady appears, and asks us what we're doing.
Looking around, I say. What is the place, anyway? She says it's
closed. Oh, I say. What is this place, anyway? She says come back
tomorrow. Oh, I say. What is this place, anyway? She rolls her eyes,
and explains that it's a monastary, but now it's closed. Oh. What
is a lady doing at a monastary, anyway? Do you work in Public Relations?
Ah. May we have some information in English, please? And that is
how we learned all about Stift Melk - how helpful the Austrians
The waitress tonight was also helpful. Since we're only here for
the night, we asked her what she would eat if she could have only
one more meal in Vienna. So what did she choose? Wiener Schnitzel!
I asked her if there was something more "traditional", as you could
get that anywhere. Oh, she said, but not like in Vienna. They use
more than eggs, they also use.... Dan fell for it. I never did
what else they use. He ordered the Wiener Schnitzel, but it tasted
the same as the Wiener Schnitzel I ate in German, and the Wiener
Schnitzel I've eaten in Pennsylvania. Meanwhile, I persisted, and
finally she told me to get this beef goulash, served with a half-cooked
egg and a pickle. Not bad. And the ApfelStrudel for dessert was
Tomorrow morning we get up really early, and head out to spend the
day in Bratislava, Slovakia. Then on Sunday, head south to Budapest.
Monday is the High Tatras on the border of Slovakia and Poland,
and Tuesday in Prague, Czech Republic. We'll write again when we
get a connection...