To start with, it probably bears mentioning that Australia and Austria are different places: apparently, that’s not widely understood. Also, only one of them has kangaroos! When travelling in Europe, anywhere non-English speaking that I go, it’s assumed that i’m actually Austrian. I had a great number of conversations in Russia that went
|Они: От-куда вы?Я: Из Австралий.
Они: Ага, из Австрий!
Я: Нет нет. Австралий. Как кенгуру да?
(Англусский for the win!)
|Them: Where are you from?
Me: From Australia.
Them: Ah, from Austria!
Me: No no. Australia. Like a kangaroo, yeah?
Anyway, let’s get back to pretending that i’m not writing this way after the fact.
I didn’t have much of a plan for where to go after the Czech Republic. Beforehand, I knew fairly well (‘where’, if not ‘when’). It was fly into London, visit Edwin on the way through, head to Germany for a concert, France for some snow, then Czech for my CELTA—but afterward, I didn’t have anywhere to be until Istanbul in late March for my flight back to Aus (which nearly didn’t happen—but that’s a different story). So when Robert and Paul suggested I come and spend a few days with them in Vienna, I figured ‘why the hell not?’
Of course, then I got on the train in Prague. And I love trains. It was around five hours to get to Vienna, which wasn’t nearly long enough: after the stress-out that had been my CELTA, I wasn’t ready to return to the non-rocky real world yet. So, when I got to Vienna, rather than call the two guys straight away, I went to the ticket window and bought myself an overnight ticket to Bucharest, Romania. Fuck—how cool is Europe? Then I called the guys and told them that I had a few hours before I had to leave, and we met up just by Cafe Central.
Cafe Central (das Café Central) is this big posh café in the centre of Vienna. Think chandeliers, grand pianos, suits and heels; marble and cake racks. Not to mention a fairly amazing menu. That’s not even why it’s so awesome though, but rather the intellectual tradition associated with it. It used to be a café where minds from around Europe would come: Trotsky and Lenin were regulars. Add in Freud, Hitler, and Tito, and you can see how much of the 20th century was influenced or affected by the people who passed time in there. It’s just crazy. The decor and feel of the whole place is classical, and you can imagine it not having had changed in the last hundred years. It’s like this weird time bubble, where so much has been brewed and happened, but hasn’t itself been affected at all. Shivers.
Paul writes a guide to Vienna, so was full of facts about the city. He and Robert also pointed out an incredibly hot Austrian man to me, because apparently my guy friends are awesome. Or trying to kill me: the guy was far too good-looking for me to be able to process. Robert feasted as usual, and I took on a Viennese coffee (which to be fair, is how I normally drink coffee), and a freaking strudel. Take that, Austria!
Now that we were full of goodies, we went for an exceedingly brisk walk around central Vienna. I cannot for the life of me remember any of the stories Paul told us, but here are the (blurry) results:
Then, it was on to Bucharest for adventures.