From the worst of days to best
We were on the final leg of our wonderfully picturesque cycling trip — Prague to Vienna — and to finish our adventure, we had a full day in the stunning surrounds of beautiful, old-world Vienna.
The day started out grey and miserable, with our outdoor coffee disturbed by the surrounding cigarette and cigar smoke of the not-so-health-aware Viennese.
Our hotel concierge brightly suggested a private city tour in a luxury van would do us (me, my husband, brother and sister-in-law) good. The van duly arrived with the driver suffering from a very bad cold that affected his strictly limited English. The view from the van was on a par with our driver’s power of expression, so we were pleased to return to the hotel to plan the rest of the day.
My sister-in-law, suffering with increasing abdominal pain (early appendicitis), retired to bed. Like good Aussie tourists, the rest of us headed towards Stephansplatz and St Stephen’s Cathedral under continuing heavy skies and drizzling rain. A reviver of some sort was needed and we found an outside cafe with a large umbrella.
Our waitress served us the required beer and white wine together with a huge beaming smile. “And why are you so happy?” inquired my curious brother. “I am so happy because I have found God,” came back the joyous reply.
Her declaration must have reached the Almighty: the rain stopped and in no time the sun began to shine. In celebration with her, we repeated our order and were filled with good cheer.
After Stephansplatz and the cathedral, my brother returned to his ailing wife (who fortunately was able to make it back to Australia for surgery). We began the long, picturesque walk along one of Vienna’s wondrous boulevards back to our hotel.
A call of nature was required so we tried to creep unobserved into a local Pizza Hut but were immediately spotted and ushered to a table by the smiling manager. We gave our obligatory order and were served with the most unexpectedly delicious oven-grilled chicken wings.
We found our hotel and decided our last day had become the best of days.
We have since returned to beautiful Vienna, with its spectacular rose displays in June and magnificent Spanish horses, but never managed to find our inspired happy waitress or our very welcome Pizza Hut. Send your 400-word contribution to Follow the Reader: email@example.com. Columnists receive a Paula’s Choice Resist Essential Kit with four skincare items, including cleanser and nourishing creams suitable for all skin types ($119.85). More:paulaschoice.com.au.