Being a UCM student, I am spoiled when it comes to vacation. Just a week and a half ago, we got done with our last “reflection week,” so I probably can’t make any claims that I needed another vacation. Still, it is not often that someone from my small hometown (2,653 people remember) makes it all the way over to Europe. So when a friend of mine told me that he would be coming to Vienna for a conference this week, I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to meet up with him and to spend a few days in Vienna. Plus, being able to cross another country off of my list of countries visited, feels pretty important to someone who is used to crossing off a list of states visited.
After the least time when I flew from Chicago to New York and met cute (and heartbreakingly uninterested) Columbia guy, my expectations for meeting my potential soulmate on this plane was about zero. Luckily this also made for zero disappointment when I ended up seated next to a nice older Dutch lady. The plane ride went smoothly except for a hysterical baby at the end, and the directions for the train to inner city Vienna were so easy to follow that I wasn’t even the slightest bit confused. This changed when I arrived at the train station which was being rebuilt and I realized that before I could catch a taxi to the hotel, I actually had to have cash. This turned out to be more difficult than one would imagine, but after being helped by three different friendly Viennese men, and accidentally walking into a classy credit card office, I managed to find a taxi and get the driver to understand which hotel I wanted to go to.
I was only in Vienna for three full days, but in that time we managed to get quite a bit done. After I had made it to the hotel, my friend and I decided to walk over to the museum square, mainly because the buildings there are beautiful, and because there are lots of great museums to visit, but also because there was nowhere else that we knew how to get to. We chose the modern art museum for the afternoon and managed to see the entire thing in two hours. It was impressive, though the guards following us around the empty rooms were a bit disconcerting… The museum actually ended up being one of the only truly touristy things we did. Mostly we just walked around, ate good food, and sat at parks. When my friend was at his work conferences I spent hours and hours sitting at Starbucks trying to get some reading done from all the tutorials I was missing. Too bad that the people in Vienna are way more exciting than my readings turned out to be. Also I did plenty of getting lost, most of the time until I reached the point where I couldn’t walk any further, and just gave up and hailed a taxi.
Oh, Vienna was so beautiful… Unfortunately, tomorrow morning I will be back in Maastricht with a bit of inevitable post-vacation depression, though its nothing that a Coffelovers latte and an argumentative tutorial won’t cure. Still, with only ten minutes left before I board the plane back to Amsterdam, I can’t help but glance at the departures board and daydream about getting on the plane to Verona or Prague. Or should I go really crazy and grab the one to Teheran?