Oh I’ve got you to thank for this. You can’t say you’ve never had a doubt…
So here I am filling in an hour or so before my train to Munich leaves. For some reason I booked at 4pm train. I don´t know why. It was over 6 weeks ago since I booked all this stuff (and I can’t remember what I had or didn’t have for breakfast :P) but I assume it was cheaper. Whatever the reason I was able to fit in a little extra of Vienna before I left which is definitely a good thing.
I had a choice of a variety of art museums or to go to the United Nations base in Vienna for a tour. Knowing me, guess which one I did? Yep I was off to the UN. After seeing but not being able to fit in a tour of the United Nations in New York it is a good example of things just working on my tour. Getting in to the United Nations is harder than breaking in to Fort Knox though. Once you step off the Metro you go through an xray machine just like in the airports. Then you buy your ticket (just4 euros which I thought was a bargain) and then you go through another 2 security checks. One takes down your passport details as technically you are in an international zone and no longer in Austria and another is just more xrays (in case a crafty terrorist someone managed to skip through the last one undetected).
As I sat around and had an ice cream and waited for the tour to start I had never wanted to be an older person more in my entire life. Why this wish for sudden ageing? Well as I looked around the group of about 30 people, they either classified as older people (50 plus) or massive geeks. Like I am talking “Big Bang Theory” level of geeks. I was confronted once again with my geekhood, but at least I can take solace in the fact that I was definitely the coolest of those said geeks 😉 haha
Eventually our German and English tour started. Once again I was impressed with the ability of a tour guide to flawlessly swap between two languages. Also, it appears it takes 50% longer to say a sentence in German than it does to say the same phrase in English. The tour took your around most parts of the building – the memorial park, the conference rooms, the artwork donated by various member states as well as other areas. It was a buzzing building full of people and probably the most truly multicultural workplace one could ever see. Our guide also gave us a great overview of both the UN as a whole and also the specific role of the Vienna branch (basically Nuclear Energy, International Security and Crime & Drugs). She also had a few anecdotes to pass on that were quite funny.
With a morning to fill in Vienna it was well worth the trip for anyone who is politically minded. Especially as I finally got around to reading Obama’s take on the world beyond America’s borders in Audacity of Hope last night where he focuses a fair bit on the UN and Americas need to be an active player in it.
Anyway, Munich awaits! I think I might just fit in an Austrian beer at the pub before I have to head to the train station…
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