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Matt McGee-Crane
I am a scientist by day and tech junky by..... Well all the time.
I am a scientist by day and tech junky by..... Well all the time.

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Well hello android 7.0! You were not expected.

Anyone else see this on their nexus 9?

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A beautiful evening for a movie! 

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I don't really like this new moto X pure......

QHD destroys my battery life if I use it hard (work requires me connected to email all day) and it has its jaggy moments.

It also is unbalanced in my hand. The thicker top makes it want to fall out of my hands constantly.

Not impressed. 

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I just want to say that +T-Mobile​ service was just awesome while we traveled Europe.

Coverage was abundant. While it was only 2g speeds, we could navigate, research places and post social media on the go across all the countries we visited.

When I ran into data problems in Hungary, I was able to call T-Mobile for free. The CSR named Cooper was just amazing and would call me back as we worked through steps trying to get us back online.

We got back online in about 20 minutes and enjoyed good service the rest of our trip.

Thanks +T-Mobile​ for being the Uncarrier and making this possible for us!

I added an awesome picture of the ferris wheel in Vienna for you! (had service even up there!) 
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Saw this Ferrari 430 in Budapest.....why would you make your car look like a cow?

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No baggage to claim.... It's in Atlanta. 

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Phase 3, Part 3 - Vienna and the trip home

We started today with a quick pastry and headed off to our one event for today…. Die Spanische Hofreitschule… the Spanish riding schook…. Of Vienna.

Lipenzanner Horses

The Spanish riding school is the premier school of horsemanship. Established 440 years ago, this school is revered for the training of horses and the talent of the riders. Sadly I couldn't get any pictures of the performance due to safety with the horses.

There are 2 schools: The school on the Ground and The school above the ground.

The school on the Ground is where riders train the horses in control and walk to demonstrate immense control and skill while riding.

The school above the ground is a level greater since this training is to control the horses to have them jump and even rear up on their back legs with a rider.

The show ended with a beautiful choreography of 8 riders and horses showing the hard work and training each person and animal goes through.

This was a really amazing show and I highly recommend this to anyone who gets the chance to see them perform anywhere.

The journey's end

We left Vienna about 2pm local time to begin our journey home.

This has been an incredible trip through 3 countries (5 if you count Slovakia and the Czech Republic we passed through on the sleeper train and return journey).

This was the first time for my wife and I in Europe as a couple and the furthest East in Europe both of us have ever traveled.

We are thankful for all the good hospitality we received on our journey and look forward to our next great adventure.

As always with our travels, we have adventures. Such as our bags going to Atlanta, from Amsterdam, because of such a short connection. They won't be in Philly until tomorrow morning….. When we are back in DC for work lol. Now our bags need to fly to DC then get delivered. An adventure!! 
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Phase 3, Part 2 - Vienna day 2

We started our day with delicious breakfast at a local diner-esque place right near our hotel. Good coffee and simple eggs and toast.

We arrived at the Hofburg Palace which was the winter home of the Hapsburg family. A mere 2600 rooms at its biggest in its history. Their summer residence, which is bigger, was 4km outside the city.

As we entered the square of the older part of the palace we came across a performance by a marching band. We marched behind them out into the old city side where they concluded. Lots of fun☺️

We decided to tour the ️Hofburg and started with the silver collection…. Which is way more than just silver. Most of the Silver and gold place settings were all melted down to fund the napoleonic war, even the Royal family was not immune to the law to melt down all silver. Every silver and gold place setting pictured was repurchased afterwards or acquired from neopoleon. Porcelain, which was costly, was too fragile for exclusive use so it was only for desserts and soups. A lot of the place settings were used until 2007 and the silverware utinsiles are still used today for official state functions.

Oppulence Abundant

To say Oppulence would do a disservice. It was to the point of overkill. Candelabras so ornate that you could spend all day just examining the craftsmanship of a single candelabra. Painted porcelain sets, containing setting for 60, that were never used because of their fragility.

The largest setting the Hapsburgs had was a setting for 140 people, each person having over 20 pieces. They had sets exclusive for their train travel and a set that came with them for their destination as well.

30 meter long table center pieces were the norm. Every piece of precious metal engraved with the Royal Crest.

Emperor Josef and Empress Sisi

We followed directly into the exhibit that talked about Empress Sisi and her beauty and tragic death.

Sisi clearly suffered from severe depression. She was chosen by the Emperor, who was her first cousin, after he fell in love with her when  she she, but her mother and sister went to start the secret wedding plans for Sirius sister and the Emperor. Sisi had just turned 15 and he was so stricken with her beauty that he chose her instead.

Her diaries reflect her feelings of the loss of her freedoms due to marrying an Emperor and all the requirements of that level of society. Sisi attempted to escape this through travel, horseback riding and poetry but could never quite escape the loss of self. There is an account of a bad fall off a horse and her being dazed and having headaches for a few days. Clearly a concussion which most likely made the depression worse.

She was tragically assassinated. Upon hearing the news of her death, the Emperor said “You do not know how much I loved her”.

We then had the chance to walk through the Imperial apartments where the Emperor and Empress lived. Emperor Josef worked tirelessly from 5am until dark, waking at 330 each morning and only sleeping in until 430 after late night events. Josef would meet with anyone who made an appointment, with seeing as many as 100 people before lunch twice a week, to listen to whatever they had to say.

We headed to the Naschmarkt which has plenty of restaurants and a flea market feel. We walked back to the memorial against war and fascism which had a man wrapped in barbed wire which was for a jeweler who was forced to scrub anti Nazi graffiti off the streets with a tooth brush.

We enjoyed a delicious treat at Demel, the confectioner favored by Sisi and now considered the premier choclatier of Vienna….. And we agree!

Wheel of Time

We finished today's journey at the permanent amusement park in Vienna where a Ferris wheel has stood since 1896. Classically red carriages carry you around and give you wonderful views.

The ferris wheel was the first thing rebuilt after World War II and was the shining symbol of recovery after the war.

You can have a private car for a romantic dinner or a family gathering and it looked so much fun! 
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A delicious treat this afternoon.

This confectioner was the choice the Empress and Emperor.... And I can see why!

Schokobombe und Sachertorte! 
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Phase 3, Part 1 - Vienna, Austria

We arrived this morning in Vienna after a 2.5 hour train ride from Budapest. Not bad even if you only took a day trip to Vienna.

We quickly made our way to our hotel, the InterCity Hotel, and dropped off all our luggage. Awesome benefit of the intercity hotel is the free city transit pass for our stay. We definitely took advantage of public transit in this city since it is quite robust.

We began our journey into town straight to St. Steven's Basilica right in the heart of the old city. An absolutely monstrous building which hosts the Vienna boys choir during the fall to spring (sad we can't see them). We only took a short time to look around and take some pictures.


We then headed down to the only remaining apartment in which Mozart lived while in Vienna. The whole building has been set up to give you nice in depth information about the life of Mozart during his best years here in Vienna. This apartment is where the Marriage of Figaro was written along with the Hayden Concertos.

We learned a lot about the lead up to Mozart's prosperous years and had the chance to see written applications requesting to be the Basilica composer (which he didn't get), various copies of his compositions as well as correspondence from various people giving clues about Mozart's life in Vienna.

We learned that an average middle income family, in Vienna during Mozart's time, could live very comfortably on 500 Florins per year. Mozart made 9000 Florins in his 3 years but still wrote to people begging to borrow money. The only logical conclusion was gambling debts were a major problem for him.

Mozart, considered a composer that transcends time, really struggled with everyday life.

Enjoyed a delicious hotdog, which was invented here but the inventor studied in Frankfurt, where it most likely got the name versus using Weiner (Wein =Vienna)

Get lost

We ventured to the ring road of Vienna with the intent of taking the tram on a full loop to get a quick look at some major sights. As we approached the northern end of the loop.... Our tram went a different way..... We rode a little thinking we would just end up back in the loop.... But realized that we kept getting further away from where we wanted to be.

After a course correction and ending up back where our tram sent us awry, we decided to huff it on foot as we have for the past 2 cities since it served us well.

We found the oldest church in Vienna, St. Rupert. Constructed sometime in the 8th or 9th century, it is still in use today and contains St. Ruperts remains.... In a box..... A glass box..sort of a codfin/sarcophagus... He was VISIBLE!

We continued around the ring road and saw the Austrian Stock Exchange and a beautiful building that was originally a barracks erected by the 18 year old emperor (who ascended at 18) who was nervous about all the uprisings happening in the region around 1848......good plan huh?

We then came upon the Rathaus (City Hall), where a big food carnival was happening (more later). We tried to check it out but would have to have thrown away our good aluminum water bottles... No way.

We saw the oldest remaining part of the original city wall, which was right below where Beethoven lived and composed!

We continued down the street to the Austrian Parliament (selfie time!) and you can see the difference..... No barricades like in DC.

We finished our round at the Hofburg Palace.... The winter home of the Emperor......

The main gate has 5 arches.... And the emperor was the only one allowed through the middle arch ... So we decided it was our turn. We will definitely check out the palace tomorrow.

We decided to drop our bag back at the hotel and go back to the food carnival... Which ended up being a huge set up with jumbotrons everywhere for the opening of the euro cup in France. It was France vs Romania. We had a blast and watched the game on their 100m2 jumbotron (pshhh I've seen rugs bigger than that!).

What a fun night even though Romania lost 2-1 (we chose Romania because.... Pssshh.. France).

We ended our first day with an obligatory Parliament Selfie. 
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