The morning is an exercise in logistics and linguistics. We’ve located the hospital I’ve been referred to, navigate our way there on the train, then translate through its maze of departments to arrive at the opthamology unit. Small problem: they’re adamant they only deal with emergencies, which a follow up appointment is not. A list of specialists is provided, luckily with one nearby. Navigation, take two. We have more luck here: yes, they can see me, but not until tomorrow. They’re a doctor short today. Having been given a reprieve, we’re free to enjoy the rest of the day.
We attempt a more focused approach in our Viennese explorations today, following one of the recommended walks through an historic area. We find our first stop easily enough – the Minoritenkirche, home to an extraordinary mosaic rendition of Da Vinci’s Last Supper, commissioned by Napoleon Bonaparte.
If I hadn’t known the work was a mosaic, I would have been hard pressed to spot it. The placement of tiles is incredibly precise.
Elsewhere, the walk goes somewhat off the rails – the maps are impossible to follow as not all streets are named or shown. Or there’s so much detail, it’s impossible to read. If I have any criticism of Vienna, it’s that its tourist information could do with an overhaul. The maps need significant improvement and building/monuments of note could benefit from information plaques. It’s lovely, yes, but I want to know when it was built and why! I’m picky, I know.
We take the edge off not finding our targeted path with a spot of lunch. The famed wiener schnitzel is debated, but in the end we both pass. Having been thoroughly spoilt with Himself’s excellent schnitzel rendition (sourdough crumbed, scented with garlic, lemon and parsley) I’m disinclined to order the local version. It’s a purer, classical rendition, I concede that, but I dislike the deep “shallow” fry that’s used. And there are no scented treats in the crumb. Spoilt, as I said. It’s burgers in the end – I have an interesting brie/cranberry combo with honeyed mustard, Himself the “burger burger”, a mammoth undertaking. Both are very good.
Post lunch with humours restored, we locate Vienna’s glorious Opera House and the Votivkirche, across from Sigmund Freud Park.
This truly is a stunning city – there’s no end of beautiful architecture to admire.
Our last stop for the day is at the very edge of the city, on the banks of the Danube, well beyond the old city. Now, I don’t know about you, but I’ve always thought of Vienna as being “on the Danube”, but that’s not actually the case. It’s miles out, well away from the tourist zone, alongside a brand new residential and commercial zone known as Millennial Towers. It’s interesting though, to see this aspect of Vienna, its locals going about their business, nary a tourist in sight. Lots of white swans though!
By day’s end, nerves are starting to set in about tomorrow’s appointment. Nine days after my procedure, I’m still not symptom free. My greatest fear is that the damage is permanent. A restless night follows: I’ll know more tomorrow, I guess.