The loneliness hit me hard this morning. I questioned my decision to travel. What am I really doing here?
I laid in bed and soon realized that I could go home whenever I wanted, just buy a ticket and leave.
I could do whatever I wanted. Few people ever get to say that in their lives and here I am, in Vienna, moping about, woe is me.
Ribs would help me get over most anything I reckoned.
I knew the local brewery down the road would be good and inexpensive compared to the tourist brewery I was at the night before.
The pretty Asian server was there and we again had communication issues, but nothing that couldn’t be solved via pointing at the menu.
Really good pork ribs were delivered soon after my pint.
I’m not sure why I was surprised by the availability of ribs throughout Europe. I knew they have pigs sure, so I guess it was just the Texan in me thinking no one does it as well so why would they try?
Everyone, everywhere cooks similar things and some are probably better than you’re used to so yeah it’s ok the think your area’s version is the best, but that shouldn’t stop you from trying because it’s different. Not better or worse, just different.
After ribs n beers I took a longer, circuitous route next to the river on a gravel walkway so I could see the island restaurants and bars that were in the river.
I had walked past another Hard Rock Cafe and knew I needed a pin for my brother. How this chain selected locations I literally stumbled upon was quite amazing.
I never searched for one, I’d always seemed to pass by one on my way to another landmark.
After my pin was secured I popped back to my hostel and picked up my clothes.
I dropped off the pin and clothes in my room and walked the short distance to the metal bar.
It was small, L shaped bar with seats for maybe 7 people.
The bartender saw me and walked over my way. He looked like a biker: long grey hair, multiple silver earrings in each ear, leather vest exposing his tattoo sleeves, a chain wallet and ripped jeans completed his outfit.
‘Muraurer, bitte,’ I said.
He asked a question in German, I shook my head, then he asked another question in French!
‘Uh English please.’ I stammered.
‘Oh wow ok you don’t look English, haha,’ he exclaimed with a hearty laugh. He then pronounced the beer properly as he cracked it open.
I handed him a note and out came a huge leather wallet from a leg pocket that opened up revealing a number of smaller sections for different note denominations plus a pocket for change.
He pulled glasses from his vest and slowly counted back my change.
‘We don’t get many Americans here, they don’t seem to like Vienna!’ He said as he guffawed.
I sat at the corner of the L, window behind me. In front of me down the bar were three guys, one was eating soup.
They spoke Austrian and the bartender joined them in conversation.
A bottle from a shelf behind the bar was pulled down and they all took a shot.
80’s hair metal blared from the speakers.
I sat near the door and people watched out the window awhile. No one to talk to here it seemed.
A pretty gothic looking girl with multiple facial piercings walked in accompanied by a skinny guy with his hair pulled back in a pony tail.
The skinny guy hugged the bartender who then handed him a cash drawer.
He disappeared through an archway, a sign posted above a drawing of a smoking cigarette and an arrow pointing down.
Smokers lounge was inside, in the basement.
It didn’t make sense until I thought about the weather, it snowed here so they probably wouldn’t want to huddle outside.
As if on cue, it began to rain pretty hard. Guess I wasn’t going anywhere for a while.
I waved and got the bartender’s attention for another beer.
Now Black Sabbath was playing, I always liked those guys.
Another shot went down with the guys so with no one to talk to I figured I could at least kill a few minutes and check out the basement smokers lounge.
These old buildings were for shorter people, I nearly bonked my head on the low ceiling as the stairs spiraled down.
The lounge was tiny, a small bar to the left of the stairs with a couple of chairs, a couch was in an adjoining room.
A wooden shelf jutted out of the stone wall to the right, no chairs, but it was an ideal place to rest your beer.
The music was loud down here, uncomfortably so. I was the only one here aside from smoking goth girl and bartender who somehow were holding a conversation despite the blasting hair metal.
The walls were covered by promo photos of forgotten 80’s bands, most I’d never heard of so I presume they were local acts.
A few photos were signed, all framed in long precise rows.
It was so small of a space, loud, and reeked of stale smoke, beer. I had to get out.
Back upstairs, I noted it had stopped raining and I was now the sole person in the bar.
The bartender grinned at me and held another bottle in his hand. Now he was interested in talking to me because he didn’t have anything else to do.
Why not make a friend over a beer? Not often you get to talk to an Austrian after all.
He had been to Texas and was amazed at how big it was.
‘I flew over it and it was such a long flight I fell asleep! Haha,’ he wheezed.
My Austrian friend had lived all over the world. In the US, Switzerland, France which made me wonder what exactly he did for work that allowed him to move so often.
Our talk eventually came to music. I do enjoy hard rock, metal, so I mention all the classical history of the city.
‘Ah you enjoy symphonies. I love opera! Haha!’ he exclaimed.
I wish I were making it up, but he indeed laughed after nearly every sentence he said.
‘I like metal, but I love opera. I need fucking passion!’ He exclaimed.
We talked about some of his favorite operas and my favorite symphonies.
I mentioned music memory contest held in elementary school as my I introduction to classical music.
‘Haha, we are born with that music here in Austria! And why is everything in the States a contest?’ he exclaimed.
Mozart came up and he highly recommended Salzburg, Mozart’s home village.
I had a chance to go to Salzburg after my visit to Munich, but I chose Zurich.
I soon finished my beer and more people wandered in so I felt it time to leave.
I waved to my new fiend and he grinned and toasted me with his beer.
This bar was very close to my room which was great as it started raining again.
If I walked close to the buildings the awnings kept me dry.
Once I got inside, I decided to hang outside in the courtyard with the smoking chess masters.
No conversation, they were really all in on chess.
It stopped raining, so I sat a moment and reflected on my stay in Vienna.
Since 3rd grade I’d dreamed of Vienna, Mozart, and the Danube River and here I was, in the very city, breathing in the same air, seeing the same buildings. Wow !
Now my time was over here.
Tomorrow I was on to Prague.
Beer: Murauer Märzen
Song: Mozart’s Requiem