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Reisverslag First week, first imression!
24 december 2016
First week, first imression!
"Welcome!" is the message this city smacked in my face the moment I set foot in Austria. I arrived at the airport and was immediately greeted with a strong and icy wind blowing in my face. I walked from the landing strip into the airport and picked up my luggage from the baggage claim. I walked towards the counter that sells train tickets and got in line to purchase a ticket so I could get to Vienna's center. I stood there for roughly ten seconds and out of the blue, a girl appeared and handed me a ticket. "Here, take this. It's valid until ten PM. I need to catch a flight. Enjoy your stay" she said before turning around and hastily disappearing in to the moving crowd. Right place, right time apparently. It was a 72hour ticket that gave the holder unlimited access to every train around the entire city for as long as the ticket was valid. I could use this to get ANYWHERE, but with great power also come great responsibility so I decided to just use the ticket to get me to the address I would be calling home the next couple of months. Thank you mystery girl!
I checked my route and got on a train. Neurotic as I can be, I checked my route a couple of hundred times more and continued to check my route every couple of minutes or so. People on the train where speaking in German, Japanese, French, Klingon, Elvish and just about anything but Dutch or English. Not understanding a word anyone is saying is actually quite cool because this lets one focus more on intonation and emphasis than usual.
I was feeling quite hungry and so I decided to take a little detour and get something to eat prior to getting in the U3 metro, which would bring me directly to the 16th District (where I am residing right now). I got out at Landstrasse/Wien Mitte and walked out of the train station. I ordered some sushi at a sushi bar and.. what the deuce?.. I could speak German! Okay. I’ll admit that “ein Bento Box bitte” isn’t that impressive but it’s a start, right? But seriously: Surprisingly enough there’s still some hidden door containing some grasp of the German language hidden in the back of my skull. It’s still limited and very basic, but It’s more than I thought I still had left.
After the consuming my meal I continued my journey and soon enough found myself standing in a city filled with traffic lights, fast-paced German-speaking people, leisurely-paced German speaking people and lots of food shops. Every couple of hundred meters I would encounter a Spar supermarket and this seems to be an ongoing trend everywhere I go. I got on a tram around six o’ clock I had arrived at my destination. The landlord was giving guitar lessons in his own part of the building and his girlfriend had to drive someone somewhere so they gave me a quick introduction to themselves, the apartment and left me the keys to my room. The place I’m residing feels just like I’m living in dorms again. I have my bedroom, a kitchen, bathroom and toilet and a goldfish who stands (swims) guard in the hallway. I named him Maurice and told him to flop the living hell out of anyone who tries to come in and steal my laundry. He didn’t say much but gave me a stern but affirming glance. We be bro’s now.
Key’s in hand and therefore ruler of this land, I could consider myself home for the next three months so I started unpacking. I basically only brought clothes so I was done in no-time. Once unloaded, I still had a free-for-all public transportation ticket that remained valid for roughly four hours, so I decided to randomly take trams across the city to explore my new surroundings a bit. To ensure I wouldn’t get lost I used the tram tracks as a bassline so that if I’d spend too much time wondering around I could just follow the tracks back to my apartment. After a three-hour exploring session around I headed back home and turned in for the night.
The next couple of day’s where spent getting to know the city and laying a solid foundation for the time I would be living in Vienna. I started off with the basics; getting a couple of days’ worth of groceries and exploring parts of the city. As I was walking around town I noticed that Vienna is crawling with rooks and (beautiful!) hooded crows. I thought to myself that I should’ve brought my binoculars with me for birding and sight-seeing in general (considering the height and detailed architecture of the buildings in Vienna), and as luck would have it, a couple of meters ahead I passed a antiquity shop. There In the window lay an no-doubt old, but virtually brand-spanking-new pair of 10x50 binoculars that looked just like the 7x50 pair I had left at home. I managed to haggle them down from €50 to €30 and now take them everywhere I go.
By the way: for any travelers that might read this: I strongly advise you to heed the advice to carry a pair of binoculars on every adventure you embark on. Some might be relatively heavy, some might be relatively bulky when fitting them in your backpack, but the expansion they provide to your frame of sight is invaluable!
After getting a little acquainted to parts of the city by foot (primarily the 16th district and some parts of the 17th and 18th district), I used an Austrian classified ads site called Willhaben to obtain a bicycle. Trams and metro are no doubt a great and easy way to get around, but considering the time I will be spending here It seemed like a good idea to get a bike. From where I’m staying the geocentre where my internship will be taking place is about twenty minutes away (with a bike), as are a lot of attractions like the Sigmund Freud Museum which I visited today. Next on my list (but not limited to) are Tiergaten Shönbrunn, Vienna’s Natural History Museum, kunsthistorisches museum, the Imperial Butterfly house, the globe museum, the planetarium, the museum of abortion and contraception, the pathologic-anatomy museum, and so much more.
It’s now been five days since I’ve been here and (taken the novelty factor of the whole experience in to account) all I can really say is that I really like it here. The inhabitants are really friendly and, in contrast to the traffic and overall downtown vibe of the city, very laid back and easy-going. In comparison to the limited frame of reference that I can conjure-up I’d say this place looks and feels like a cleaner and more laid-back lovechild of Amsterdam and Paris.
The last couple of days have provided a great first impression of Vienna, but the actual adventure starts now.I’m relatively acquainted to the overall vibe of this place, can get nearly everywhere without a lot of hassle and have planned-out a couple of must-visit places that I’m going to explore before my internship starts. I’ll keep you posted and until we meet again: Happy holidays and see you in 2017!
Foto's bij verslag (7)
24 december 2016 07:44 | Door: Patsy
Wow, Mark! What a great first week! Sounds like you really feel at home there. Have a great time.