Weekly Update #13: Dear Austria

Dear Austria,

Have you ever had a friend who has done something extraordinary in the past and is still really cool today but will likely never do that extraordinary thing again? That’s you. I hope that doesn’t come off wrong.

As German Bavaria extends into the Austrian Bavarian countryside, I marveled at the simple elegance of your shores on each side of the Danube. You were once just as Fascist as Germany but you don’t have the lingering reputation issues. That was a long time ago and I’m sorry to have brought it up (again). In observation, you aren’t that dissimilar to our Egyptian friends in that you treat your natural blessings with reverence and care. Great job.

Walker’s not the biggest fan of hiking.

Vienna, or Wien as the Germans call you, is a city of the past. The Hapsburgs ruled for 640 years and it ended as Ferdinand fell with a gunshot, the assassination that triggered World War I. Like dying power in a lot of places, you had it coming. Your Baroque style is aesthetically beautiful. With my eyes closed, I can see the works of Klimt and hear the sounds of Mozart and Beethoven. These masters seem to be as relevant today as they were in their prime (and yours).

Death And Life, 1908 by Gustav Klimt

House with Shingles, 1915 by Egon Schiele

For fun, I walked four kilometers from the city center to our boat each day to better understand your city. While tours offer a curated narrative, walking creates something more authentic. As I journeyed across town, I created an experiment for myself around the discipline and importance of taking notice of my surroundings – the details – that make anything great. Accordingly, I wrote down everything I found interesting about Vienna in this hour-long trek toward the river.

  • A pink bunny installation
  • Rain
  • A statue against war and racism
  • Christ is the only way to salvation
  • The blue tomato
  • Everyone smiles while eating ice cream (and if you walk a lot you can eat it every day)
  • Graffiti sucks
  • When you cross a river – any river – things change and that’s too bad
  • The pope ended the death penalty as being acceptable and I’m confused why they’d be supportive of it in the first place
  • If you own a beautiful building it will need to be cleaned every so often
  • You can buy an assault rifle right here in this store
  • Just because it’s socially acceptable for people here doesn’t mean it is for me and if it’s socially acceptable for me, it may not be socially acceptable for others
  • JFK and Michael Jackson – these two Americans are loved everywhere
  • It’s totally acceptable to work a construction job shirtless
  • The dress shirt pocket on the lower left above your belt – the “appendix pocket”
  • Bike lanes are a serious business
  • “Yeah let’s grow a ton of pot in the front window and use that as a way to market our pot store”
  • There is a public pool in a river on a barge
  • River boating is a big business
  • Infrastructure investment makes a city work or not
  • Old people do a disproportionate percentage of travel

So… that was fun.

Austria, let’s do it again sometime. Like everywhere else we have been, there was not enough time.



3 thoughts on “Weekly Update #13: Dear Austria

  1. Sorry you ticked off Germany so early. Will be there at the end of September. Still enjoying these posts, and apparently you hoped a boat someone in Germany and headed over to Vienna. Best to everyone.

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