August 18, 2015
In Vienna – forecast cloudy with some drizzle. Fresh air, not cold, 100% happy. Vienna is a city I feel comfortable wandering without a map. I don’t really know where I’m going and I don’t really care either. It is just wonderful to drift down any lane I choose. Past different architecture and different people. Oh, some attractive young business men just passed. An old man helped me with directions this morning – though I have to say, I understand the metro system quite well here. It’s rather nice to be back in a German speaking country. Oh dear, the drizzle is starting to turn into actual rain. But I’m sitting here on this bench in the middle of some square, church bells are signalling it’s 12:00, my hair is pulled back in a braided bun, and I feel very classy. I think Vienna is one of those sophisticated cities. Maybe this is why other people keep telling me it’s boring. Perhaps because it doesn’t have much of a night life. But it has class, and culture, and classical music – and that’s the kind of stuff I like.
I don’t know if I’ll be able to spend three full days here on my own though. I wanted to do a bike wine-tasting tour but I would rather not have to do it in the rain. We shall see. Oh, I am really excited to go for some coffee and cake later on. I just really want to experience Vienna and soak up the atmosphere and not just go to museums the whole time. I’m trying to imagine what it was like 250 years ago when Mozart and Hayden and Beethoven were roaming the streets. How magical it must have been, though I imagine they didn’t think so at the time. Isn’t that rather funny how we don’t realize how special something is until we’re looking back at it from the future? I think the Viennese soccer team just walked by (do they even have one?). They were all wearing orange track suits anyway.
I suppose I should tell you how I got here. After getting off the bus and collecting my suitcase (I never saw the French couple again), I made my way to the metro – thank God for elevators! – and spoke to a nice couple from Victoria, BC. I accidentally hit the lady with my bag – that is why we started speaking. The husband lives and works in Vienna so the wife always has to go back and forth. Anyway, I got off at the stop Schonbrunn where I was going to wait for my host, Maria, till 8:15 when she was done work. Schonbrunn just so happens to be the place where the Imperial family lives and where Mozart and Strauss concerts are often held. I got to talking to the people selling tickets and ended up buying a ticket for either that night or tomorrow. Luckily Maria said she could pick me up later if I wanted to go to the concert that night so I talked to the ticket sellers a bit more until their shift was over and – oh! It is starting to rain harder. I shall have to find a coffee place. Plus I am starving, having only eaten a granola bar for breakfast.
Later – 12:55pm
I just finished the absolute BEST peach cake in my entire life! I found this cafe selling cake and coffee for $5 (which I suppose isn’t that good of a deal but still) and it tasted absolutely divine. I’m a bit disappointed because the waitress couldn’t take a picture that wasn’t blurry but what can you do. She’s a baker, not a photographer. This little place is so cute and apparently, the furniture was established by Maria Theresa in 1747. The chairs and tables and cabinets are rustic – just like my apartment will be one day. Gosh, I’m quite full now. It was a big piece of cake.
Anyway, I was talking to the ticket sellers (who luckily gave me the pen I am currently writing with) and when their shift ended, I walked the grounds of the palace and waited till 7:30 when I decided I could go inside and change into my red dress. (Because there was no way in hell I was going to wear jean shorts to a performance). I must have looked so funny with my big backpack walking into a palace lugging my suitcase behind me. I got a lot of amused glances, anyway. But then I emerged from the bathroom feeling much more like I belonged. I love that red dress. While fixing my make-up, the lady next to me asked what instrument I played. I didn’t know how she knew I played an instrument but then she told me she has good intuition. (I think she thought I was performing though). We ended up talking a long time. She is from New York but now lives in the outskirts of Copenhagen with her husband, Henrik. I can’t really imagine moving from New York to Copenhagen but she said she really likes it. She even learned how to speak Danish! Her name is Simone and she is an artist. I liked her – we had a lot to talk about. She thought I was 18, but then she said I was very mature. Hah! Little does she know that I still think farts are hilarious.
I sat in the first row of section C and at 8:30, the concert began. It was quite enjoyable. Mozart and Strauss selections including Don Giovanni, The Magic Flute, and the encore that the VSO always plays. They had opera singers and some ballet dancers as well. It was a nice evening – a nice way to spend my first night in Vienna.
When it was over at 10pm, I had to meet Maria at the station. The apartment she lives in with her boyfriend, Martin, was only a short walk from the station. It’s a very artistic house – paint on the walls, art work, and lots of posters. They gave me some pizza that they had ordered and it was the most delicious pizza I have ever had. Lox and cream cheese!! Perhaps it tasted even better because the only thing I ate for dinner was peanuts and some chocolates. Such is the life of a traveler sometimes. Tonight I am going to help her make Schnitzel – I’m rather looking forward to that! Oh yes, this morning I took a shower and I had to use my bungee jumping t-shirt to dry myself because I forgot to bring a towel. I think I am becoming quite resourceful…
Very funny thing! I just heard someone whistling A Little Night Music. I guess when you’re in Vienna…haha. Also, the music in this cafe is nice. They just played Ain’t it a Kick in the Head. Wow! I am still full from that peach cake and coffee. Looks like it was a good investment. I suppose I should probably walk around Vienna some more now. It is almost 1:30. Let the adventure continue!
Later – 2:56pm
Not cold at all (not even wearing a jacket) but still persistently cloudy. I’ve just been roaming around, hardly knowing where I am going. Right now, I am in front of some big church that has a big screen in front of it for the 25 Film Festival. I wonder what time they play the film…probably tonight. I suppose I shall miss it.
August 19, 2015
It is almost 1:00 on a Wednesday in Vienna and I am still on my bed. I feel vaguely guilty about that, but really, I feel no desire to be outside at the moment. It’s not raining, but it is rather cloudy and dismal out. I just have no desire to walk about by myself right now. I am tired too. Perhaps if I had a friend we could go out into the city and relax, but as I am by myself at the moment, no part of me wants to aimlessly walk about or write on a bench under the clouds when I could be doing that from a warm bed. If it clears up tonight, of course I will go out. But for now, I shall take the time to catch up on my blog, and my journal, and pictures. That’s important too.
OKAY 2:18 – time to go explore Vienna and make some friends!!!
Later – 4:49pm
Well, I got my lazy butt (not lazy, more like tired) out the door and am sitting in the city. I really would have liked to have a done biking tour down by the Danube in the Viennese countryside but the weather is simply not cooperating. I will come back one day, perhaps. Anyway, I am sorry I never finished writing yesterday. I ended up walking horribly far away – by the Belvedere Castle – and had no idea how to walk back. Also, I was much too tired to walk back even if I known where to go. Luckily, I had my weekly transit pass. When I made my way back to St. Stephen’s Dom, the sun had come out and it was glorious! It’s amazing what the sun can do for one’s mood and how it can change your perspective of a city just like that. I was supposed to be home to help Maria make the Schnitzel but ended up texting her to say I would be home later. I wanted to enjoy the sun as much as possible. She said that was fine and that we could have a later dinner. I ended up buying my art work for $30. The artist had different buildings and cafes, as well as two lovers going to the opera, a ballerina and violinist. I didn’t know what to choose – it took me forever to decide – but I ended up picking the violinist. I didn’t want another painting of architecture and to me, classical music and culture in general is what Vienna is all about, so I’m glad I chose the violinist.
August 20th, 2015
I don’t remember what caused me to abruptly stop writing last time – I was telling you about my art work and then I just stopped. Anyway, my last day in Vienna is today. The weather is considerably better for which I am thankful. It’s still not the greatest, but it’s better. I bought an ice cream with chocolate sauce from McDonald’s for $1 and felt quite care free as I walked under the Viennese sun. Then I walked along the Blue Danube (cue Rango flying to it) and it was very peaceful. Lots of art was being created as I walked along. At 7:30, I met Karina’s friend from Manchester: Andreas and his girlfriend also named Carina. They were both very nice and we found lots to talk about. We went for a drink at a restaurant and then they took me to a Naschtmarkt and treated me to a typical Viennese drink called Hugel or something like that. (I can’t remember what it was called). There were mint leaves in it – quite tasty!
Did I ever tell you I saw Rochelle and Kristoff again? I was just walking down the street when I randomly heard someone yelling ‘Hi!’over and over again. So I turned to look and there they were, sitting on some bench! This time they gave me their number – it would be nice to see them in Paris!!
That was how I spent my last day in Vienna. Perhaps it wasn’t my favourite city in the world but I think that was largely due to the weather. It still had its moments though – and hey, it’s the second most livable city in the world so that’s got to count for something.