We started the day off with a fantastic breakfast of coffee with scrambled eggs (it was interesting preparing them without any butter or oil…), fruit, and oatmeal with apricot jam (an Austrian staple). Since it was Saturday, we were able to go to the flea market, which is an extension of the regular market which only occurs on Saturday. It was basically a big junk sale. Things were being sold that literally had no value (old remote controls, ancient electronics, dirty/broken toys, etc.). There were tables heaped with clothes, not organized in any way and piles of old shoes.
Furthermore, the market was so packed with people that we could hardly move. We escaped as quickly as possible and moved on to the Naschmarkt, which wasn’t quite as busy. There were restaurants and fast food stands interspersed between fresh produce, cheese, homemade sweets, and olive stands. We bought a pomegranate and a few fresh figs (my new favorite fruit!). We were worn out pretty quickly by the claustrophobia of the never ending, slowly moving crowd. We moved along to the museum square, past a statue which had been modified with googley eyes,
through the Äußeres Burgtor, to the national library with a big equestrian statue. Next we walked to the Parliament building as well as city hall (which was such a beautiful building that we almost mistook it for a church).
St. Rupert’s church was our final destination. The parts of it that weren’t covered in scaffolding were really beautiful.
Heavy construction is one of the trade-offs to traveling cheaply in the off-season. For dinner we got some legitimate Austrian food- cheesy dumplings called kasnockerl and pancake bits served with plum sauce called kaiserschmarrn. We also tried the creamy garlic soup. It was all fantastic! We headed back to the hostel common room to meet Esteban. We talked with him as well as two french Canadians, two other Americans, and two Australians. We formed a large circle in the common room and talked all evening (retiring to our room about 1 am). It was really great to get other perspectives on traveling and suggestions of where to visit. In general, the other people we met were traveling for as long as or longer than us, putting our big adventure in a new perspective. We’ve been astonished to speak to multiple people on year long ATW (around the world) trips!