December 25 - Christ Wine

When we woke up in the middle of the night we had another case of “is this a hangover or COVID?”  It was worse for Justin.  We both got water multiple times in the middle of the night, so hopefully that helped.  It seemed warmer, but we weren’t sure if that was because of the booze or because of it being warmer outside and thus less heating was necessary.  Either way, we kept getting hot and waking up in the middle of the night, then getting back to sleep for only an hour or two.  We were also worried about having COVID and everything that would entail in terms of complicating our return to the US.  We had decided the day before that if either of us had COVID but the other didn’t, the healthy person should go home and take care of the pups, and not just wait to get infected by the other.

We finally got up around 07:30, before the 08:00 opening of the testing place.  We got to the testing place shortly after 08:00, and there were already some people there, but we didn’t really have to wait long.  We were shocked that this was free (even to us foreigners); what a novel concept.  They told us we’d have our results in 15 minutes or so.  We wandered over by Hofburg Palace and saw the horses, plus we took photos of the palace with empty streets for once.  We were by the National Library when we got our results - negative.  So somehow we’d gone to eight cities across six countries and taken countless trains, trams, and metros and visited dozens of Christmas Markets, not to mention bars and restaurants, and yet not contracted COVID.  Now that we were all set to get on the plane tomorrow Justin remarked “Let’s go lick poles on the subway.”

When we were by Bitzinger we looked for its hours but there were no signs, but coincidentally a guy showed up right as we were there to get things started.  We wandered around for a bit checking to see if we could find any brunch places, but all the interesting places weren’t open and all the open places weren’t interesting.  There were a ton of bells for St Stephens shortly before 09:00 that were pretty cool.  After striking out on brunch we went home, gathered on a USB stick the materials we needed to get printed, and checked in for our flight.

We tried to find a place to print things out, but we weren’t having any luck.  Justin had the idea to just go to a hotel, so we did that.  The closest hotel we knew about was the Grand Hotel Wien, where we’d had Christmas Eve drinks in 2018.  We just asked if we could print some stuff, and the person at the desk said to just email him the documents and that he’d print them out.  It was easy peasy, and he never even asked if we were guests.

We were now done with all our required tasks prior to 11:00, and we didn’t have anything scheduled until 19:00, so we wondered what we’d do for the next 8 hours.  Maybe this would finally be the day for Haus der Musik?  There was a steak place right by our Airbnb that looked like it was getting ready to open, so we planned to go there when it opened.  We’d walked past it repeatedly the last few days and it looked good, but we hadn’t been in the mood for a steak until now.  Whilst waiting for it to open, we finally ate the Happy Hippos that Crystal had been carrying since Brussels.

At noon, we went to Artner, the steakhouse, for lunch.  When we entered, only one table was occupied, and it had a couple and their dog.  We both ordered blood orange mimosas.  To eat, Crystal got a consomme and a burger, whilst Justin got a ribeye.  Everything was pretty tasty.  We ordered a second mimosa, but then red wine with the food.  Justin ordered an apple strudel with gingerbread ice cream for dessert, whilst Crystal passed.  When the owner brought out the dessert he brought a second fork and stated “I’m married too.”  We laughed a little bit, but then wondered how he knew we were married.  Was it us not holding hands?  Not speaking much?  Our general disinterest in one another?  We couldn’t decide.

After lunch we finally went to Haus der Musik.  In 2018 it was on our to-do list, and we walked past it over a dozen times, but we never went in.  Then in 2019 it became a running joke that we’d never gone, and we still hadn’t gone on this trip, either.  Today we couldn’t put it off any longer.  We’re not sure exactly what to call it, but a museum is probably the most apt.  It is bigger than we expected, with 4 floors.  The first floor was about the history of the Vienna philharmonic, which apparently had started in this very building.  The second floor was about the science of music, hearing, etc.  It had different types of instruments - winds, string instruments, drum-type instruments, and a fourth kind we can’t remember [brass].  There was an interactive exhibit to test our absolute hearing threshold, and the curve looked about as we (Justin) expected.  Neither of us can hear 16k frequencies any more.  Apparently most people our age can’t either.

The third floor was about the composers with strong ties to Vienna, many of whom were actually contemporaries.  The biggest focus was on Haydn, Beethoven, Mozart, and Schubert.  Beethoven had lived for a while on Ballgasse, just a few doors down from where we were staying.  The fourth floor allowed us to be virtual conductors of the Vienna philharmonic.  It was kind of cool, but when we screwed up the band stopped and yelled at us.  All throughout the museum there were plenty of interesting interactive exhibits.  Overall, it was worth the visit.

It started to snow on our walk back to the house.  We showered and started packing.  Around 18:00 we went out for pre-dinner drinks since we didn’t want to stay out late because of our early flight tomorrow.  We saw it had snowed a decent amount whilst we were inside, so we got our first legitimate White Christmas.  After looking for nearby bars, we didn’t see anything, so we ended up back at Kleinod.  The bartender remembered us and what we’d ordered; he probably remembered much better than us.  Justin ordered a Lemongrass passion and Crystal ordered a French 75.  For the second round Justin ordered a Mai Tai (no Maracuya like yesterday - the bartender asked) and Crystal got another French 75.  We got more free shots before we left.  The bartender said “Let’s play this game again” when he handed us the shots.  Maybe we can become regulars here sometime.  

For dinner at Magazin we got there right at 19:00.  We’d made the reservation six months ago, and happily they hadn’t lost it.  We got a nice table (we’d gotten a table in 2018 and sat at the bar in 2019), and made ourselves comfortable.  Looking at the wine list, there was a red wine called Christ Wine, and we felt obligated to get that.  Before we ordered our food, we peered at the table next to us, and Crystal took note of the goose that one of the patrons had.  She ordered that, whilst Justin ordered the meatloaf.  They were both good, but the goose was better.  After we were done eating, we ordered some Raspberry schnapps, and we tried to get our waiter to share, but he said it wasn’t a good idea whilst he was on the clock, so he got a Riesling instead.  We chatted with him for a bit, then headed out a little after 21:00 and went to bed early for an early wakeup.

Previous Entry
Next Entry