After Madrid, Pam and I flew over to Vienna for WordCamp Europe. It was the largest WordCamp to date and we spoke at it. It was such a wonderful venue and despite all of my anxiety before our talk, I really had a lot of fun. Probably because I had such a great buddy by my side. (Awww.)
This was my first time in Vienna, though I’ve wanted to visit for a long time. We stayed in the Hotel Kummer, right next to the Neubaugasse station, which made it super close to pretty much everything. By the end of my trip, I was hopping on and off the metro as if it were, well, the NYC subway.
I had a short list of things I wanted to see, most notably anything related to either Egon Schiele or Before Sunrise because I’m geeky like that. I also wanted to have a Sachertorte because I think that’s what everyone thinks of when they think of Viennese pastry. And since I don’t eat meat, pastry is most definitely the next best thing to explore in any city, any where.
The first few days were spent immersed in WordCamp Europe. We did some volunteering, spoke about customer support on Friday night, and then were back at it again on Saturday morning for more. I got a chance to sit in on a few sessions as well and enjoyed the opportunity to meet so many new people.
On Saturday night, we had a ball to celebrate the closing of WordCamp Europe which ended up with a few of us going to karaoke. It was an experience, especially when listening to the two guys since old Austrian folk songs. I have no idea what they were about, but it was absolutely entertaining.
On Sunday, Pam and I made our way over to Prater and I insisted on making a trip to the Danube. When I visited Budapest, I was so sick that I never actually saw the river, so I wasn’t about to leave Vienna without doing so this time. The Wiener Riesenrad, the ferris wheel in Prater, reminded me a lot of being in Coney Island. It was a fun time, and a great view of the city. We capped things off with a lovely Turkish lunch and I got some amazing coffee.
A collection of Before Sunrise related pictures below.
After Pam left, I was lost, confused, and ordered the wrong food in German and then the waitress yelled at me. I actually got yelled at quite a bit in German, which is one of the more terrifying things to experience while traveling. I’ve recovered. Ironically, I want to learn German now.
For the last few days of the trip, I enjoyed balancing work-time with tourism-time. I went over to the Belvedere on Monday to check out The Kiss by Gustav Klimt. On my way back, I stopped off at St. Stephen’s Cathedral and meandered over to Maria am Gestade Church, which was part of my self-crafted Before Sunrise tour. It was funny, though, because I almost didn’t go but when I finally got to the church, I opened the door, and found St. Gerard Maiella, who is very, very specific to the region of Italy my family is from, as well as Newark. I literally said, “What are you doing here?”
It was a cool experience that got me thinking about what home is and how that feeling of being at home is something that you can carry with you, especially when you find a surprisingly familiar symbol in a foreign place.
Oh, and on the topic of my film nerdiness, I also went to see The Third Man at the Burg Kino while I was there. I hadn’t seen the movie before, but Orson Wells and Vienna and WWII? Sign me up. It was cool to watch Vienna on the big screen in a cool old movie theater.
I was frustrated with Vienna at first. Going from Spanish to German is a hard transition. It was unexpectedly hot. The street we stayed on was crowded and, diplomatically speaking, there are very few cities where people walk like New Yorkers.
But it grew on me. I started to try my hand at German. (I mostly failed.) I visited the second most amazing pizza place ever. (Kesté will always be first.) I saw a lot of Egon Schiele. People were friendly. Everything was walkable. And it was so surprisingly diverse. I’d really love to go back and spend more time there. It’s a beautiful, historic, delicious, and friendly place with absolutely way too much art to explore.
Next up? Los Angeles. I’ll be traveling to Wonder Women Tech and then spending a few days in the city of angels for the first time ever. The East Coaster in me isn’t nervous at all.