Saturday, April 25, 2015

ADD Adventures to: {{ Vienna, Austria }}

"You have to go to Vienna. If you're going to be in Bratislava, you have to go to Vienna. Vienna is beautiful."

These were the words spoken to me by a friend when she found out what my Semana Santa (Holy/Easter week) travel plans were. And she said them with such conviction, I didn't hesitate to say, "Ok, cool! I'll definitely check it out!" After all, "Vienna" is a word that we hear a lot, and an incredibly popular travel destination. So, I decided to go and check out the infamous Vienna, Austria.

Well, my friend was right, Vienna is gorgeous. It's a beautiful city, everywhere you turn your head, there's something to gawk at and fawn over. Its imperial charm and history are quite in-your-face, and I mean, it's not well-known for no reason, that's for sure. It's chalk-full of monuments, it's got the Danube running through it, and everyone I interacted with was so nice. Stumbling upon sights like this...

outside the city center, was completely normal, and I can't remember turning my head at any point without my mouth dropping at least slightly open. And yet, in spite of my jaw dropping just about every 50 seconds, I felt so completely ready to get out of Vienna. In a way, I think I felt a little disgusted by it.

The fact it's taken me three and a half weeks to even write about it is a perfect indication of the struggle I've been facing over the place/writing this. I started the post when I got back to Spain, and have come back to it at least three times to try and finish it, but I just do not want to contribute to the buzz that circles the city. But I shall, because I do want to be a [travel] writer, and this is part of it.

And truthfully, I have no clue why I feel so indifferent to Vienna, because I had really lovely couch surfing hosts, we had a really nice time, and as I said, the city is so beautiful, and the people were so helpful. I think I just, and this is going to sound strange and very "hashtag first world problems", but I think I got tired of seeing really nice things.

It all seemed so clean, perfect, and maintained from the outside, that I couldn't really feel anything there. It was kind of empty feeling. And based on the conversations I had with my hosts, both of whom are from France, the exterior isn't a very good representation of what's going on underneath. Which reigns true with so much in life, but there was just something about Vienna that felt a little pretentious and like it was putting on some major airs.

I'm quite sure I'll go back someday, probably with my family, and I'm sure we'll love it, but for me, a backpacker on a budget who would rather sleep in the sand than just about anywhere else, it wasn't my current cup of tea. However, the cup of tea I had at the Sacher Cafe, was worth the trip! (Ok, not the tea itself, but the experience of sitting in that posh cafe and having the tea.)

Naturally, the recommendation I latched onto the hardest before going, was to go to the Hotel Sacher and try the Original Sacher cake. Apparently, it's world famous (actually called the most famous cake in the world), highly coveted, and the recipe has remained top secret and locked up since its birth in 1832. I think the guys standing outside the opera house were taken aback and incredibly amused, when they were trying to sell me a seat to that night's show, and before they could finish, I was asking them about "some hotel that's behind the opera house and has some really famous cake". And I wish I had video footage of the guy's reaction when I told him, "I'll be honest, I'm way more interested in trying that cake than going to the opera. It's kind of the only reason why I came here." Priorities, kids, I've got em.

For the experience of entering the Sacher Hotel's cafe/restaurant, I'd definitely recommend going and having something. And yes, because the Original Sacher Torte is the most famous cake in the world, I'd say to go ahead and try it. However, I've gotta level with you, it was an incredibly expensive slice of cake (the unsweetened whipped cream on the side alone cost an extra 2.50+!), and I did enjoy it, the moistness of it and the hidden berry flavor that comes through, but I was also thinking, nearly the entire time, "I'm pretty sure I've had better cakes before." Welp. 

In all, the experience of going to Vienna was simply just that for me: the experience of going to, or best if I say, through, Vienna. I'd love to go back some weekend in the future when I'm very well-off, and prance around, pretending to be posh, and feeding into the pretentiousness of it all, but for now, I'm just fine hanging out on islands, smelling like a human in her natural state, and embracing dirtier places. 

I don't write any of this to try and discourage you, and truly, Vienna is worth seeing. Simply put, for me, it's not my place. Which is okay, they can't all be ;)

Thank you to Benoit and Alison for being such gracious hosts, the guy in the protein powder shop who got on his work computer to show me maps and metro routes to tourist attractions, and the church, for being so incredibly gorgeous (another thing I'd recommend visiting whilst there). And, to the city of Vienna itself, for being too perfectly appealing, visually. Also, sorry for bashing you so much. You really were lovely.

(I feel like a bipolar writer on this one. But it's just because I don't like to say things that aren't positive, but my energetic reading on the city was so bland, I just can't justify gushing over it like I will Budapest in my next post, or Lanzarote, which will be up on the blog after this weekend's adventure here.:)

Blessings, Love, Light & Wonder to all!
Alliie-Sun <3 

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