Where is here, Who is now

[Modern Art Museum in Vienna... You could be walking along the street, minding your own business, when all of a sudden a house drops on your head. Hey... it happened to the Wicked Witch of the East... it could happen to you. All I'm saying is be careful. ]

Since I've been so slack lately I've decided to write TWO entries in quick succession. Can you hear the thunder of seven horsemen coming!!!

Austria was awesome. Once again I met some great people there. I went to Salzburg first and contacted an Iraqi guy at short notice. He picked me up from the train station, showed me around, took me for drinks, then gave me the bed of his eldest child, who then had to sleep on the couch. Awww. It was a comfortable night's sleep and I feel 14 years younger. I hope I didn't disturb his other two children who were on the bunk-beds beside me. Salzburg is the birthplace of Mozart. So everywhere you look is Mozart Cafe, or Mozart Restaurant, etc. It's also where The Sound of Music was filmed, so I couldn't help but sing How do you solve a problem like Maria and Favorite Things as I strolled down the LONG shopping promenade. Rain drops on roses and whiskers on kittens...

The next day I went to Vienna and stayed with a Croatian guy called Darko. This guy is an absolute legend. 24 carrotts of Croatian gold. He picked me up from the train station accompanied by his other guest, an American guy called Steven. He and I shared a bed and still woke with our heterosexual urges intact. I think it helped that we cuddled each night and discussed our feelings before letting our eye-lids drop :-P

Vienna is amazing. The city thrives with honor and dignity. The sale of newspapers works on a trust system. They hang in a durable plastic sheath on the street-light post, and those wishing to purchase a paper simply deposit the nominated sum into a little recepticle, also attached. You can hire a bike for an hour absolutely free to get from one major station, for example, to another. All you do is register your credit card details and the first hour of hire is on the house. Years ago, you didn't even have to register your card details, but Romanians and Bulgarians began stealing the bikes and taking them back over to their respective countries. The Austrians have so much pride.

Maternity leave in Austria is 18 months!!! And after that the male can take 6 months off. This place rocks! Of course taxes are high, but you get loads in return. Steven and I roamed the streets together, skipping with our hands inter-linked. He would pretend to be Sister Maria and I would be Captain Von Trap (occasionally we'd swap roles). We went to the cemetary and saw the graves of Mozart, Beethoven, Strauss, Schubert and Brahms. There were other famous dead people too. Some of the tombstones were better than my house. We saw the famous balcony where Hitler delivered his Martin Luther King-We the people-equivalent speech. In any case, it was a speech inspirational enough for people to act on. Nobody has ever set foot on this balcony since. Before, due to pride and reverence, but now due to shame and disgust.

I'm now in the Republic or Ireland. I had to work for four days... such an inconvenience. But now I'm travalling around the countryside. Yesterday the heavens reminded me that I need new shoes - probably a good idea since it rains here so often. Yesterday it rained down, diagnal, sideways and UP!!! I'm not kidding! The wind was blowing the light water droplets back into the air before they fell completely to the ground. Much of the landscape here is reminiscent to that of New Zealand, or country Australia, but it's nice to see green again.

It's a much more expensive here than in eastern Europe. I paid 57 Euro for a train ticket down south and ended up sitting on the floor. It was the end of a public holiday and apparently everyone was going home. I'm in Galway at the moment. And I'm sitting on a chair. Heading back to Dublin in a day or two