One of my true joys of Central European living is train travel. It’s efficient, economical and civilized. Plus, everything is so much closer here. Derek and I hopped on a train from Keleti Station and in less than three hours we were on the metro leaving Vienna’s Hauptbahnhof station.
We arrived for 28 hours in the Austrian capital to wine, dine and checkout architectural points of interest. Just like all the cool kids do. Obviously. In preparation for our trip, I was brought back to the travel tricks of pre-3G travel: researching restaurants from home.
Yes, it’s simple and nothing new. I remember the days before cell phones and (gasp) before internet. I held my first cell phone when I was 22 and living in France. It was smaller than my credit card and could do much less. I note my familiarity with these quaint times to preface that I understand that my idea of researching restaurants from home is nothing novel; it’s how people have traveled for pleasure for most of recent tourism history.
However, with the convenience of 3G and TripAdvisor, I had lost the discipline to properly prepare my dining plans before departing. I would land in a new city or town, and rely heavily on online reviews and maps, supplemented with reception directions and extra-old fashioned street meandering for menus. I’ve had some great meals, some overpriced ones, and many meals an hour or two later than I would have liked. This method lends itself to deciding where to eat when you’ve already decided it’s time to eat. A situation that’s unpleasant for everyone: hangry (def: state of anger caused by lack of food).
But not this time. In Vienna, I planned. It was delicious.