Thursday, November 8, 2012

Ich liebe dich, Wien

Today was all kinds of scuzzy turned to all kinds of beautiful. I woke up at least once an hour on my sleeper train last night. Having a compartment to myself, I was comforted in knowing my belongings and myself would be safe, at least from the terrors of other passengers. But certainly not from the vengeance of a moving train on an uneven track.

When it jolted, I jolted. When it swerved, I swerved. When it stopped at a station, my eyes would open briefly and beg to close again before the five hour nap was through.

It certainly wasn't enough time to feel refreshed, or even moderately less tired. At 3:45 am, I developed a migraine headache. By the time I woke to my alarm which I'd set the night before, it was 4:55. There was no turning back now.

The train stopped in Vienna at 5:45 am. I was forced out quicker than a speeding bullet (Superman, get it?). And being hesitant to hasten toward my hotel at such an early hour, I resolved that I'd walk slowly and experience the city at dawn.

Little did I know that slowly meant turning a 25 minute walk into an hour-long trek. With suitcase, purse and bag of food goodies in hands, I trudged through the open air on Landstraße. As I searched for a street on which to turn on, I made several wrong choices and ended up backtracking every step of the way.

But it was all worth it to see this beautiful city. Vienna is the birthplace of many Classical composers, and even just by walking through museums and looking at souvenir shops, you can tell this city has never given up on its culturally enriched past.

Walking through the city center is as pristine as an Orange County suburb. I make this comparison because when I am home, I rarely see any graffiti or ill-treatment of my city. And if I do, it is rectified moments later.

This is how the entire area of Vienna that I traveled through felt.

The first few hours were spent eating apfelstrudel at the Café Museum with my friend Dominik. While we've been penpals for years, this was our first opportunity meeting since he is from Austria and I am from the United States. It was a great opportunity not only for renewed friendship, but for the chance I had of seeing the city of Vienna with a local.

From then on we traversed the wide spaces of the Viennese town (city) center. We walked through and past Austrian government buildings, saw a palace, went on a ferris wheel, enjoyed traditional foods and went to a museum dedicated to the music of the city.

It was all very ideal.

I can't even begin to express my amazement with this city. I still subscribe to the belief that London is my raison d'être, the only city in the world where it absolutely 100 percent makes sense for me to live the rest of my life. But after just a short time in Vienna, I feel a deep respect for this city as well. For it's wealth of history, for its monuments and grandness, for its cleanliness, for its comfort.

While I don't know that I could live here, I do know I could visit again.

A day was just not enough. It started off so early that I assumed the time would be plentiful. But along each step of the way, I discovered the hours were growing less and less. My time with Vienna was becoming scarcer.

In a day I'll be moving onto Rome. Ordinarily I'd be thrilled at the prospect. Actually, I am quite thrilled. Rome is a city that I've longed to experience for years. Italy is a place I've wondered about for much of my life. And finally, by tomorrow afternoon, I will be right there.

But I am sorry to leave behind Vienna. To say goodbye to my friend Dom who went through all the trouble of showing me around the city today. To wave farewell to all the pretty buildings and the Opera House. I haven't even been here for 24 hours and I feel attached.

That being said, it's time to move on. And I'm excited. But I will be back to this city someday. I can just feel it.

No comments:

Post a Comment