The next stop on my Mitteleuropa trip was Vienna. I travelled there by train and back by bus thus experiencing both roads on one day. The journey from and back to Bratislava was really fast either way. And this post is going to be quite a brief one too because I really don’t have much to say about Vienna!
I started my journey by visiting the market, Naschmarkt, which I couldn’t really enjoy 100% because of pretty intrusive vendors who would address you in all possible languages. Besides, I was not there only for the local produce and aromas although I must admit the bread looked amazing!
I also wanted to see some Art Nouveau (or rather Secession) which this city is particularly famous for. And with all my love for Art Nouveau I was a little bit too dazzled to take it in – too many golden details, too shiny. I guess I’m more into the Nordic interpretation of Art Nouveau which you can find in St Petersburg and Finland, for instance.
But I did like the Karlsplatz station designed by Otto Wagner. His motives and patterns were duplicated and triplicated by so many architects around the world that eventually it all became so very trivial.
However, I was glad I could see the original Otto Wagner’s creations and not a-la Wagneresque. Very sophisticated and detailed.
I must admit I don’t have much to say about Vienna indeed. I think I didn’t really like it there. And yes, the time I spent there was not enough to make a proper opinion of the city but there was a certain feeling of being in a place where everything is so fixed you can’t change anything. As if everything has been already done for you – the only thing left is just go and admire the place. Vienna appears to me as a grown-up city so to speak, which is done with its development and now represents a static glossy picture.
In a way I do struggle to find things interesting to me in the places like Vienna. Same problem with Zurich and Luxembourg. Looking back at it now, I’ve realized what was missing in those cities which I consider quite ‘fixed’ and static (thus not very attractive to me): they seem to lack decadence! I mean, surely there are some old things around but with all their minor bruises or scratches you don’t feel they are… authentic in a way. Too glossy.
So in my search for something authentic and less glossy I stumbled upon the stables right in the center of Vienna (the imperial stables of Hofburg palace).
Then I got lost in the courtyards of the city center with its interminable museums, posh shops and restaurants, crowds of tourists and horse-driven carts. I liked this guard’s post with sharp ‘teeth’:
After wandering in the swarming city center I was glad to get out of it on one of the Ring avenues and into the Stadtpark with a lake and curious clock towers. A nice place to eat your sandwich and get some fresh air.
I was planning to go to Albertina museum to see some Monet but in the end I just headed off towards the station visiting the Belvedere Garden which I liked more than the Palace itself.
There was a spring-time feeling in the garden although it was just January. But the sun does put you in the spring mood!
The view over the garden and the city from the elevation of the palace:
Mutlicolour houses just outside Belvedere and next to the central railway station:
After all the grown-up glamour of Vienna I was really relieved to get back to home-like Bratislava. I think Vienna just has too much of Baroque about it. I guess you can compare the city to one of its Baroque churches: the interiors seem to be so over-decorated that you feel lost immediately – and tired too. It’s overwhelmingly fanciful. That’s why unpredictable places like Slovakia seem to be less tiresome: at least you don’t get bored there because with all the European-Union-standardization not everything there is as fixed, secure and prosperous as in its neighbor Austria yet 🙂
This post goes to the Travel collection.