Saturday, October 03, 2009

Some random observations from trip to Vienna

This blog post describes things I saw on my trip to Vienna for the European Conference on Educational Research 2009.

On September 26 at 2:30 pm, I boarded a plane for Frankfurt, getting there about 5:15 a.m. The Frankfurt airport was DESERTED!

So I had about 90 minutes to wander around before anything opened. I immediately realized I wasn't in the US anymore, because there were advertisements like this one:

I hadn't used my German much since 1991 when I was last there, and once the shops did open, I realized how rusty I was...I had trouble ordering a cup of coffee with milk ("kaffe mit milch, bitte" as I gradually re-learned. Finally at 7 I was able to go through "passport control" and go to the gate for the flight to Vienna, arriving there about 9:30 am. First thing I saw in Vienna? A reminder of the multinational/corporate nature of the world:

(Pretty cool artwork, though!)

So I changed some money (132 Euros for $200 OUCH) and took the City Airport Train into town:

and observed a lot of graffiti along the way, much of it pretty artistic:

and arrived in central Wien, then transfered to the U-Bahn:

to Mariahilfestrasse, where I found my Tourhotel a few blocks from Westbahnhof:

I was way early, so I asked where I could get some breakfast, and wandered around for a while, passing by the McDonalds:

and finally having a traditional Austrian Grossefruestuck at the Westend Cafe:

Then I checked in, and took a short nap, before awakening and walking from the hotel to the Universitat Wien, where the conference was to be held, and picked up my nametag for the conference, the European Conference on Educational Research (ECER) 2009:

On my walk, I re-learned just how beautiful Vienna is:

I was also reminded how much history is here, seeing an apartment where Beethoven lived

and, later, the house where Freud lived and worked:

After registering for the conference, I took a tram ride around the Ringstrasse:

to Prater, a park with a nice promenade:

On the way back, I noticed that we passed HunnerWasserHaus, a very cool apartment building by an eccentric Viennese architect of the 20th century, so I got out to look around:

In the touristy mall across the street, I found this:

And followed the signs downstairs to this:

but discovered one had to pay .50 to use it, which I didn't want to do. There was a cool fountain down there:

Then, I finished the ring tram ride back to the University, and then I walked back to my hotel:

passing by the Rathaus (city hall):

where there was a circus:

and seeing more sites:

This tent was thumping with club music, and beautifully dressed people were going in and out:

I thought this shop was pretty cool:

And this was a kiosk where you could "borrow" a bike, returning it to any other kiosk in the city. (Chicago needs this!!!)

I was impressed with the window displays at this sex shop:

This one looked a little painful, but kinda cool looking, too :-)

(After returning to Chicago, a friend explained how it might be used.) I also saw this very strange shop window:

And these three-wheeled bike vehicles:

Anyway, it was getting late, so I stopped at a cool place called the Freiraum and had a beer, and then went back to my hotel and fell asleep (it was about 8 pm).

At midnight, I awoke, and decided that I might as well take advantage of being awake, so I finished working on my paper for the conference, and then went back to sleep, awakening in time to get to the Opening Ceremony of the conference, which was in the Grosse Festhalle at the Universitat. What an amazing room!!!

After the opening, I wandered around the building a bit. Wow!!!

(to be continued.....)

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