Saturday, March 02, 2013

Meine Damen und Herren, wir treffen in Wien ein

Back in my Camp Seven Hills days, I used to work with a girl who was very nice and very competent when it came to starting campfires, but she was not well-travelled. She told me once that cities can’t be beautiful. Forests and lakes can be beautiful, she said, but not cities.

I had to disagree. I think that most cities have their beauty if you know where to look, and some are basically works of art. Vienna, for example. Vienna is a work of art.

View out my window this week.

My new place of work is in a beautiful old building in the heart of the Inner Stadt, the city centre. You enter via a courtyard that is shared with a café and some sort of ancient monastery. There’s a market outside the Church on Fridays and Saturdays, with vendors selling cheese, sausage, honey, glühwein, wooden toys, and wicker baskets.

As with all old European cities, Vienna is a mass of narrow, twisting roads. Follow one of these roads up just a little ways from my work, and you get to the Rathaus (city hall), where they have an ice rink set up in winter.

Today was the first chance I really had to wander about with my camera. I spent a while exploring the museum district (from the outside only, saving the insides for a thorough investigation at a later date). I also checked out the Nachmarkt and made a mental list of edibles I will need to sample – starting with the prosciutto-wrapped käse. I was pretty much frozen solid when I got back to the hotel. Pi came over meowing for love, then shrank away when my cold fingers touched her back.

The Viennese I have met so far love their city. My work people wanted to show me the views out all of the windows, they wanted me to admire the Church next-door, and they wanted to tell me all about how the courtyard looks in summer, full of leafy green trees. They keep mentioning different sights around the city and asking whether I've been yet. 


When even long-term residents of a city think it's magic? I think that's how you know you've found a good one.

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