I’m not from Vienna. I’m from Linz, and, like pretty much everywhere else in Austria, we Linzers have mixed opinions about our capital city: The people living there are either white trash or snobs. When I was in high school, my friends and I would take the train there every now and then to stay at my friend’s apartment near Mariahilferstraße, the main shopping drag. And that’s basically how we spent our weekends: we shopped till we dropped and bought ridiculously overpriced coffee at Starbucks (there wasn’t one in Linz). If you know anything about me now, you know that this couldn’t be further from my current reality.
A few years later, we expanded our radius a bit, going to the odd flea market and managing to make our way from the 7th to the 1st district. All I did was follow my friends around assuming whatever we were doing was “cool”. I didn’t get a whole lot out of those experiences and could have never ever imagined living there. Not that I knew anything about the city except how to get from the train station to the closest Zara shop.
Eventually, I began to warm to the idea of living there. This way mainly for practical reasons: Studying political science, I figured it would be easiest to find a job in Vienna.
Fast forward to now: I think I have changed more in the last couple of years than in all my life before. Does anyone else here find this is true for their twenties? I know what’s important to me; I know what I like and dislike. As it turns out, Vienna is a place that matches a lot of my interests. I’ve tried to travel there as much as I could over the last year and I have the fondest memories of these trips.
After getting a bit of cabin fever over the past couple of weeks in Salzburg, I desperately needed a change of scenery. I knew it was Pride weekend, so it seemed like the perfect opportunity to go. And what a truly amazing weekend it was: we did all the things I now so appreciate about Vienna. Dinner, drinks and dancing in a place we probably never would have entered if it hadn’t been for the kind of people you only talk to late at night in a bar. It was fun and unexpected.
The parade the next day gave me all the feels. Being surrounded by thousands celebrating and taking pride in being their truest self, no matter what that might look like, is such a freeing experience. I continued dancing with my cousin’s baby that afternoon; at seven months she’s already such a fun little person. Happy and tired, I fell fast asleep that night.
On Sunday, we did the only thing you should do on a Sunday: have brunch. Then coffee. And more coffee. And strolling through the quiet, sunny streets under the flickering shade of trees, we discovered so many new spots we still have to try. See you soon, Vienna!