This post will be a lot different from my other posts and probably from my future posts, too. As the cold weather finally arrived, it got me thinking about my previous summer holiday and you guessed it: this will be a huge throwback to my time in lovely Vienna.
“In Vienna I will dance with you
in a costume with
a river’s head.”
That part from Lorca’s “Little Viennese Waltz” will be used out of context here, (you should definitely check it out though!) but we cannot deny that the river referred here is the Danube (fun fact: Danube is actually not the original name of the river. It is Donau and I’ve learnt it the hard way). My recent fascination with the poem together with the fact that for the past couple of days I cannot seem to stop myself from humming “The Blue Danube” by Strauss (you may want to check that as the video takes place in Schloss Schönbrunn), who happens to be my favorite composer, compelled me to write a piece on how awesome Vienna is with the addition of the photos that I and/or my Queen Biyoncos took as proofs.
Since I have already mentioned Danube, I can perhaps start from there. First of all, my first view of it was a little bit anticlimactic to be frank. I have pictured Danube as something grand, huge and endless, probably because of Strauss and it was actually quite narrow, as you can see in the photo above, and people swam and crossed it. And I was expecting many cafes and restaurants filled with people around it and shocked to find it bare except for that one pub that closed up way early at nights anyway. But, once I sat down by the water and just took in my surroundings as it is, I realized how amazing that fact is. There were no lights and very little voice and I could just sit there and watch the first Vienna (I stayed in the twenty-second and it was neither close nor far away from the center) and have some peace and calm. My days were packed with activities but at nights we went there with some coffee and brownies and talked for hours. Danube is the heart of Vienna, it flows through it and creates a very lively city life, but at the same time it is also the heart of the nature that calms the individual; it’s both very close when you seek some peace and very far away if you prefer the city life.
This is probably my favorite photograph and aptly sums up all the aspects of Vienna that I have fallen in love with: the beautiful city juxtaposed with beautiful nature. We also rented a boat and went around the river for a bit, the weather was nice so was the rowing team *insert heart-eyed emoji here* and I also actually went into the water with my dress Virginia Woolf style. Although I have visited every available tourist attraction, I can confidently say that Danube is my favourite and this nook particularly.
When Vienna is involved, you cannot not include Schloss Schönbrunn, the fancy palace that you can see in every tourist guide about Vienna that is famous for its Princess Sissi. It is absolutely gorgeous on the outside, that’s for sure. The garden, the gloriette, the labyrinth… It reflects the arrogance of the royal family quite well actually. I mean look at that wallpaper and the couch. We went through the grand tour that included 44 rooms. There were some studies and ballrooms and even some maids’ chambers but other than that it was basically filled with unnecessary rooms. Literally. Some of them had no purpose, so they decided to give each room a specific color for as a purpose. You know like “This is our cream colored, filled with cream colored expensive furniture room that has four different sets of door that open into it which makes everything pretty much useless.” While the exterior looks kind of humble, the interior makes up for the lost detailing. They even have the gloriette which is an extravagant dining room at the top of a hill that overlooks Vienna and the palace itself (the photo of the palace was actually taken from on our way to the gloriette.) Sure, it would have been really cool to attend a concert in the palace, and aside from the perfect view of the city this place didn’t do it for us. It was too extravagant and arrogant, we couldn’t enjoy it.
Now I want to talk about my favourite building which can almost compete with Schönbrunn in terms of extravagance. I am talking about the National Library. Generally you picture a boring, dull place when somebody mentions libraries, but this is not your average library. I was awestruck and wanted to read the titles of every book and use the ladder to go on to the upper level. Although it was forbidden to extend and use a selfie stick, we became friends with the guard and he let us do as we pleased, so that’s something. It is almost juts like how I have always imagined the library of Hogwarts, with multi layered bookcases and gigantic tomes. So, it was pretty magical for me.
This photo is Biyoncos’ favourite and it will give you an idea on why I loved the place. While the idea of having a secret door embedded in your library would be awesome, just the warmth the overcrowded bookcases give is enough to love it. It has this element of mystery in it as well. We can never know where the door leads to and to what purpose, but I am picturing another room which is filled with very rare pieces, even some first editions or personal belongings of some authors. Or maybe it is like Vatican Archive and has all kinds of secret governmental stuff of Franz Joseph, who knows.
This is the main entrance to it. See how fabulous it is, with its huge columns, various statues and paintings? The main piece on the domed ceiling is my favourite I think.
Since I have broached the issue of paintings and statues, I may as well continue with the main two museums: Art History and Natural History Museums. The cool thing about them was that they were planned to be museums. At first I thought they were some kind of palaces for the royal family as one cannot have enough palaces, but I was informed that they were meant to be so and their floor plan is actually a proof of that.
I mean look at this beautiful building. This looks like a place in which a princess could easily live. I actually took this photo inside the Natural History Museum and that building is the Art History Museum. Not only they look dope, they are across one another and it makes it very easy for a tourist to find and visit. Between the two of them, I like the Natural History Museum a bit more, because it had dinosaurs in it! And they actually had real dinosaur bone and shit in it and I got to touch them both (maybe this is not something to be proud of).
Art History Museum had so many things to look at, we actually could not finish it. But the coolest thing happened whilst we were in there: a painter was painting the paintings on the wall and we got to watch him work. The sad thing was, the place was not crowded and we had the opportunity to take stupid selfies with statues without the judgmental looks from strangers.
There are so many things that I want to write about, but it has gotten quite long already and I realize that no matter how long I write it won’t be long enough. So, I want to end with one of my favourite photos (you may have to disregard the fact that it was taken by a toaster.)
This was taken in Kahlenberg, a little hill just outside Vienna. It has a panoramic view of the city and it looks breathtaking. I could see every place that I have ever been to in my one week visit, from Danube to Schloss Schönbrunn (the palace is not by the river side, which very curious. Won’t you want to look at the river? It makes a beautiful view.) With the lights on, the city intertwines with nature and creates a magical aura. That is why I fell in love with Vienna (and maybe also for the fact that my best friend lives there). If you ever plan on visiting Vienna, make sure that you book longer than you intend to. Once you arrive there and walk in Stephansplatz or go boat riding on Danube or be a stereotypical tourist and visit all the museums, you’ll realize the reason why there are songs and poems about it.