The three-hour shuttle ride from Cesky Krumlov in the Czech Republic, to Vienna, Austria rolls through scenic landscapes and small towns.


The road to Vienna

Cities look different at night. Our tiny room at the Pension Suzanne sits in the heart of Vienna, near the opera house. We store our backpacks in the huge bathtub, since the bathroom is larger than our double bed. Already, we’re “classing-up” the joint.


So where shall we put our backpacks?

Marilynn and I walk across the street to a fancy restaurant where the only seat left is just about in the kitchen. Our waiter, Marco, grew up in Vienna and takes a liking to us. “Americans are my favorite customers,” he says. “I’m not just saying that because you’re American. You’re friendly.” He goes on to say that Russians are the rudest, and Austrians ask too many detailed questions about how the food is prepared.


The “best” table in the house

We split an order of tuna tartar, and veal Wiener schnitzel, the national dish, while Marco keeps talking with us. He grows irritated when other customers call him over. He’s concerned about Americans being without health care under President Trump, and shares some “Trump-like” concerns when it comes to refugees.


Wiener schnitzel – better than it looks

Talk about classing-up the joint, the breakfast room in our hotel greets us with white table cloth formal seating, filled with an eloquently dressed elderly crowd. Hell, they’re probably our age, just well dressed. We’re a tad intimidated, and look for social cues. I watch a man cut a small piece of thin sliced salami using the butter knife in his right hand, and backhand fork in his left. European style. When I try that, I pull the white table cloth towards me, spilling the fancy salt and pepper shakers, almost sliding the entirety of plates off the table. C’mon man, it’s just a slice of salami! At the same time, Marilynn bites into a cherry tomato, and the red juice shoots out of her mouth across the white table cloth, winging the back part of a man’s suit as he walks to the dainty buffet. The two of us succumb to a hopeless case of the “giggles.” and decide from that point on to eat like Americans.


Rathaus – City hall of Vienna

The city streets, surrounded by countless massive buildings adorned with art, infinite sculptures, and structures beyond description overload our senses.


Stephansdom, or Steffl (little Stephen) as the Viennese call it

Walkways full of busy bureaucrats, and shopping or opera seeking tourists add to the adventure. Perhaps we should join the masses and take in an opera. $250 per person?!? Instead, we opt to “class up the joint” by drinking beer and then milking the ceramic cow outside of an excellent burger restaurant.


Should be go to the opera or drink?

We can’t resist a sobering visit to the Albertina Art museum which allows Monet and Picasso, among countless others, to stir emotions within us. Distressing contemporary art does what is does as well.


Picasso’s “Nude woman with bird and flute player” in the Albertina gallery

A long walk from the city center brings us to Sigmund Freud’s house, which is now a museum.


Freud’s waiting room

I have aged beyond the Oedipus complex, but dare I wonder about Trump’s boys? (I should not have said that. Must be a Freudian slip.)


Won’t tell you what us former probation officers are even thinking about this…

Goodbye Vienna! You’re beautiful and expensive. Time to take a train to Budapest, Hungary, back to eastern Europe.

In loving memory of Elizabeth Morron.                    Ron Mitchell




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