(4.9) (27 Votes)
July 31, 2004
a cool city to visit
We spent so much time enjoying our central European trip that we
ended up with only 1/2 day in Vienna. However, we did a lot in that
Our hotel was a little outside of the center, so we were once again
able to use our folding bikes to ride into the central part of the
city. We arrived just in time to catch a tour of the Vienna Opera
House. Parts of the opera house are beautifully ornate and others
are quite post-war modern. It's a tour well worth taking. We wandered
the pedestrian shopping streets, ran through the Hofburg Imperial
Apartments (they were closing soon) lounged in a beatiful park,
explored a flea market, and ate giant pretzels and beer. There's
lots more to see in Vienna, but we simply ran out of time.
The next day, as we were leaving town, we were pulled over by the
police. We were on an entry road to the highway which had a lower
than expected speed limit. Turns out that in Austria a U.S. driver's
license is not valid; an international driver's license is required.
In addition, Chris' driver's license shows an expiration date in
the past, so the Austrian police were doubly unamused. After much
conversation (sort of - their English was not very good and our
Austrian is non-existant), we were made to pay a fine on the spot
and had to follow the police to a hotel parking lot. At the hotel
we were given the address of the AAA equivalent and told that we
could take a taxi their to obtain an international driver's license.
We were told, very sternly, that if we were caught driving without
an international driver's license we would go to jail! So, we went
inside, called a cab, and went to the Austrian AAA. The police waited
in the parking lot - in view of the hotel door and our car -- until
the cab came. The cab took about 15 minutes to arrive, during which
time the police left, circled, and came back at least 3 times. When
we arrived at the auto club, we learned that a passport photo was
required and that there was no capacity to take one at that location.
Fortunately a very helpful worker gave us directions to a store
closeby that did take passport photos -- except it had just closed
5 minutes earlier! Finally, we found another place that took photos,
got the international driving license, took a taxi back to the hotel
and, 3 hours later, were on our way back to Amsterdam.