A City that Demands to be Seen: Thoughts on Vienna

When one travels for an extended period of time, certain aspects of foreign life cease to leave you in wonder.  Cobbled streets, castles, and cathedrals blend together.  It’s just another city, just another place to walk, just another destination.  Your feet become weary and your heart longs for home.

And then… out of nowhere, a city sneaks up on you and gives you a sucker punch to the gut.  You’re absolutely breathless and it’s a little painful because it came when you didn’t expect it.

For me, Vienna was just a place on the map–a grand capital to check off my list, a place to become a little more cultured.  I didn’t expect the city to move me.  I didn’t expect to fall in love.

As I wandered through the city, mouth gaping, all I could think was, “Okay, Vienna, you have my full attention.”

Vienna is a feast for the eyes–gorgeous architecture, large parks and gardens, endless galleries and museums.  It demands to be seen and my eyes were more than willing.  The reason I was broke at the end of my month-long European adventure was because I spent it all in Vienna.  I went to every palace, every gallery, every museum possible in two and a half days because who knows if I will ever be back?  Even if you don’t want to spend money, Vienna is spectacular.  I could spend hours lingering in a park, soaking in sunshine and watching all the interesting people.

Recently, I had a conversation with an old acquaintance about the city.  “Ugh, Vienna,” He exclaimed.  “I just can’t get excited about that city.  I always visit right after attending a music festival in Salzberg.  I’m always tired, sleep deprived, and Vienna is always too much for me to handle.”  I found his perspective fascinating because, although we have opposing views, we both noted the same thing: Vienna captures your attention and it doesn’t want to let go.

I was in Vienna this past April during my month-long trip across Europe.  This post was taken from scribbles in my sketchbook.

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