Austria is beautiful and we went non-stop while there, which I will write more about later; however, I am tired from going non-stop for 2 weeks and so will leave you with the following tidbit on a day in Vienna.
We awake as the dawn is breaking to travel 2.5 hours to Vienna. We decided we will take advantage of the park and ride on the outskirts of the city. T is ecstatic that we will be taking a train into the center and spends her time looking out the window as the view goes by. It is raining as we enter Vienna and after walking a short distance, I comment on its similarity to Vancouver, save for all the ancient buildings with their carved statues keeping watch over the streets below.
We eat at a pub, mediocre food that costs too much, and lament later that we should have found a streetside cafe. We pay to enter the Haus Der Musik and spend several hours learning about sound and Vienna’s composers. After the sound museum, T is a whining mess, but we have come so far, and I would like to see the main square.
We wander down narrow cobbled streets and emerge in a crowded square where orange robed monks take snapshots with their I-phones. Some people sit in the cafe’s drinking wine and watching, others meander to and fro. After resting at a fountain we continue and emerge upon another square, larger and busier than the first. An awe inspiring sight rises above the street below. St Stephen’s Cathedral, a gothic masterpiece, rises high above the surrounding landscape. We smell piss and join the throng of people entering the cathedral. I shuffle through the doors and and my breath catches in my throat. I am speechless and can’t hold back the hot tears that threaten to split my face in two and unleash. My eyes follow the gothic lines soaring high to peaked ceilings. The crowd below me, around me, falls away and I stand there in the flow of traffic speechless. We eventually move with the throng and find that this church has been commercialized. If you want to enter the main nave you must pay. We walk the free part, a side isle, and gaze at what we can.
Exiting the church into the square smelling of hot piss, we immediately find the source. It isn’t midnight miscreants, A horse unleashes a hot stream nearby and we move to avoid being splashed. Hot piss, commercial Jesus… complete with gift shop. While I’m in awe of the gothic masterpiece, the baseness of humanity bears a striking difference to the beauty here. My mind reels at the thoughts bombarding it, of what we have lost as a culture, as humanity. Where is the beauty in this time? As a species are we ascending or descending our evolution? These questions continuously plague me as we travel through Europe. I see masterpieces, buildings, art, music the beauty overwhelms me, but it is all old, It doesn’t exist now. We have lost some essence, something in our quest for instant gratification and consumer culture. What I’m seeing both moves me and depresses me in all we have lost, and I wonder if we reached our zenith hundreds of years ago.
We continue, and wander more narrow streets back to a park that reminds me of Stanley Park back in Vancouver. As we walk, I fall more and more in love with this city. Vienna I will return to you.