On the second day of my conference, my sessions did not begin until mid-afternoon, so I had a bit of time to go out and explore. I strolled to Stephensplatz to check out St. Stephen’s Cathedral because, aside from ride Ferris Wheels in Europe, I also visit a lot of churches. I have some issues with organized religion in general, but I will admit that some stunningly beautiful buildings have been created in its name. I spent the five Euro to take the elevator up (I’m sure there were probably stairs somewhere, but I didn’t see them, and I had limited time) to enjoy the view and get a closer look at the mosaic tile roof. It was well worth it.
From there, I headed to Rathaus, which serves as the seat of the Mayor and the City Council, chuckling to myself that such a place sounds remarkably like rat house. Near Rathaus was another beautiful gothic church that I hadn’t even realized was there, but hey, I figured I’d go take some pictures since I was collecting European churches anyhow.
From there, I headed over to yet another church, the church of St. Francis of Assisi.
After that, it was time for me to get back to the hotel and get ready for my conference sessions. As I got into my conference-appropriate clothes, I noticed a problem with my tights. They were brand new, never worn before, and they had big holes in the bottoms–oh wait, these tights are footless! I must not have noticed when I grabbed them at Target. I’m guessing the were in the wrong place on the shelf and I didn’t look closely enough at the package to actually notice the lack of feet. I don’t quite see the point of footless tights. I can’t think of many situations where I would want to be wearing tights but not have my feet covered. They would have looked pretty ridiculous with the rest of the outfit I was wearing and were only the pair of grey tights I had with me, so I stared despondently at my bare feet for a few moments and then did the only thing I could think of. Feeling thankful, for a change, that I am short, I yanked the end of the tights down over my feet, folded them over to secure them, and then put on my shoes. Folded tights in the bottom of one’s shoes do not make for extreme comfort, but I figured I could grin and bear it in the effort to not look like a dork who had inadvertently bought footless tights.
That evening, a colleague and I went out to dinner directly from the convention center. We took a train to the Museum Quarter and headed to Witwe Bolte. I had pre-screened the menu online and found that, not only did they have vegetarian specialties, but they were not hidden in the German-only section. On the way to the restaurant, as I cursed my lack of forethought in wearing heels as I navigated cobblestone streets, we passed a hat shop that caught my eye. Hunger and the desire to get off my feet (which, remember were also standing on tights bunched up in the bottoms of my shoes) led me to pass it by and not stop in.
As we examined the menu at Witwe Bolte, both my colleague and I found “clear soup” that came with a “fresh insert daily” to be amusing. When asked about it, the waiter did his best to explain.
“It’s a clear soup,” he said.
“But what is it?” my colleague pressed.
“It’s clear soup.”
“So, it’s just a broth?”
“No, it has…um…pancakes in it.”
“Yes. Um. Pancakes. Chopped up.”
At the time, I thought that the language barrier was preventing us from obtaining an adequate description of the soup, but later googling revealed that German pancake soup is, indeed, a thing. Who knew? Well, I guess the Germans and the Austrians did, but I didn’t. That’s one of the great things about traveling–all the learning!