WIEN, Österreich—We came to Vienna on a rainy afternoon. The Austrian capital has been a long-time favorite of mine, so the wet weather did little to dampen my spirits. It was a short 10 minute walk from the train station, Wien Hauptbahnhof, to our hotel (well, more like 15 minutes due to the rain). As soon as we turned out of the station, the sun decided to make an appearance and confuse everyone, throwing thin rays of light through small scatterings of cloud openings. Water droplets met the beams as they hit the pavement, making the sidewalk sparkle beneath our feet. Everything shines in “The City of Dreams.”
All those statues had me like “Don’t blink!” #whovian
Our time in Vienna was limited, so soon after check-in at the hotel, we set out for Ringstraße (or simply, “the Ring”)—that famous circular road bordering the old town, marking what was once the city wall. By then the skies had cleared, leaving ideal, semi-cloudy conditions for some nice photographs of Vienna’s main square. Stephansplatz was an expansive plaza with streams of sightseers coursing through, a cocktail of international tour groups and scalpers pushing pamphlets for an upcoming opera or concert. With plenty of open spaces for those of us content to stand around while admiring the scene, it gave off a more relaxed vibe than Prague’s Old Town.
Traveling from Prague to Vienna was like flipping through a chapter on the House of Habsburg. Standing there, in the middle of the square, our eyes trailed up the Gothic sides of St. Stephen’s exterior in much the same way that we’d admired St. Vitus only a few days before. (Well, I was more interested in St. Peter’s Church—that Baroque beauty—than St. Stephen’s Cathedral, tbh.)
Attending any sort of musical event is almost mandatory when in “The City of Music,” I gather. We were fortunate enough to catch the tail-end of an orchestral concert in the cathedral later that evening. Confined to the entrance corridor because it was a paid event, we mingled among a small gathering of curious onlookers—all of us in the mood for a Classical arrangement. I chose an empty pew and closed my eyes, surrendering myself to the rise and fall of each movement, my mind set adrift on the musical current as it swelled and filled the hall. I love this city.