Vienna : 'Don't look up the meaning of your dreams...' *
Vienna Travel Blog› entry 17 of 268 › view all entries
The spectacularly pregnant blister on my right foot, groaning under the wieght of my backpack breaks its waters on the trudge to the bus station. The pathetic Compeed plaster-dam proves not enough to arrest the gush of rather unctuous gunk that now flows sticky between my toes. “Nice!”. At the bus station the seat next to the pretty, stylish Japanese girl is “Not free” - ”Oh, you have a friend?” - ”Yes.” Bummer. So I am relegated to a seat next to a man strongly resembling Charles Darwin and smelling about as fresh as the old botanist would also do by about now. “Nice!”. The older couple to my other side entwine arms and shake each other softly and reassuringly. A nearly imperceptible “It’s alright my love, the journey will be ok” moment of tenderness.
Today is a Student Agency Express coach to Wien (Vienna) via Brno in the Czech Republic. I seem to be clocking up the miles here and do need to slow down at some point I know. One of the key pointers from my ’Rough Guide to Your First Time Around the World’ was the danger of going too fast and losing your “peripheral vision“, the appreciation of things, people and possibilities happening around you if only you took the time to stop and look. I’m alright on this point I think. Mostly. I always knew Europe was going to be a bit of a burn, emotionally, financially, physically. 5...4...3...2...1.…”WE HAVE LIFT OFF!” etc… Europe. Home continent and launch pad for little me into the rest of the world.
The coach trip(s) to Vienna are not unpleasant. Another nice day and the quality of service on the Student Agency Express coaches is excellent with free hot drinks, music and (if you so choose) movie from drop down Tvs to watch. For the most part I prefer a mixture of a little reading and gazing at the landscape as we drive along. Europe does seem keen on its wind farms. More fields of graceful white blades slice through the skyline as we progress. Having had ‘Chicago’ on stage one, on the Brno to Vienna leg of the journey some peculiar 1974 Czech film ‘Give Him the Works, Fella!’ plays out in all its tedious quirkiness. Basically a movie-length homage to the classic Brit sit-com ‘Some Mothers Do ‘Av ‘Em!’.
My hostel in Vienna (Strawberry Hostels) is fortuitously well placed in the vacinity of the Westbahnhof, one of the city’s main stations and (as I later discover) the departure point for all trains heading west through Austria that I will need for the next leg of my journey. I check in and dash straight out to town as it’s getting late afternoon already.
I have a little stroll through the Stadtpark. Not very impressive at all considering it is one of the main ‘green’ areas of the city centre. An understated start to my explorations.
‘Threads’ (Part 3 of 3)
(Parts 1 and 2 of 'Threads' can be found in blog entries numbers 6 (Paris) and 10 (Meppel) respectively).
Wondering what next to do with my time, on a complete impulse I amble around from Stadtpark, along Karntner Ring to Opernring curious to see what’s on if anything and what the set up is at the famous Opera house. The one my talkative midnight friend ‘Strawberries’ from Breda had enthused about so much some days ago and whose voice is now ringing in my mind’s ear.
Before I know it I’ve got into a chat with a nice English couple who are on the same mission but with at least some fore-knowledge as to what we should be looking for. We eventually infiltrate the building (not so easy an entrance to find) and locate a ticket office. The couple are after some tickets for a few days time but I just barge on in on a complete whim, “anything on tonight?”; “how much?” and suddenly land a bargainous standing ticket to see ‘Ariadne of Naxos’ by Johann Strauss that evening for… can you believe it?!… 4 euros!!! “Wow!”
I can’t believe my mixture of luck and audacity. There I was strolling aimless, directionless yet happy around the busy streets of Vienna and now in 50 minutes time I’m gonna be watching opera for the first time, and the Vienna State Opera at that! The ornately lit and decorated building is up to the occasion of course, as are all of the swelling numbers of attendant Sunday night guests.
I haven’t got a Scooby-Doo what I’m supposed to be doing in this place. Are there rules? Formalities? Places thou shalt not tread? Things thou shalt not do within the halloed walls of the Vienna Opera House? Oblivious to all such considerations I just float around the place, smelling slightly of the lower orders of society I'm here to 'reprezent' and grinning from ear to ear like a Cheshire Cat who got the cream and then turned invisible to sneak into the opera.
So there you have it. ‘Threads’. An inconsequential anecdote in 3 parts. Why? Well, why not? Just a demonstration and a reminder at this early stage of my escapade as much to myself as to you guys really of how these tiny moments and fleeting interactions with random people on The Road sometimes come together and combine, twist and twine together, their colours and textures wreathing in time about your person and your experiences to make a better moment or opportunity of the future. Nothing to be taken for granted, and don’t shirk too much the company of strangers whether it be sought after or not (as long as you are careful too).
Oh…yeah. And opera then. The verdict? Well I’ll withold my verdict 'til I've seen some more. It was great fun and I’ll get used to the structure of it. After the first 20 minutes the curtains came down and EVERYBODY left the hall.
Oh sorry, the verdict. Well, my father loved it I believe. My mother, well it bored her to tears.
Me in the scheme of Life’s grand opera performance? Well, my threads reattached (you never know when they may come in handy!) I nearly get run over walking home not paying attention as I cross a side road whilst simultaneously struggling to get my lips around a succulent 10 inch Austrian sausage and gawping at the window display of a sex shop which to my English eyes sits rather incongruously upon one of Vienna’s largest retail-shopping streets.
From the sublime once more back to the ridiculous.
* Lyric from ‘Give him the works, fella!’ (1974)