Honeymooning is a novel concept to me. In my life, I think I’ve only met two or three couples who were enjoying what the Germans call “flitter weeks.” Maybe that’s because I’ve never lived in a scenic locale that’s both memorable and Instagram-worthy (to let my bias out for a walk, my hometown’s beach is one of the nicest in the world. I’d much rather go to Pensacola than Miami, but whatever). I can’t cast stones, though, considering that my honeymoon takes me across the ocean to have my bags checked in Portugal before being delivered to the scenic views of Vienna’s MuseumQuartier.
As a rule, you don’t see much in the dark. Due to our flight with AirFrance being abruptly canceled, we had to take a later plane, which kept us from enjoying two fuller days in Vienna. It’s fine. Richie and I wandered around the Vienna airport for a while, looking for customs before realizing that Portugal and Austria are a part of the EU, which means that you don’t have to go through customs twice. Pardon all this American ignorance. When we realized that, we walked out the front doors to find a train, which had us sprinting through the terminal again. Why are we always running to catch trains?
We made it, of course, because our timing was frenzied but impeccable. Somehow, we also managed to find our stop and emerged into empty Vienna streets. I mean empty. There was not a soul around that I could see when we came up for air. At first, I thought we had wandered into a construction zone because it was eight on a Friday night. No music. No cars. Nothing. As we followed the map towards our hostel, we eventually saw a few fast food restaurants open with employees standing outside of them smoking, and then a few more people the closer we got to our destination. Still, we were surprised.
Our hostel, on the other hand, was bumping. Nothing quite like a sign that says “Free Beer Pong” in a lobby to let you know that you’re on the older end of hostel life. Thankfully, we had a private room on the top floor with a private bathroom. If you’re trying to decide between a hostel or hotel when you’re traveling, the double occupancy room in the hostel will save you a little bit of money. Plus, a hostel will always be more interesting no matter where it is.
Since we were both ravenous, we had to wander back into the streets to find a place that was still open. As you might imagine from our introduction to empty cobblestone streets, there wasn’t a whole lot of choice. We wound up at a nicer sit-down restaurant that I was anxious to enter because, well, I don’t speak a lick of German and don’t understand Austrian dining customs.
Lucky for me, I married the right person. For the last two months, Richie has been putting in the language work with Duolingo and our German housemate, Bettina. Combine with the fact that he doesn’t feel embarrassment.
We walked into the restaurant a bit before they closed and stood at the door like lumps on a log. When the bartender finally deigned to look at us, Richie asked if there was a table for two. This man looked us in our souls and said, “It’s a restaurant, isn’t it?”
Pro travel tip: Unless otherwise noted, you can just sit down in a restaurant in Germany or Austria. Standing in the door makes you look like an American.
Honestly, I can’t remember if the menu was in English. It may have been. We both wanted to have a pulled pork sandwich, but the chef straight up came out of the kitchen and told our server, “No.” We wound up having grilled chicken sandwiches instead, and they were lovely. I mean, I’m pretty sure they were lovely because, at that point, I was so far gone in jetlag land that I didn’t know my own name.
Miracle of miracles, we made it back to the hotel, where we were unable to fall asleep. I don’t even mean that in a cute wink-wink-nudge-nudge sort of way. We were quite unable to fall asleep, so we watched a new snack competition on Netflix and pretended that we could do better. Sometime after the pre-finale episode, we managed to fall asleep. And though I don’t know how other people spend the first day of their honeymoons, ours seemed pretty special.
Tomorrow? Delights unfold in the City of Dreams.