From Barcelona, I flew to Vienna, my next school location. I will be studying here at the Webster campus this 8-week term and staying in student housing in the city.
This is my second visit to Vienna – I was here on a tour of Eastern Europe (though Austria is part of Western Europe by every measure that matters) in 2010. My impressions of the city at that time were mixed. I thought the imperial elegance of the city and its grand palaces were impressive, but they left me a little cold. The Habsburgs have never been my favorite royal dynasty, so I hadn’t spent a ton of time studying their history.
But when I realized my graduate program was taking me back to Vienna, I got excited about exploring the city in more detail. It is where the coffee house and the Euro were invented, the home of Gustav Klimt and Sigmund Freud, where Mozart spent the last 10 years of his life, and host to one of the United Nations European offices, among so many other things.
I arrived in the city on a Sunday. Very few things are open on a Sunday in Vienna, in all of Austria, in fact. I checked into student housing and unpacked. Then I made the dubious decision to attempt a grocery store run (“Expect queues,” the RA who checked me in warned me).
There are maybe 5 grocery stores open in all of Vienna on a Sunday (or so the new friend I made while waiting in line told me), one of which is near my apartment in the train station. Grocery stores allow a certain number of people in, and then they close the doors. I think it’s 50 or 60 people at a time – I don’t know how they keep track. I was lucky to arrive between closed-door periods, so I got to go right in. I have never seen a more crowded grocery store. The lines went all the way down each aisle. I grabbed some fruit, veg, milk, and cheese and got into line. But as I mentioned, I made a new friend in line, so all was not lost. It was an interesting introduction to living in Vienna.
Title quote: Billy Joel, Vienna