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|From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Bron Gondwana)|
Date: Thu, 15 Aug 2002 08:29:09 +1000
Robert dropped us in town near the tourist info. We looked first at a big cathedral (yep, it was another big cathedral - they seem to like them over here) with very cool bright stained glass. We had lunch at a very expensive and crap market - oops. Bought 72 hour "Vienna Card"s at the main tourist info desk. The automatic vending machines at transport stations also sell a "Vienna Card" that only covers transport, and not the discounts. Not that the other card helps much - for an extra 5 Euros you get discounts of about 10 or 20 percent, not the free entry we had in other places. Felt a little ripped of by that, since we didn't use anything like that much discount over the time we were there. Kate also purchased some stamps for postcards back to Australia - double checking that it was indeed the same price (58 Euro Cents) to both Australia and other places in Europe. Saw the crown jewels exhibition - very interesting, especially with the audio guide (essential). The jewelery was amazing, and the history of the Hapsburgs (what a bunch of crooks - the whole story is one of them forging documents to get power, and then carefully building up collections of holy relics and symbols that seem to suggest they have a divine right to rule. The image I came out of there with was that lying - when done carefully - is the way to sucess and power). The history of the "Order of the Golden Fleece" - of which the head of the Hapsburg house is of course the leader, and any other powerful person they wanted on side was a member to keep them in line. Yay for the reality of royal rule. The story of the "Electoral College" was an interesting take on an early form of election. Oh - I should throw in my political quote from a book I read yesterday... "American Democracy is a fine idea, and will work until the politicians realise they can bribe the people with their own money!" - I'm reminded of it by the story of how the Hapsbergs bribed the electoral college to always elect a member of their family as the next emperor, neatly bypassing the entire system - which had been built to stop the problems of the son squandering what the father had worked so hard for that plagued inherited monarchy in the past. Tried to buy food from the supermarket suggested in the Lonely Planet guide (open late and on Sundays they say) - pity they don't sell any cooking foods on the weekends, as it's against the law here in Austria. Opening hours are limited to 72 per week, and they have to pay double time on weekends, unless they use some workaround like being in a train station and only selling finger-food to be eaten on the train. I don't mind the law, that's a local issue - but the author of the Lonely Planet section on the city should be shot for listing that under "Self Catering" and not mentioning such an obvious point. Grrrrrrrrr. Went out with Robert to drink with a bunch of computer geek people (the other reason we were staying with him - computer people BOF (birds of a feather) get-togethers). Got very drunk!
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