Vienna is NOTHING like I thought it would be.
Having said that; I knew almost nothing about it post 1901 and everything I knew about it was in relation to music history, so I had no reason to be making assumptions.
But, in my mind, Vienna was a tiny city, untouched by the development of the past decades, standing in classical glory! A shining beacon of modern civilization, wrapped in a beautifully historic shell.
So, when I arrived to find a large and neon buzzing metropolis, I was quite surprised.
Vienna is, actually, a lot like Prague.
The city feels kinda-soviet. Its made up of huge expanses of V basic apartment living, with pockets of development springing up here and there closer to the centre. The public transport system is old, but it runs. The historic buildings remain, but their surrounded by rather 70’s urban development. And 5mins out of the centre, the city feels vastly different.
Like comparing Melbourne to Box Hill (Bok Hierl) or Canberra to Belconnen (pre the Westfield).
I’m staying in a “yet to be developed” area, in a kind of terrible hotel. (There is an awful, rising smell from the bathroom and I found a lump of chewing gum sitting on the switch of my lamp. HOORAY!)
Stemming from my entirely misinformed assumption about the city; I was expecting the city to be a historical gem, but with all the modcons. (Wishful thinking much?)
But Internet is hard to find, land marks are hidden by sprawl and the city has a cold, hard look about it.
However, hidden in amongst the struggling businesses, the weary buildings and the greenish-grey wash of the city, are fabulous diamonds to be discovered.
The past two days I have spent my time at the Mumok Gallery (ULTRAMOD modern art museum) and the Haus der Musick (super weird, hyper interactive museum devoted to music and sound) and I have been totally blown away.
(I’m gunna write about about both institutions sperately in subsequent blogs.)
I feel torn.
As a city, I don’t really want to be here. It’s cold (and getting colder), seems unfriendly and feels pretty unsafe (which is another unfounded assumption. What I mean to say is, it doesn’t feel as safe as more developed cities).
But the hidden gems I have discovered here have so incredibly impressed me that I’m partially regretting only allowing for such a short visit.
(DAMN YOU VIENNA FOR MAKING ME FEEL COMPLEXLY!
You know that ain’t my scene!)
(Lies… I know.)
Case in point; I’m currently sitting in a tiny, cosy and COMPLETELY EMPTY little bar called ‘The Dragon Bar’.
I’m waiting to see an old friend perform in a production of Rossini’s ‘La Cambiale di Matrimonio’ at the small Kammer Oper theatre.
Both establishments are down an alley, down an alley, down an alley.
The bar is totally darling, and because I’m the only one here, the owner has been wonderfully attentive. The theatre houses max 100 people and it’s full of incredibly talented performers.
Hopefully the city will develop economically (or whatever needs to happen, I don’t understand this stuff) and the tiny fabulous places will take over.
On a side note: Today is the 5th of November. This means that I have 12 days before I begin me descent down the mountain (aka – I start my journey home).
And, like a grumpy three year old, I wanna stomp my foot, thrust my hands violently at my hips and yell “WHY DO PEOPLE KEEP SAYING THAT THE WORLD IS SO SMALL WHEN AUSTRALIA IS SO FAR FROM EVERYWHERE!!”
Well… not everywhere.
But I have a LOT of beloveds in Europe and I don’t like the idea of being so permanently far away from them.
I also don’t want to be 24hrs and $2000 away from my next visit to Berlin and Paris!!
This may seems a little contrary considering my last blog. But fuck it, I’m a lady so I get to be!
(That is an incredibly sexist thing for you to say Steph. And it’s inaccurate. Maybe you should say “I’m mentally ill, of course I’m contrary!”? Yeah, go with that.)
I’m faced with the same desperate dilemma that faced me when I made the colossal decision to completely uproot my life and move from Melbourne to Canberra; why can’t all the things I want be in the same place as all the people I love?!
But there is no answer.
Which reminds me, I have something to tell you all…
I haven’t wanted to tell anyone, in an attempt at self preservation, but I think it’s time to confirm it to you all.
In January, I will be leaving the city of Canberra and returning home to Melbourne.
For all my Melbournian darlings; I am deliriously happy to be returning to you. I’m scared for what the future will bring, but I know I’ll be in the vey best company come what may.
For all my Canberran loves; I am desperately sad to be leaving you all. However, this city has nothing left to give me.
I wish I could wrap you all up and take you around in my pocket. But I’m sure you want lives of your own.
Please know, that I will work tirelessly to keep you in my life. Because I adore you all.
And with that, I will bid you all adieu.
Love to you all.
Pictured – the weird chandelier at Dragon Bar, KarlsKirk and the Staats Oper