DAY 29, JUNE 15
(MATT) The next day, we awoke early (7 a.m.) and were at the prison camp by 8 a.m. It was the largest to all the Austrian prison camps with as many as 40 sub-camps. At that place, over 100,000 men, women, and children had died. 30,000 were Poles and 30,000 Russian, the rest a mix of people (even 48 Americans.) We saw their barracks, roll call ground, incinerating, gas chambers, and a large museum full of Nazi documentation of the death camps. There were lots of pictures as well. Some taken by Nazis, others from the film an American G.I. took upon the liberation of the camp from the S.S. by the Americans.
After a long tour, through the museum, we took a walk to the stone quarry, down the death steps where prisoners were forced to carry 70 pound rocks up these steps after having been starved and beaten to a pulp. I have no idea how men so starved can do such demanding work. They looked like skeletons with skin. We left around noon, having been there almost four hours and drove toward Wein (Vienna.) Sam drove while I wrote in the log and Chris and Jon slept.
We found "Camping West" in the out-skirts, rented a "bungalow" for the night (quad room basically) ($43) and drove on to Vienna. It was 3 p.m. at this time and we still had not eaten a bite all day. We had been trying to find food but everything was closed. We couldn't figure it out. So once into Vienna, we thought that we'd find a store there. No luck. We wandered around town, found the Stratsoper--Opera House and spied a sausage stand across the street. We bought four links for 120 schillings ($12) and at least took the edge off out hunger. Then we got in line for standing room seats for Sigfried at the low price of 30 schiilings ($3).
We knew it was five hours long and it was in a language we wouldn't understand but the tour was $5 so what could we loose? We found ourselves next to a German couple that spoke English and I asked them what Siegfried was about. The guy told us that he was a mythical German figure--that's it. That is all we knew. We watched for about l 1/2 hours and left after the first act, which was clapped back onto stage five times.
We left feeling a little sheepish, but figured we had at least gotten our money's worth so we consoled ourselves by trying to find something to drink and eat. We had discovered that it was the feast of Corpus Christi; that's why all the stores were closed. We did find a Lebanese restaurant that was open and bought strange food substances and little Cakes. It was not cheap and not substantial, but worth every penny. Then we walked up to St. Stephen's Cathedral and made a long visit. We watched some street performers on the way back to the car which I thought were American Indians and Chris thought were some other race he couldn't put his finger on.
Then we found our way back to the "bungalow," discovered that the camp store was closed. So we rushed back to the little town and found a Shell Station that was open, bought three bags of cookies, a big Coke, Fanta, and water, and were very happy. Back to the bungalow and eat our precious food. We drifted off soon after, Chris and Sam dreaming about the Quad and miscellaneous Fedorykas.