07.05.2012 - 07.08.2012
Thursday, July 5th I head to Vienna to escape the rainy Netherlands. The journey was long by train which provided plenty of time to sleep, sit and think, read, and stare out the window. I thought about that saying that it's about the journey, not the destination, and i'm not certain I agree that my trip is wholly about spending 15 hours on a train in one direction and 10 hours on the way back. I waited Thursday evening for my night train, where I would again be in a 6 bunk cabin.
It was peaceful sitting at the train station so I took some shots of the Arnhem train station.
The bunks this time were filled with all males, 4 teenage boys, and gentlemen in his 50s or 60s (I would guess) that slept directly above my bottom, right-hand-side bunk. Two of the boys were going glacier skiing and I was jealous, the other two were headed on a bicycle tour of the countryside. One of the boys reminded me so much of my brother it was freaky. I have been amazed at the number of people I see that look so much like people at home - I know where all the white people come from now and why some might say all white people look the same. The gentleman who slept above me was headed to Italy and had a much longer travel time than the rest of us. 15 hours on the train, most of it spent looking out the window or reading, with some light sleep on the side.
I did managed to take a few photos on the way there.
After looking at those photos and then the photos from my actual time in Vienna, i think the readers may agree that in this instance, it is more about the destination than the journey...unless you are evaluating based on the amount of introspection gained and then I think the saying works just fine.
I forgot to explain that going to Vienna, I was going because my love has some friends from high school who live there and so they were kind enough to invite me in for the weekend. I hope that one day I get to return the favor for them in Texas or wherever it is I'm living that they may want to visit.
The man in the tourist office was helpful enough to give me a map - the subway map on the wall was different than the one in my hands and then once i looked thoroughly at the one in my hands I figured out how to get where I needed to be for meeting with one of Gabe's friends.
At the meeting place.
Upon meeting with Gabe's friend we ran a couple errands on foot and then went back to his place with big wide open rooms and lighting - it was a lovely house. Multiple guys lived there and all from Spanish speaking countries so although a lot of the time I didn't completely understand what was going on, I felt at home listening to Spanish. I need to practice more often.
There I met Gabe's other friend and his sister who were actually leaving for Croatia later that day (Friday) so I could sleep in his bed during his absence.
The four of us (Gabe's two friends, and the sister) went to Schönbrunn Palace, this was apparently a summer home. For more information you can visit this website: Schoenbrunn Palace
After the palace we left to grab some gelato, which was amazing. On the way I snapped a couple photos.
Gabe's friend and his sister then had to leave so his other friend and I continued on the tour.
First place we went was the Hundertwasser House: Hundertwasser Info
After that awesomely artistic house we went walking to a canal where graffiti artists can legally spray their art. I am a huge fan of graffiti art, which is art created not for monetary purposes (usually), but for art's sake. The political graffiti I like because it says something about what the undercurrent of society is dissatisfied with and shows there is art and political passion mixing - though sometimes the political scrawls aren't done artistically. It is amazing how so much of the discontent scrawled here can also be found scrawled on unseen walls in the U.S. In addition to the graffiti art, I took a picture of a boat that had been burned 6 months prior and the swimming pool that is floating in the canal, because i always think that is funny when a clean swimming hole is placed next to or inside a body of water.
Onward we went walking toward the university. Forgive me, as I do not recall all the places I took pictures of on the way.
After the university we headed to see where the government works and there was a film festival going on so we were fortunate to see a live classical music performance, which was absolutely lovely in a city renown for its classical music. live classical music
Next we went to the museum square.
Then my camera died. We went to this open area near the museum square, the museumsquartier, where they have all these red plastic forms for sitting and laying on. A google search of this will turn of lots of photos of the place where we sat for a bit. We then went back to where home and all our stuff was and prepared for having some friends over. I had brought some arepa flour from the international market below where I live and we all ate some arepas. The night was spent talking a mix of español and english and was nice and relaxing.
Saturday, July 7th
This day felt like summer. In the morning Gabe's friend and myself went to a park by the Danube River where we met with a couple of his friends before heading to his girlfriend's sister's birthday party. If you think that sounds like a mouthful, just imagine when everyone was asking me how I came to be there and it was a constant, "he is a friend of my boyfriend's from high school in Venezuela." "where is your boyfriend" "Texas."
Before all that though we went to the Danube where there were a few ladies sunbathing topless, but mostly everyone kept their suit on. We laid in the sun and I swam across the Danube twice. After the first time Gabe's friend was surprised I swam across as he had never done do in the three years he'd been living there, so we swam across it together the second time. I wish I could have had a camera with me in the water as there was nothing like the view from the middle of the river. The water smelled like river water and brought back memories with a flood of swimming in the hill country those summers I went to camp there. The hot sun and summer days spent in the river water = a divine feeling of being alive and well.
On to the pool party! The parents' house of the birthday girl and her sister was lovely and had a garden I could only dream of having one day. The little pool house was adorable. Gabe's friend's girlfriend and her sister are half Armenian and so there was an eclectic cultural mishmash of people. Armenians from multiple countries, Venezuelans, Austrians, Germans, and me, from the U.S. The night was filled with good conversation, laughter, swimming, trampoline jumping, kicking the ball around, shooting hoops, a wonderful picture slide show all accompanying a lovely dinner, and too many pieces of tiramisu.
Sunday, July 8th
Back to being on the train tracks with my own thoughts.