After a very brief time teaching, it’s time for Fall Break, AKA All Saints’ Day break. We get two weeks off school, during which time I journeyed to Vienna, Austria for about a week.
I once had a French teacher who suggested I travel in Europe alone. I said no way, I’m a girl, we can’t do that. My time alone in Vienna definitely taught me a lot about myself, about bravery, and about being a woman.
I was limited to some extent. I didn’t travel at night. I never walked with headphones in. If a person passed by me in an alley, I mentally prepared an escape route or looked for someone to help.
Being in a country where I don’t speak the language was a challenge, too. I ordered peach tea by calling it “Nein Lemon.”
A friend of mine told me how brave I was for traveling alone. It didn’t feel brave; not really. If I wanted to see Vienna, if I wanted an adventure, I couldn’t let fear stand in my way. So I went.
I chose this city because my mom had always described it as one of her favorite places in the world. I wanted to feel like I was in Amadeus, walking the streets and being surrounded by art and history. It truly felt like that.
My first night was spent wandering the natural history museum. It was mostly empty, filled with cool, old taxidermized specimens, and the museum itself was an old, baroque-rococo style building. It was a wonderful, mysterious, moody start to my awesome trip.
I explored castles with my friend from university. I went to Mozart’s house and saw a woman cry as she read about Mozart writing his requiem (he said that he was becoming more and more familiar with death in his final days and was now considering death to be a comfort to him). I listened to glorious music. I ate Kaiserschmarrn and fell in love. I also ran into Tilda Swinton, which was more surreal than anything.
I had a wonderful time, in short. Being able to make my own itinerary was an awesome feeling. I could go back to my hostel and take naps if I needed to. I could linger in a museum or breeze through it if I felt like it.
Please feel free to ask any questions about my trip if you have any! I’m back in Orléans now, in a café writing with a friend. I have a few more days left of vacation and then I go back to teaching. Secretly I’m excited for it—I’ll be so glad to see my students again!
Below I’ve included some photos from my trip.
Also, for those curious, this is how I rate Austrian desserts from most amazing to pretty swell:
5. Esterhazy cake