Saturday, October 8, 2011

Vienna Calling...

I first came to Budapest to spend some time writing a novel in 2009.  On that trip I stayed for about two months.  I'd always planned to go visit Vienna, which is less than three hours away by train.  I never made it.  This time I've been here in Budapest for more than three months, and I'm happy to say I finally made the trip over this week to check out the land of Mozart, Freud and Viennese coffee.

I have to say, it was an awfully nice few days.  One thing I'd heard ahead of time from several Hungarians was that Vienna was "too clean" and therefore "boring."  Definitely there is a marked difference between these two capital cities.  In Budapest the deterioration from 50 years of communism is still painfully evident.  It feels like an Eastern European city.  Vienna, on the other hand, is firmly rooted in the West.

In some respects, this had me feeling like I was taking a small step closer to home.  Maybe it was just my imagination, but the people seemed a little bit more upbeat as well.  I saw plenty of people smiling in public, which seems to me a rarity in Budapest.  Or course both cities have their own charm; capitals located on the Danube, three hours journey by train and yet in many respects a world apart.

Back when they were joined together as the Austro-Hungarian empire, Schonbrunn Palace was the center of it all.  Today this imperial palace and its extensive grounds are open to the public.  I spent the better part of a morning wandering around and taking a look at the place.  As the saying goes, it's good to be king.  Or emperor in this case.  Here are a few more photos of the grounds:

Back in Budapest now, the warm fall weather has finally given way to the first signs of winter, with cold, wind and rain.  In the market today I saw the first Christmas candies for sale.  Could snow be far behind?  And will I last here long enough to see it?  Or will the mild California winter draw me back home at last?  It's hard to say at this point.  To be continued...


  1. Wow - great photos! Vienna looks breathtaking.
    I have really enjoying following your European journey via this blog, Kenneth, and up to now you seem to have visited some amazing places and had fabulous weather and blue skies. I hope that continues for wee while longer yet!

  2. Blogger is playing up again - it's not anon but Janice! Just in case you were wondering?

  3. Ah, yes, I was wondering! In my inbox I just saw the first comment. As far as the weather goes, it plummeted the day I got back to Budapest and started to rain! From 24 and sunny one day to 11 and rain the next. Brrr... Oh well, part of the adventure, huh?