I know - too much. But not nearly enough to sum up my trip to Austria.
Vienna is the opposite of Berlin. It's an old city that revels in it's own elegance and artistry. Viennese culture is preserved to the highest possible degree, with every street corner being an excuse for a cafe or museum. I kept expecting to hit "the edge" - the part where the "old" part of most cities reaches it's limit and you're suddenly surrounded by glass and high rises, but I ended up at the Spanish Riding School instead. The edge doesn't exist here. Vienna perpetually exists in its own past. With that said, I saw more young people here than I've seen anywhere else so far. Sitting outside the Cafe Hawelka, one of the oldest in the city, I felt the appeal. Everywhere, the main hobby seems to be "appreciating life". Even when we accidentally wandered into the university library, there wasn't a dead silence full of stress - there was a light hum of conversation, the low rumble of barely suppressed laughter, and people sharing food over textbooks. That's another thing - THERE'S SO MANY THINGS TO EAT. I think I ate my own weight in apfelstrudel but I regret nothing.
I TURNED 18. This was actually the perfect city to do it in, for me at least. I had originally planned to go to Giverny to see Monet's pink house and his final works, and when that fell through I was rather put out. Lo and behold - Vienna came through. The Belvedere, which is the gem of the city, is home to Klimt's "The Kiss", and countless other works of his. (Go watch The Woman in Gold) I was in impressionist heaven. Plus, there was apple strudel in the cafe, which slightly covered the sting of my grandmother ABANDONING ME (okay, so maybe I wandered off and she didn't have her phone, but still). Then, just to cover all the bases, the Albertina (more modern art) had a MONET EXHIBIT. The turn up was real guys.
I've developed a serious neck pain from staring at ceilings but it's totally worth it - in the Great Hall of the Österreichische Nationalbibliothek (hah) I actually just laid on the floor to see it all. These buildings were built to be works of art in and of themselves, not just to contain people and things. In summation, here's what I learned in Vienna:1. You don't get coffee to go. Ever. Anywhere.2. The museum guards are definitely always making fun of the Americans.3. It makes total sense to to stare deeply at a painting for over an hour.4. Old Ferris wheels are better than new ones.5. Do not, under any circumstances, make jokes about Mozart.
Also, always ask how long the trip will take before getting on the train, because if you don't,
you might just find yourself sitting on your suitcase in a corridor for 8 hours.
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