Home. After two years, I’m finally home. Home in Austria. And it’s been many more years since the last time I’ve graced Vienna with my presence. Can you believe I actually started crying when I crossed the border to Austria? I was so emotional I could hardly stop. Home, finally, I would be home. Starting my visit in my beloved Vienna, home of my favourite Emperors Franz Joseph and Elisabeth. (And some of my relatives, who I’m looking forward to seeing again as well, of course!)
My hotel – since my cousin’s apartment is in the middle of a renovation after a burst water pipe – is anything but luxurious. But it’s modern and clean and I prefer spending my money on other luxuriesanyway. As in coffee and cake at the world famous “Demel” – nearly as famous as the “Sacher”. Both actually fought a legal war in court who would be allowed to claim the Sacher Torte as his invention.
Anyway, since as a student I was not really able to afford the “Demel” I just had to go there now. And I enjoyed it very much. Just like having breakfast at one of the old and traditional Viennese cafés, the Café Central, which was graced by literary greats like Hugo von Hofmannsthal, Stefan Zweig, Alfred Polgar, Egon Friedell, Peter Altenberg, Sigmund Freud and many more. And I can feel the juices flowing, as I’m sitting here, in this wonderful coffeehouse atmosphere, imagining ages past, before the war, as they were all still here, working, writing, discussing, reading newspapers and having coffee … being served by mean waiters who knew everyone and every whim of their guests.
Being incredibly homesick the past months, I devoured Austrian historic crime novels and I wish I could travel back in time to meet those greats, experience the monarchy and the old Vienna. But at least I got to enjoy early morning Vienna without the tourists. Walking nearly empty streets, taking a few quick pictures (it just wouldn’t do to be recognized as a tourist, since I’m not really a tourist, having been in Vienna many, many times) and looking forward to the day ahead. Visiting the graves of the Habsburgs, maybe even have time for the “Sisi Museum”. And doing some shopping – of course. I wish I had time to revisit Schönbrunn, the art historical museum, the Albertina, look up Katharina Schratt’s house … but time is scarce and I do want to spend time with my family as well.
Oh, and have I mentioned, how happy I am that I am served whatever I wish for? Like … buying a Kaiser roll with the choice of ham/deli plus cheese plus pickles at the deli station of the supermarket? Or my favourite beverage: 1/8 litre of apple juice with tap water and ice cubes? Not to mention that even the Schnitzels at the cheapest Schnitzel joint are still better than anywhere in Germany? Oh, how I miss my culinary Austrian delights. (Which is nothing new to you, since I mention it occasionally, very occasionally …)
Vienna, of course, is not just the inner city with its glorious buildings, museums – and tourists. It’s also the Old Danube, THE recreation area for Vienna. With the world-famous “Gänsehäufel” (a public beach), lots of restaurants by the water and views of the Uno City and Kahlenberg it’s a lovely place to unwind and perfect for a day out with my family. Puttering around on the Danube with an “island boat”, enjoying the sun and each other.
Even though Vienna is just like any other metropolis, with its many problems regarding the typical issues … I still love it and miss it already! And can’t wait to go back … on the trails of Austria’s past.