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Closing the Gap

Well I know that this whole trying to write massive amounts about absolutely everything is kinda getting away from me. I think that might be because I no longer have an internet connection in my room. So perhaps I’ll work in no particular order so that I will eventually reach my goal of writing way too much about everything. People reading my blog will be saying “I don’t car about the number plates in Austria, I don’t need a flippin’ essay on every little detail of your trip!” and then I will know that I have truly reached the proper status of international traveller in this electronic epoch.

So let’s go with:

This Morning

This morning we went to church. Jo and I trotted off to a little Anglican Church hidden in the basement of some building about 20 minutes walk from our place. It was nice little church although the service was a bit dull, we all tried to sing hymns but I’m not sure if anyone knew the tune and the minister preached on something or other, but it wasn’t particularly much of anything. Something about home.

The best bit (as is often the case I have found) was the tea and coffee afterwards where we chatted with people from everywhere in the world but Hungary. It was fun to meet Americans, Africans, English, Australians, Hong Kongians. All of us together united over tea, coffee, biscuits and our common non-Hungarian-ness.

I did think about going to a Hungarian Church, but figured an English speaking service I might be able to connect with more than one I didn’t understand at all. And that was the case.

And as usual when I go to Anglican Churches that I haven’t really connected with, I appreciated the Prayer Book and its ability to preach the gospel no matter what the preacher says. Thank God for the Prayer Book!

Transit Day

I think this was the day I got up to last blog, Tuesday 4th July.

We were woken and the ripe old time of 8:30am (I think it was a long time ago) to head off to St Petersburg airport.

We were picked up by a taxi who took us on a scenic tour of all of St Petersburg’s Power Plants on our way to the airport. I enjoyed that because while I had seen a lot of palaces in St Petersburg I didn’t get to see one Power Plant. So hooray for Mr Taxi Man.

We also had a quick stop at one of the grave yards for the 1941-1945 siege of St Petersburg. It was this huge area of mass graves, marked only my stone markers for big sections indicating in what year people died. It was so sad. 300,000 people. I can’t get my head around the amount of death, and in one city.

We looked in a museum and there was some pages from a note book where a little girl listed when each of the members of her family died, Mother, Father, Uncles, Brothers, until the last note said “Now there is just Tanya [the girl], everyone else is dead” and these notes were found on Tanya’s dead body. It was horrible to think about.

The siege is etched into the landscape of St Petersburg. All over the place there a little monuments saying “1941-1945” and people have places flowers and wreaths under them. It was more than 60 years ago and people are still remembering. It makes you realise what an impact something like that would have on you, and on your identity as a city. I can’t comprehend.

We arrived at the airport real early, and managed to make our plane. I read heaps of The Satanic Verses which I have been reading for months. Probably my biggest chunk ever. I feel so good about myself. Mr Rushdie is a good writer.

When we arrived in Austria we were met by Grandpa who after meeting us took us to the car park where he had lost our rental car. We spent our first 30 minutes in Austria wandering around a car park looking for missing automobile. I found it in the end in some far flung corner. It’s a Renault Kangoo. A big ugly grey thing with “SIXT Rent a Car” written on the side. We are very conspicuous.

That night we wandered around Vienna and I had a Vienna Snitchle for dinner, cause what else would you eat when in Vienna?

That night, after finding our Hotel Jo and I went out to posh a little CafĂ© to watch the football. It was good to watch the World Cup at least in the country next door. There were some noisy men there who “shooshed” Jo and I for talking before the half-time kick off, so I shooshed in case I got bashed by an Angry Austrian Football fan.

I slept good that night.