The open-air Naschmarkt is probably one of the best expressions of Vienna's internationalism, or at least its interest in the world. The stalls held Greek desserts, Indian spices, Austrian meats, Mediterranean hummous, Adriatic fish, and local flowers and produce. I relished the overpowering assault of the spice stalls and the mishmash of regional cuisines. London is international and driven; Vienna felt much more laid back about it(self), an attitude you can see in the street style as well as the markets. Clothing combined nice with casual and comfortable; my favorite eclectic ensemble was probably cowboy boots and workout clothes. It may just have been the neighborhoods I frequented, but people weren't constantly rushing the way they do in London, and the fashion didn't seem as pressured.
I spent part of my all-too-brief time working/writing, and the other part walking and exploring. I owe the success of the trip to equal parts planning and serendipity. When I scrapped some plans, I stumbled on other wonderful things. I didn't stress about trying to cram in everything I wanted to see, because there was far too much of it. Assuming you'll go back to a place actually takes a lot of the pressure off; it was very refreshing. I was still going to take advantage of everything I could, but not at breakneck pace, or at the expense of actually enjoying myself.
I had planned to see the museum for my research, as well as a ballet (La Sylphide) at the beautiful Staatsoper opera house. It was a luxurious theatre, happily equipped with bars and bathrooms on every floor. (What more could you ask for?) The reduced-price tickets were also a great deal if you don't mind craning a bit for the view.
The serendipitous parts of the trip centered a lot on cafes, but I'll be doing a separate post on Vienna's cafe culture because I have far too much to say. My wanderings didn't lead me wrong either - as I ambled through the city centre my first evening, I stumbled on St. Stephen's Cathedral. I entered just in time to catch the tail end of mass, and learn that whole wheat Jesus tastes a lot better.
So after two days of cafes, writing, art, and architecture, my brief sojourn was complete. I was glad to try out my extremely basic German, but spent a lot of time surreptitiously translating things. (Most people spoke English, but I like to at least make an effort.) I'm very happy I'm getting to see the world from so many angles. More on London happenings soon! And more pics after the break.