after 5 hours of bus rides, almost 20 hours on planes and a 6 hours on trains from munich, i arrived in vienna on aug 1st, 9:20pm. nino, my austrian friend whom i'd met in thailand, was there to greet me. much the same as i remember; one long dread hanging from the top of his head and a smile from ear to ear.
nino's apartment is close enough to the station that we could walk there in five minutes. despite living in downtown vienna, he's manage to score a huge, high ceiling apartment in a beautiful old building, rent free. his roomate's uncle owns the building and is waiting to renovate, so for the next two years, nino and his friend can stay there for only the cost of utilies. this is a twenty minute walk from central downtown with its museums, fine dining and tourist hooplah. redunkulous.
after a nite of catching up and shaping some form of plan for the next few days, we were up the next morning to take a train to bad vaslau, nino's hometown, where i met his mom and we procured wheels. the an hour drive to meet his friend, katy, at her beautiful home in the austrian countryside. we rally raced up through the valley, speeding by farms, high hills and a lot of limestone rock bluffs. these hills are the foothills of the alps. baby mountains. at our destination, we met some more of nino's friends. stefan, who'd dropped by nino's apartment the nite before. lanky with a tied bunch of long dreads and a quiet, friendly demeanor. sebastian, sporting a mohawk and some piercings, also friendly and jovial, despite the facade. christian, julian and his girlfriend also joined.
the half hour approach up the hill through the trees was a nice warmup before climbing. the weather here is rediculously hot right now, but the crag luckily was in the shade and had a small breeze that cooled the sweat off our brows.
i started with a 6c (11b) with a bouldery start that kept me thinking and had me climbing a little too tentatively. read that as 'i was scared'. next, we decided to push ourselves with something a little harder. a steep, pocketed 7b+ (12c) had me pumped and taking some big falls that was perfect for getting my head into the climbing game here on the rock here in europe. three attemps left me hurting, pumped, sweaty and very drained. despite a salami sandwich that katy had brought for me, i hadn't really eaten anything all day.
after a quick dip in the cold mountain stream, we drove back at mach 3 through the winding countryside to katy's house where she and her roomate, a talented chef, cooked up some delicious cucumber soup and very satisfying macaroni and cheese dish. eating outside, we stuffed ourselves, sipping cold austrian beer and watching a storm roll up into the valley. black clouds grew overhead as the wind picked up, sending bottles crashing over and us running for cover.
after a very restful sleep, i'm up early and getting ready for another day of awesome, beautiful austrianess. this place ain't so bad...