Travel Diary: Vienna 2019

I’m back from Vienna! I spent most of the time in the archive doing research, but I tried to make the most of the time I had left to explore the city. This was important to me because I had felt rather lonely and depressed during previous research stays there, especially in winter. I made a point to eat out every evening (instead of holing up in my hotel room with cheap fast food), no matter how tired and sore I felt. It sometimes cost me quite an effort to go into a restaurant and ask for a table for one, but it was worth it to make sure I had eaten well and taken care of myself.

Vienna is one of my favourite cities. I love the Baroque palaces, the Secession art, and the coffeehouse culture. I can spent hours just wandering around the city centre, looking into the windows of the countless antique shops or admiring the gorgeous turn of the century facades.

Since I’ve been to Vienna a couple of times, I’m a bit eclectic with my sightseeing. This time I looked up a list of vintage and second hand shops. I went to Catrinette, the carla mittersteig and Bootik54. Obviously everything I had to buy had to fit into my suitcase, so I refrained from buying all the pretty things. Of which there were many. Catrinette is a beautifully curated vintage store. The owner is an art historian, and it shows. I loved the 50s and 60s furniture … if only I had the funds to buy them and get them back to Germany! The carla is huge and has so many things! It’s literally four warehouses of furniture, household items, accessories, books and clothes. The proceeds go to Caritas care projects. I ended up buying a wooden box with gorgeous intarsia that’s perfect fit for my dressing table. Bootik54 is purely a clothing store, full the the brim with everything from vintage jeans (and reworked vintage) to eccentric dresses to colourful accessories. I discovered a wool cape by a Viennese brand famous for winter clothing and a range of loden and traditional garb. This was probably the most frivolous purchase of my stay, but I don’t regret it at all!

On Friday I had some unexpected free time that I used to go to my favourite museum in Vienna, the Albertina. I make sure to visit there every time I’m in the city. The steep entrance fee is worth it for the inspiration and creative spark it gives me. There’s artwork there I’ve seen four or five times that still makes me pause and take a moment to sit down and marvel again and again. At the same time, I always discover new artists as well. This time I was wowed by the Niko Pirosmani exhibition. He’s an unknown Georgian artist who never received recognition during his lifetime and died homeless and poor. His naive art style (reminiscent of Henri Rousseau) inspired the likes of Marc Chagall and Natalia Goncharova.

In the evening, I met up with my parents who went to Vienna as exhibitors at the old music fair Resonanzen. We ate at Plachutta Gasthaus zur Oper. I had the best roast beef with onion of my life (and I’m quite snobby when it comes to this particular dish) and heavenly pancakes with apricot jam as dessert. It was SO GOOD, guys.

Until next time, Vienna, you’re always worth a visit!