First Impressions of Vienna

Written on 8/22/2015 - my first week in Vienna

I am absolutely loving Vienna so far! I love walking everywhere (but not in new shoes) and having small, non-Walmart stores and coffee and pastries sold everywhere. The only thing I’m not thrilled about at all is the ants that the hostel guests from summer break graciously left us, along with dried soda in the bottom of my wastebasket. It’s not exactly my cup of tea to worry about if I have ants crawling on me whenever the wind blows across my foot.

The Viennese wine festival, Neustifter Kirtag, we attended last night was amazing! I had  so much fun walking around and soaking up all of the new surroundings. We went out to a little row of Biergartens with vineyards in the back. The streets were lined with booths of food and trinkets and wine, as well as the restaurants. All of the locals were dressed in traditional clothing, Dirndls and Lederhosen, to celebrate at the festival.

Manner Hazelnut Wafers. These are my absolute favorite thing that I have found here in Vienna. I have finally found the elusive, delicious wafer cookies that Alex and I discovered 8 years ago on a family vacation to Italy. And never saw again until now. I’m going to have to buy a ton of these to bring home in December - mostly for myself (...yum), but also some to share. Some more fatal favorites I’ve discovered here are morning pastries, Kartoffelsticks (they’re a combination of shoestring fries and chips and taste like heaven), and Kinder bars.

I’ve only felt up to wandering around the city a few times so far, from jet lag to sore necks from the long flight, but I really enjoy walking by myself. I feel like I learn more about where I am and find new places that way.

Webster offered a city tour yesterday that walked us around most of the first district, which is the city center. A history professor at Webster lead the tour, telling us a bit about some of the various buildings and parks we passed by, but he talked so softly I could only hear him about half of the time.

The first district is beautiful, although so is the second, where the dorms and university are located. There are so many more upscale and commercial chain stores in the first district, compared to the smaller mom-and-pop shops in the second.

I decided against my better judgment, which told me not to wear those new tennis shoes that I hadn’t broken in yet on this tour, but I didn’t listen. At least I decided to bring some paper tape as compensation for this horrible idea, or it would have turned out much worse. Which ended up being very painful for a week anyways.

I was really excited to see the Looshaus in Vienna’s first district. Jeff talked about it in my Modern Art class last spring, among other beautiful buildings and sites that are important in the history of art. It was thrilling to see all of these in person. I’m planning on exploring on foot and finding all of those locations we talked about in the lectures soon. It’ll give me something to do while I wait for my student U-bahn (metro) pass to arrive and get me in better shape too.

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