Friday, November 01, 2002

Still in Vienna - I have to get a addition to my passport because mine was completely full. The American Embassy here is of course an fortress surrounded by a veritable Maginot Line. Fortunately there is a consulate downtown in the Ramada Hotel across from the Statpark where you can get passport matters taken care of . . . So I am in Vienna for a few day. I am not a very fussy eater but I cannot say I am all that thrilled with Austrian food. I have had a couple of truly appalling meals here. I thought after all my travels my stomach was immune to the onslaughts of strange cuisines but I am still reeling from the effects on one particularly horrific meal. If I see one one plate of weinersnitzel and french fries I swear I am going to hurl. I have taken to eating in Italian and Turkish places. Speaking of food, I can't help but wonder why there is an almost universal disparagement of Mongolian food. I like good honest Mongolian food. I could use a big plate of buutz right now . . .

Anyhow, last night was Halloween. There was a noisy anti-war-in -Iraq rally in Stephanplatz - from 1000 to 1500 people taking part. This of course is just the tip of the iceberg. If the USA does invade Iraq there will probably be big anti-USA protests all over Europe. It will not be pleasant to be a US citizen in many places. Just saying you are a US citizen is pretty much of a conversation-stopper in many places already . . . and it is going to get worse.

Got up early this morning and climbed the over 300 steps up 220 feet into the 484 foot-high main steeple of St. Stephen's cathedral (see photo below). Quite a climb. The steeply winding stone staircase is just wide enough for two slender people to squeeze by going in opposite directions. That this slender spire has survived two bombardments by the Turks (in 1529 and 1683), Napoleon (1805 and1809), bombing raids by British and American planes during World War II and Soviet artillery is clearly a miracle. See the View from halfway up the St. Stephan's north steeple

Then to the Museum of the Order of Teutonic Knights. More on this later , but for the moment see Here.