Les Zaventures d'Alex dans
Weekend in Vienna
may 4th to 8th 2000
I had planned to go to Slovenia this weekend. Since plan tickets are twice as expensive for Ljubljana than for Vienna or Zagreb, I decided to go by Vienna and a friend would come pick me at the airport. Unfortunately, a few days before the weekend, I learned that she wouldn't be there for the weekend and she couldn't make it to the airport. So I decided to stay in Vienna for all the weekend.
Believe it or Not
There was a list of youth hostels in my Let's Go book but the first I found with free beds was names "Believe it or not", it was described as "funky and very social". It sounded good so I reserved there.
When I got to the hostel, I ringed to appartment 14 as written in Let's go, I got an answer and entered. On the appartment's door, it was written Believe it or not and there was an enveloppe with my name on it. Inside, there was a key and a small word saying to call the tenant. I called her and she told me how things were working and where my bed is.
The people in the room were not sleeping yet and the light was on so I hadn't trouble to find my bed, with a post-it with my name on it. I installed my suffed and went to bed. I only paid close attention to the room's setting next morning, after a short night because the mattress is not exactl thick and there was people talking very early. In the begining I tought there was 8 beds in the room, a double bunk bed and 2 singles. Then i r ealized that the scaffle wasn't used for accessing the second level but a hole in the ceiling where there was some kind of attic with 3 more mattresses, which we called the dungeon. There was also another room with 4 beds, so a total of 15 beds.
Then I wanted to take a shower... in THE shower. 1 for 15 persons is not a lot, but while I was waiting, I met the tenant, a nice Polish woman who told me the interesting things to see in Vienna and she told me that the best thing to do in the weekend was to see Carmen sunday night
But the interest of youth hostel is of course the people you meet there.
In the Midwest
First there was Julia, I spent friday with here, She was leaving the youth hostel at the same time as me so I asked her if I can join her. She's from Maine but study in Minnesota.
I spent saturday and sunday with Katia (center on the pic). She's from Latvia but lived in Chicago for 10 years. this year she study in Spain. I also met her when I left the hostel, sicnce Julia was leaving for Prague that day.
When we came back to the hostel sateurday afternoon, we met two other girls from Minnesota, with whom we spent the evening, partly in the dungeon, then we went out. There was also other people we talked to, most of them were from Wisconsin.
Sunday morning, while waiting for the shower, we met Priya and Amy. We first talked to Priya who told us she was from Wisconsin. Of course we bursted in laugh and I told I was the only strange one who came form somewhere else. But Pryia told me that her friend, Amy, was from South Carolina so when she got out of the room, I told her : "So, you're South Carolina girl, we're the only oddballs who ar enot from the Midwest" and we explained the story. She answered that she was born in Ohio and lived there until she was 7... There is nothing to do about it
So it became the running gag, a soon as we were meeting someone, we were sure he was from the Midwest.
The catherdral and the catacombs
But then we went to the catacombs, not bad, even if the guide had a huge german accent which prevent us for understanding almost everything he was saying... Even Julia was not understanding so it's not because my english is bad. There was bones piled, a lot of bones, one room had 500 bodies, another 2000, and it was cold... brrr, after that we went for something less sinister.
The modern art museum
So we saw modern paintings. It was a little off center so we took the metro... I paid, Julia didn't, she understood how it works in Europe
We looked for the entrance for a while, and so walked a lot but we finally found it. Nice building and big park. IThe exposition was ok, but on painter in particular impressed me : Yves Tanguy, I didn't know him, his work is a little bitt like Dali's. Funny sceneries in 3D
The fine arts museum
But one museum disapointed me. I was there with Katia and two other Midwest girls sunday afternoon. In our guide book they were talking about Rembrendt among others but finally nothing of this was there so in was not very interesting. Too bad.
Let's say that Sissy was very present. Sissy's bedroom, Sissy's living room, Sissy's breakfast room... And a lot of family pictures.
We say that money don't make happiness... there was all these suicide stories in the Habsburg, and there was always someone to watch theme... Emperors or not, I would not have liked to take their place.
Walking under the Austrian sun
Weather side, I'm lucky.Like in Prague, I got the nicest day. I little too nice since I got a few sunburn and thirst was my main concern over the weekend. And we walked, walked, walked... sleep was welcome at night, I even had a nap sunday afternoon.
The prepubescent protegees
Sunday morning was the Lord's day, like every sunday mornings. And as good catholics, we went to the mass. Uh... I'm atheist, Katia is Jewish, Priya Hinduist, and the others are more or less atheist or baptised but not practicing in one of the countless american protestant religions that I can't sort one from the other.
Of course, it was not by piety but to see the choirs of the young prepubescent protegees of Vienna (the girls were all excited about the prepubescence of the protegees), la Vienna Boys Choir, famous for 500 years.
We got there a little late so we had tou stay out of the chapel and we watched the show on TV (it's well prepared for us tourists). We sat on the ground with class and looked at it. The little prepuberts were good, and the was a little big boy that was singing very well (the girls were extatic). A good show, but the mass by itself was boring.
Talking about show, we wanted to buy our tickets for Carmen after that but it was sold out. Priya and Amy left us to explore Vienna and we went toward our sad destiny in the fine arts museum.
My first contact with opera has been hard : Wagner. The play was named Lohengrin. Impressive with the people on the scene and the decorations and the singers' voice, but the story didn't seem very interesting. I haven't understood much because it was in german but it look like some king's wedding story. Very Germanic... or Wagnerian.
But Carmen was astounding. I loved it. The decaration were beautiful, they were singing in French (so there was a lot of french, and I met many of them in the line up) and the story and the songs were far better "L'amour est enfant de Boheme... Torréador prend gaaaaaaarde...". I juste want ot see it again.
In both cases, I had a standing place. not expensive 30 or 50 scilling depend on you're on the parterre or the balcony. Let's be crazy, I took 50 schillings places (5CDN$). It's nice but after 3-4 hours, It's long. I was ready to pay 140 schilling for a sittingplace in Carmen but it was sold out, no choice. but the standing places are selled 1 hour before the show.
And the little prepubert appeared in the beginning, even the little big boy was there.
Oh, incredible coincidence, who was sitting on the terrace? Amy! and in the cafe, there was Priya. I sat with them and then we had lunch in a pizzeria with one of their friends who study in Vienna.
Amy had to take the train for Germany so she left us after lunch. Priya and me went toward the air terminal, since her plane for London was at 5.
We sat in the grass for 45minutes, before the vigil tells us that we can't sit there. Then it was time for her to go to her plane and before she left she invited me in London in 2 weeks. Before she go back to the states.