White Easter

If I had to pick one word to describe how I felt about Vienna, it would be CHARMING.

This charm was most obvious at the Schönbrunn Palace, which Wikipedia tells me is a “former imperial 1,411-room Rococo summer residence”. It’s one of Vienna’s most notable landmarks; the palace is surrounded by seemingly never-ending gardens, parks, and statues. Dylan and I, along with my friend Matt who we picked up on the road, spent most of Easter Sunday at Schönbrunn which is surprisingly serene for a place that’s always crowded. Jesus Christ himself must have been inside the palace considering how long the line was; we decided to walk around instead.

Image

Image

Image

As you can tell from the pictures, the weather wasn’t too great that day. To make things even better, it started SNOWING. On EASTER. In APRIL. As much as it sucked to be shivering during spring break, I will say that it added to the cozy atmosphere. The snow, along with the extensive market in front of the palace, reminded me of Christmas…despite the fact that we were in the wrong season. After a while, the cold didn’t bother me (I am completely convinced I am a mutant who feels temperature differently from most people anyways) and I became enamored with the pretzels, stilts, Easter eggs, live music, the whole shebang. I don’t know if any Easter can be better than participating in the Easter Egg hunt on the White House lawn, but this comes pretty damn close.

Image

Image

Image

Aside from this, we didn’t see too many other things I’d consider distinctly Austrian. Yes, we saw Parliament and the Mozart/Beethoven houses and such, but it was in Vienna when I realized that so much of so many big cities are interchangeable. We did get a chance, however, to see St. Peter’s Church (geez Europe, come up with some original names!). I’ve seen approximately 5 million churches in the past 3 months, but this was one of the most impressive and memorable.

Image

Image

Aside from strolling around the city, we didn’t too much else. We did spend a few hours at the Mumak Museum of Modern Art, which I didn’t find particularly special or interesting, save for some neat pop art exhibits and a dark room with two videos of a woman talking to herself from one end of the room to the other. We mostly wandered aimlessly through the many markets of Vienna, which I truly believe give the city its distinct charm. You can’t be sad after drinking a glass of hot wine and watching adorable old people dance. It’s impossible. 

Image

Image

Image

I saw a lot of comparisons between Vienna and Berlin; the large size (although Berlin is nearly twice the size of Vienna), the language, the mix of regal older buildings with the more modern ones, the open spaces, the abundance of green everywhere, etc. Both cities run very smoothly and efficiently as well, unlike certain other places in Europe. Vienna’s public transportation system was one of the easiest, cleanest, and fastest ones I’ve used, and our hostel was by far the most professional and organized (plus they had free breakfast!). 

Despite all this, I still left Vienna a tad underwhelmed. Maybe it had to do with my mental image of Austria (the hills and mountains Julie Andrews goes on HAM on in The Sound of Music) and that clearly wasn’t Vienna. Maybe it was the fact that I didn’t get a chance to learn much about the place; while walking around and taking pictures is enjoyable, I don’t find it as fulfilling as actually learning something about the country you’re visiting. Maybe it was because we didn’t get to meet any locals here. Honestly, I think it had to do with the short amount of time we had in Vienna. I wish we had been able to stay for longer; we didn’t get to see the Treasury, the Ferris Wheel, the Jewish area/museum, or one of the classical music concerts where the performers dress up in 18th century clothing. The awful weather that can be only explained by the gods getting belligerently drunk and tormenting us humans for fun didn’t help either. 

But am I glad I went? Yes. Would I go back? Most likely (I’d try to return around Easter time again). Would I ever go back to Austria so I can spin on a mountain and scream Sound of Music at the top of my lungs? Absolutely. 

Advertisements

About teecheng
Teach for China fellow in a small town called Hepingzhen, located in Shantou Prefecture of Guangdong Province. My interests change as quickly as China has in the past few decades, but I'm using this time to learn about education and the Middle Kingdom, explore my cultural heritage, and travel as much as possible. People say I have characteristics of both a middle-aged father and an 8-year-old boy.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: