Dateline: Vienna, Day 3 – The United Nations

Vienna, Austria
17 July 2009

There was really just one thing left to do before leaving, visit the UN and the IAEA1. So we made off for the northeast end of Vienna. On the way we managed to find Puntigamer, an Austrian beer that my friend Marissa suggested we look up.

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Vienna, Vienna, Austria


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Vienna, Vienna, Austria


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Vienna, Vienna, Austria


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This is the logo for the China National Space Agency. Is it just me, or does this look rather similar to the United Federation of Planets and Starfleet emblems put together:

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IAEA Meeting Room

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Can you understand me now? Good.

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Vienna, Vienna, Austria


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Vienna, Vienna, Austria

Our host was nice, but very optimistic about the United Nations efforts. I wish we still had the League of Nations if only for the reason that it had a cooler name.

We made our way back to the hostel, collected our things, and then raced2 to catch our next rain to Budapest.

It so happened that Charlie was also coming in from Switzerland right around the time we were leaving. I was secretly hoping that we would see Charlie and kidnap him. Unfortunately, we didn’t see him.

We got into Budapest late at night. We stumbled around while trying to find an ATM so I could get some Forint3. We finally managed to find an ATM and withdraw some money. A short subway ride later, we at our hostel.


  1. International Atomic Energy Agency 

  2. if you haven’t figured out by now, we always race to catch trains. We always caught them, but were usually within 5 minutes of missing them 

  3. yet another unit of money to deal with 

Dateline: Vienna, Day 2 – All Around Vienna

Vienna, Austria
16 July 2009

Yesterday, Quinn and I made an awesome discovery: you can rent bikes for free1 in Vienna! You pay a one-time €1 charge to register, and then can borrow a bike for up to an hour for free. The second hour is €1, the third hour is an additional €2 and so on. But, if you return your bike and wait at least 15 minutes, perhaps visit a museum or grab something to eat, you rent again with the first hour being free!

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Vienna, Vienna, Austria

We biked to the Hofburg Imperial Residence and Palace of the Arts where we saw several amazing exhibits in the Ephesus Museum (which was amazing and informative to see after just recently being to Ephesus)…

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Vienna, Vienna, Austria


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Vienna, Vienna, Austria


…the Collection of Ancient Instruments

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Vienna, Vienna, Austria


…and the Collection of Arms and Armor

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Vienna, Vienna, Austria


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Vienna, Vienna, Austria

We got a quick bite to eat before catching a tram to Zentralfriedhof (Central Cemetery).

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Vienna, Vienna, Austria


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Vienna, Vienna, Austria


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Vienna, Vienna, Austria


Sunset at Zentralfriedhof
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Vienna, Vienna, Austria


  1. almost 

Dateline: Vienna, Day 1 – New Places, New Friends

Vienna, Austria
15 July 2009

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Vienna, Vienna, Austria


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Vienna, Vienna, Austria


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Vienna, Vienna, Austria


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Vienna, Vienna, Austria


St. Stephen
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Vienna, Vienna, Austria


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Vienna, Vienna, Austria


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Vienna, Vienna, Austria


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Vienna, Vienna, Austria

Essentially wandered around Vienna all day. Saw some churches. Then back to the hostel for happy hour. Met two Irish girls and another from Canada, Caitlin, who’s a Political Science and Environmental Studies major at University of Ottawa.

Dateline: Arbon, Day 2 – Lazy Tuesday

Arbon, Switzerland
14 July 2009

Today, I did nothing. And it was great. It was nice being in a, somewhat, familiar settings and just being lazy and sleeping in, watching TV, and getting laundry done (although, that was more of a challenge than I was hoping for).

From the album: "Andrew_Quinn_on_Europe_Tour" by Guenther Breu

After Remo and Günther got back from work, we walked around and had some dinner before departing for our train to Vienna.

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From the album: "Andrew_Quinn_on_Europe_Tour" by Guenther Breu

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We actually tried to get tickets for our train to Vienna before dinner, however the station was closed. So like all good travelers we winged it and ended up just talking to the conductor and buying tickets from him, which worked well enough. We shared a couchette with some fellow travelers from the USA, although they were much older.

Updated Itinerary

Progess is being made! I’m calling this Itinerary v0.2. It appears that the only country that will need a visa is Russia. Thus, I’m going to going to start my travels there since it will have to be the most planned part of this trip. I talked with Jeff last night, as he had traveled to Russia several years ago, and got some good information on places to go. I’m hoping to have trip start and end dates locked down and reserved by the end of March, along with all the Russian parts locked down and reserved. 

I also talked with Quinn and Charlie, both of whom have indicated they would at least be interested in doing some traveling with me as well. I have calls in to Katelyn and Erin, both of whom have been and are currently in Turkey, respecitvely.

Below is a list of places that I think I would like to visit, in roughtly the order that I would visit them. I’ve also added notes (mostly to myself) about things I’d like to do there. I think this seems like a more managable list than previously. I’m also trying to setup a framework of things to do, however still allow the trip to progress organically.

  • Day 1: 
    Seattle, Washington 
    Dulles, Washington, DC
  • Airplane/10 hrs/UA964
  • Day 2: Moscow, Russia12
    • Red Square
    • The Kremlin
    • GUM
  • Airplane/1.25 hrs/$60 USD/Rossiya – Russian Airlines3
  • Day 6: St. Petersburg, Russia45
  • Bus/6 hrs/€30 ($40 USD)/EuroLines
  • Day 10: Tallin, Estonia6
  • France:
    • Paris, France (Paris Air Show – 15 to 21 June 2009)
    • Toulouse, France7
    • La Barre, France8
    • Vélizy, France9
    • Bidos, France ((787 Production Stop: Messier-Dowty))
  • Italy:
    • Rome, Italy
    • Venice, Italy
    • Grottaglie, Italy10
    • Agnone, Italy11
  • Switzerland
    • Arbon, Switzerland
    • Interlaken, Switzerland12
  • Austria
  • Czech Republic
  • Poland
  • Ukraine
    • I’ve heard you can visit Chernobyl…could be cool.
  • Hungary
  • Turkey
  • Germany -> Seattle (UA8718)

Alternates:

  • Sweden13
  • Denmark->Seattle (UA9394)
  • Romania
  • Macedonia

  1. http://www.ricksteves.com/plan/destinations/east/moscow.htm 

  2. http://www.lonelyplanet.com/russia/moscow/sights 

  3. http://www.anywayanyday.ru/en/ 

  4. http://www.ricksteves.com/plan/destinations/east/petersbu.htm 

  5. http://www.lonelyplanet.com/russia/st-petersburg/sights 

  6. http://www.ricksteves.com/plan/destinations/scan/tallinn.htm 

  7. 787 Production Stop: Groupe Latécoère 

  8. Birthplace of Jean-Luc Picard 

  9. 787 Production Stop: Messier-Dowty 

  10. 787 Production Stop: http://www.seattlepi.com/business/275606_italy28.html 

  11. We visited Agnone a couple of years, it’s where my maternal great-grandfather was born, and  I’ve wanted to return here to just spend a few days hanging out 

  12. I’ve heard this is a must 

  13. 787 Production Stop: Saab 

Possible Itinerary

After months of plotting, I think I have a possible itinerary. I’m going to call it Itinerary v0.1. It’s basically a version of The Lonely Planet’s Behind The Old Iron Curtain in reverse.

  • Seattle, Washington
  • Paris, France
  • Berlin, Germany
  • Moscow, Russia
  • St. Petersburg, Russia
  • Tallinn, Estonia
  • Latvia
  • Lithuania
  • Belarus
  • Ukraine
  • Poland
  • Hungry
  • Romania
  • Bulgaria
  • Macedonia
  • Albania
  • Serbia
  • Bosnia and Herzegovina
  • Croatia
  • Slovenia
  • Austria
  • Czech Republic
  • Berlin, Germany
  • Seattle, Washington

A quick glance at the math yields 21 countries in 60 days, or about three days per a country. I still think this is a little fast, so I will be whittling this down to hopefully 15 countries or less (4 days per a country is a bit better, I think). The entire Behind The Old Iron Curtain trip is supposed to take 2-3 months, according to The Lonely Planet, with a budget of €30-50 per day. Currently, this would be $38-63 per day. Or up to $3,800 for 60 days. This is definitely within my budget. Although I don’t think that includes transportation. Still, I think things are looking pretty good.

I also checked United and A) I definitely have enough frequent flier miles; and B) it will only cost about $60 to book the US to Europe part of the flight.

Now, at this point you may be wondering why I want to tour former Eastern Bloc countries. Two words: Cold. War.

A little know fact about me, if I had to be a history major, my area of expertise (I’m assuming history majors have these) would be the Cold War. I think the Cold War was amazing for a variety of reasons. Two super powers on the brink of self-annihilation. Covert operations. Incredible leaps in technology that we’re still taking advantage of today. The list goes on.

There’s a still a lot to figure out though, including, but not limited, to: A shorter list of countries I’d like to visit. Medical Insurance. Theft Insurance. Visa for Russia (and possibly other countries). A travel partner (for at least some of the trip).