After my day trip to Bratislava, I came back to Vienna and went with Thomas and his roommate Werner to the Wien Christkindlmarkt at Rathausplatz. This place is absolutely stunning and it really sheds light on why the Viennese are so into themselves (ha! I kid, I kid.)
What I meant to say was I understand now why Raj’s mom told me it was her dream to go to Vienna at Christmas. The beauty and romance of Vienna at this time is inescapable. These markets activate all of your senses and it’s almost overwhelming. Like Munich, there are multiple markets across the city, but each one is set up against it’s own personal backdrop. Every market is unique, and each one more magical than the next.
We had a few Gluhweins outside at the market before heading inside to meet some of Thomas’ friends. Most people close to me know how much I despise cold weather, so the fact that I can bundle up here and stay outside a lot longer than 5 minutes says a lot. Loved it. Well done, Vienna. Bravo.
The best way to experience any city is on foot, so like most places, on my first day in Vienna that’s what I set out to do. Thomas’ apartment is about a 20 minute straight shot walk to the inner city where you’ll find the opera house, St. Peter’s church, St. Stephen’s cathedral, and the main shopping district. To be honest, in the hustle and bustle of leaving for my trip I neglected to set myself up with a good map really for anywhere, so my walk was more leisurely than towards any specific sight or destination. I sort of prefer it this way anyhow as a simple walk changes to looking at things instead of looking for something. Maybe I won’t end up seeing every important or famous building that holds no significance to me, but I’ll find some things that will. Life’s a journey, not a destination? Something like that.
The first thing I noticed was that there were really no tourists. Maybe some of the “day-trip-to-go-shopping” kind, but none of the “clog-up-Times-Square-and-want-to-shoot-yourself” type. But let’s be real, I didn’t come to Vienna to see the sights, I came to find the hot dog stand that my roommate Raj drew me a map to and spent 20 minutes talking about their amazing kebab sandwich.
I can’t actually stomach meat or fast foods but after listening to his enthusiasm for this joint, I had to see it for myself. “Hey Raj, I didn’t bring you back any gifts but I found that hot dog stand you were blabbering on about!”
I popped in a few shops like EMI Austria to see what records are big here (think Z-100) and a decent book store where I was completely enamored with this simple book called “F**k it.” Each page is filled with some “seize the day” type idea, the kind of stuff we should all do except that real life and second guessing ourselves gets in the way. I opened to a random page and there was “F**k it. Pack your suitcase, ready to leave at a moment’s notice.” I’m more of a procrasti-packer, but the sentiment still holds true. Book a flight on a whim, figure the rest out later. Maybe you’ll end up in Austria at Christmastime.