Friday, October 25, 2013

Stairway to Heaven . . .

So I am back from my trip to Vienna and Salzburg, ladies and gentleman.  For anyone who asks, I can totally recommend checking them out.  It is a quick hop over from Cairo, the cities are beautiful, and they have three things going on at all times, day or night, that one should never have to live without: sausages, beer, and women in leggings.  I did not have any pictures that encompass all three of these aspects (the world's greatest triptych, if you will), but when I went to the Google machine and typed in "Sausages, Beer, and Leggings" this image came up first, so here you go:

Well, one out of three ain't bad.  Maybe that's a beer ball.

Also, the architecture was fantastic.  The Austrian people are big fans of huge buildings with lots of fiddly bits.  Most of my time in Vienna consisted of walking around an ornate, gilded building to come face to face with either a slightly more ornate, gilded building, or a huge statue of a horse.  It was like being in a Jane Austin novel, if her version of pastoral narrative included naked images of Poseidon.

Emma, you saucy minx.

Salzburg was great.  It was like Vienna but even quainter.  I found a pretzel bigger than my head, tracked down an Irish pub, and went for a tour based on some famous musical that was apparently filmed there.

Or something.

My favorite part, though, was my epic random hike (hereafter referred to as ERH).

Allow me to set the scene, dear reader:  it was a Wednesday morning, and I was up and about at around 10 am after a late night at the aforementioned Irish pub.  I left my hotel and began to wander into town when I came upon this fellow tacked up to the entrance of a dark alley:

Being a fan of random Jesus, I turned the corner and saw these delightfully creepy stairs.

I followed them up and around, passing some random religious statuary as I ascended.  Eventually I ended up here:

I now realized I was heading into the mountain behind my hotel.  Either that, or I had stumbled into a mid 90s death metal cover shoot.  There were random signs in German everywhere but since I can't read German and have the navigational ability of a turgid mob of Teapublicans in the back of a soup kitchen, I decided continuing upwards was my best bet.

And so, after a few kilometers, I arrived here:

By this point I was sweating, a bit sore in the manly calf region, and regretted having not thought ahead enough to bring water.  My tongue had that awful thing going on where it couldn't decide whether it was an intrinsic part of my sensory system, or a sock left in the sun too long.  But I pressed forward, Rocky style. Onwards and upwards!

That view almost makes me regret my self absorption.  Almost.

Finally I rounded a corner and, at the very top of the mountain, I arrived at what turned out to be an old fortress, remnants of a centuries old set of fortifications.  Upon closer inspection it also, much to my delight, turned out to be a pub.

All by itself.

At the top of the mountain.

God bless you, Salzburg.

Friday, October 11, 2013

The Hills Are Alive . . .

It's Fall Break time, ladies and gentlemen!

Not quite as sexy as Spring Break I will admit, but I'm hoping this year it will get the attention it deserves.

"Wait a minute,"  I picture you purring languidly, whilst polishing the gilding on my sedan chair.   "Break?  Didn't you just start your new job?"

Why yes I did.  A few weeks ago.

"And didn't you just go to Dubai last weekend?"

That also happened, my dear.  There were penguins, classy dinners in the Marina, and $15 beers.

"And you have a holiday already?"



And guess what?

"What?"  You sigh, as the sweat gathers so quaintly across the front of your custom made Inebriation cravat.

I'm going to Vienna!

You son of a bitch.

Wait, wait, let me explain.

There is no time.  Let me summarize.

Great movie.

Anyways, Eid will soon be upon us, dear, frothy inhabitants of The Rage Cage.  What is Eid, you ask?  Well, some sort of religious festival/holiday/feast day.  This particular one is called Eid al-Adha which means "The Festival of the Sacrifice" and apparently involves copious amounts of real time animal butchering, cooking, and eating.  Not being a religious sort except when it involves worshiping at the alter of my own crestfallen abs, I do not know much about it, but as of a few days ago I was planning to stay around in Cairo and see what it was like on the ground, as it were.

Most of my co workers have been urging me to leave mainly because, due to the amount of animals killed in the streets for the festival, ankle deep rivers of blood are supposedly not unheard of.  Why anyone who is familiar with my musical background would think this would dissuade me, however, is anyone's guess.  I also thought it would have been a good time to finally live my dream of recreating the album cover from Billy Joel's best record.

 Uptown Girl for life.

But following one protest and neighborhood RPG attack too many, I decided discretion might be the better part of valor. Many kind folks suggested flying into Vienna.  Direct flight, cheap tickets, nice castles, and all that.  People talked about some sort of musical that was filmed there, and apparently they have opera and the Danube and foliage or whatever, but what really sold me was one picture.

I Googled "awesome things to do in Vienna", and this photo came up:

See y'all in a week!