Another great thing about my experience in Vienna is I had the company of a friend. Christian who was a part of the crazy cast of characters from the Dragon Boat Club of Boston I paddled with this summer, had just recently returned home to Austria
. Being with someone I know in a beautiful city on my birthday was wonderful. He showed me some of the must see sights of Vienna including Schloss Schonbrunn which has grounds that may rival those of Versailles, St. Stephans Basillica which is no less than awe inspiring and the stately buildings and grounds of Hofburg. We had traditiona Austrian food which included Weinerschnitzel and of course beer. We walked through the Nachtmart, a street market that sells some of the freshest looking produce in Europe and sat for awhile talking in front of Karlskirch by the university. The end of the day included catching up with some of Christian's friends and heading off to the fun and friendly, family oriented birthday party of a couple of his other friends. The compnay was welcoming eventhough I was much too intimidated to use any of my German and the food and spirits were once again quite noteworthy. I ended the day eating birthday cake in a boathouse on the Danube. It was perfect. Thank you Christian for spending time with me and showing me your gorgeous city.
Vienna and Austria in general have a great welcoming feel. There is a great creative vibe in the city and someday I hope to return to the aera to hike through the mountains and perhaps sit for hours in a cafe wrting my memoirs or perhaps penning the next great American Novel.
Vienna is a great place. Not because it's an amazingly impressive city (because it actually reminds me of Paris on a smaller scale), but because it's where I celebrated my birthday (just kidding). While I did celebrate my birthday there, what struck me about the city is the culture and the high quality of life. One evening as I strolled through the city I came across an open air sports festival, an open mike session in the park where people were reading their poetry and a classical concert near the city center with people sipping wine and just enjoying life and the company of friends. The city in the autumn sun just inpired me and I wanted to sit down in a local park or cafe and just bask in the glow of the city (and warmth of the sun) or write a great novel.