Archduke Charles of Austria Statue, Heidenplatz, October 2002. My maiden voyage to Austria certainly didn’t turn out as I’d expected. I landed in town with a couple of friends, loaded with ambitious plans for a weekend of high culture. But in the end it just didn’t happen. I suppose I could blame it on the rain, which didn’t stop coming down from the moment we arrived to the morning we boarded our train back over to Bratislava. This shot was taken on our first day, shortly before our visit descended into an almighty pub-crawl.
Forgotten Pub, October 2002. I wish I could remember what this place was called, or even some rough approximation of its whereabouts. All I can recall is that our pub-crawl started here and the beers kept on coming. I’d only just befriended Jon and Ben, fellow teachers at the school I worked at in Bratislava. It was a getting to know each other trip and the beginning of what would become great friendships.
Champions, American Sports Bar, October 2002. At some point, already highly inebriated, Ben and I set our minds on finding a place to watch the football match between Slovakia and England, a qualifier for Euro 2004 in Portugal. In the end this massive sports bar more than delivered. Come full time we were horribly drunk, England had won 2-1 (with goals from Michael Owen) and Ben and I had spent way too much time giving Jon (an American from Nashville) a chaotic explanation of the offside rule using salt and pepper shakers.
‘The Local’, October 2002. Our meals during that trip were invariably taken at this cosy little Austrian restaurant/café/bar somewhere in the city centre. It had a German name we couldn’t pronounce, so we simply called it The Local as that’s pretty much what it became. A charming old Austrian dame brought us a steady supply of drinks and Wiener Schnitzels and seemed to take a shine to Jon’s southern charms. Indeed their harmless flirting served up plenty of light entertainment during our visits.
Somewhere in Vienna, October 2002. I’ve never been much of a drinker and my attempts to keep up with Jon and Ben proved futile. On our final night, the bender to end all benders, they were knocking back two to three beers for my every one. Happily then, I was sober enough to catch this delicious shot on our way back to the hostel. Stumbling across an abandoned shopping trolley, it seemed only right that Ben climb inside and demand to be chauffeured back. I call this photo happiness. For more info on that long ago Vienna trip, check out my short story Blood in the Lobby here.