The days were usually very overcast and I grew paranoid about being caught in the rain so I would stay in my room, writing and researching my next move until the afternoons.
Doing some research I located a castle and park a short walk away through Vienna’s city centre.
I also began to realize I was weary of making decisions, walking everywhere. I missed conversation, my friends.
Hours of introspection sound nice, but if silence is forced on you, as in sitting at a communal table and no one speaks English, well now I know what being alone in a crowd means.
This hostel offered free laundry service so I packed up everything except what I was wearing and dropped them off with the friendly receptionist.
All the hostel receptionists were super friendly and welcoming, they usually were the only people I talked with so I tried to think up a question to ask for a bit of conversation.
‘What’s a good place for coffee? What is a cool landmark to see? Where do you like to go in town?’ Those types of small talk helped me stay connected.
I was directed by the receptionist to a coffee spot inside the park that I had walked around in this area, but never walked through. It was huge space, a full square city block.
The coffee spot was still closed but I did walk around the grounds which were full of flowers and a small fountain full of turtles.
This was a royal summer residence turned to a park and art museum.
There was a small coffee shop across the street so I had a cup there and plotted my route downtown.
It was pretty much a straight walk down the street, only 1 turn.
I passed by a rock bar and made note how close it was to the hostel. Maybe tonight or tomorrow.
Vienna was a pretty city to walk around but it seemed to not have many big or historic landmarks. None of those things that you have to see like in other cities, this was just a city filled with old, elegant buildings.
I came to a huge, Gothic cathedral, sadly undergoing renovation as one side was covered in scaffolding.
Across the street was Sigmund Freud Park so I walked around for a more head on view of the cathedral.
I wound up in wino central, as several approached me for euros, others just sat on a bench close and passed out. Time to split.
The park is near a bus, tram stop so that’s likely why it was so full of winos.
Soon I make a left and the avenue opens up and cars are replaced by bikes and horse and carriages.
I soon find a film festival area in front of a large ornate building. A large screen is in front of several temporary bleachers.
Alas they only show films after sunset.
There are food booths on the walkway to the screening and each stall offers a different country’s cuisine.
The servers are all dressed in their restaurant country’s attire, a great attention to detail, but stereotypical.
I know most Germans don’t wear lederhosen and presume Aussies don’t wear all khakis a la Steve Irvin.
Soon I’m in Volksgarten, a huge green space in the middle of the city.
Benches, roses and statues are everywhere. Many people are picnicking, children are running and laughing. It’s a very calming place.
The history is wonderful as well, Johann Strauss, Brahms and other composers have conducted symphonies here.
I closed my eyes and try to imagine what that would’ve looked and sounded like over a hundred years ago.
All those wigs, huge dresses, very formal attire, seated near a small symphony, the poor likely lined on the other side of the metal fence, fighting for a view.
Across from the park is another public space in front of an ornately decorated building likely used for government purposes long ago.
I hear singing, trumpet and drums. I soon see about 50 people marching around the grounds.
I follow them and they make a circle, dance a jig while circling a guitarist, drummer in the middle before moving into a courtyard nearby.
A man holds up a megaphone and begins talking in Spanish. I don’t get the gist of their protest, but they have Mexican flags waving.
Perhaps this is calling for justice for the missing students, overall corruption in Mexico, trade practices, I’m not sure how or why this is going on in Austria.
I grow a bit hungry and located a brewery whose beer I’ve previously had on this trip a short walk away.
Past elegant fountains and street performers to the end or start of the tourist quarter, I locate the brewery just off the Main Street.
I pull up a stool at the bar and order a pint.
I’m seated next to a lady and Japanese man who is eating a whole pig’s worth of ribs, a tremendous quantity.
He is practicing his English, she has never been to Japan and is from St Louis I put together eavesdropping.
I attempt to make an aside to join in but she is set on only talking to the Japanese guy, which I get, that’s why you travel.
She can talk to anyone about St Louis but only on this trip will she get to talk to a Japanese guy.
I have a few pints, making small talk to the two bartendresses as the tap is directly in front of me so we are always looking at each other as they pour pints.
I’m careful to be a considerate tourist as they are just in college, young ladies so I focus questions about the city, country.
They are both from rural Austria and don’t know much about the city activities and weren’t aware of the film festival going on a short walk away. They just go to school and work apparently.
Soon the people next to me leave so I get a light snack to sate my hunger and save a bit of €.
This was a tourist spot and the prices reflected that. Servings were huge though.
I finish up my pint and head out.
City centre is even more beautiful at night when it is lit up by streetlights against the night sky.
The walk back takes longer as I walk slower taking it all in as well as trying to capture a picture of this night scene.
I pass by the rock bar and decide to save it for tomorrow.
The hostel sells beer so I get a bottle and sit outside watching the chess masters smoke and argue about strategy.
A light rain lulls me to sleep, a cool breeze from my open window is also welcome end of the evening.
Beer: Sipper Pale Ale
Song: Blur Mirrorball