Stumbling upon interesting spaces is almost guaranteed in this beautiful city. Vienna has classic examples of architecture from almost every major period of European history battling it out for your affections on every street and alleyway. Ok, maybe not every street because socialism was king (ironically) not so long ago, demolishing buildings and imperial gardens to make way for newer history. There are now huge monuments to this all over town, the most famous being the Karl Marx-Hof.
We were on our way to a hill-top view point near the edge of the city when this enormous burnt orange structure loomed over us. Some speedy googling revealed enough to make me want to explore more. A building that has roads through it, has a ridiculously well-planned plumbing system and other such exciting features? I’m there. This kilometer long development is almost as awe-inspiring in person as the tourist-magnet, Schoen Brunn.
The palace is gorgeous but I love the grounds more. We were given annual passes to the Imperial Zoo which, as it happens, is within the grounds. I often have mixed feelings about zoos but this one does try hard to treat the animals well. So well that you can barely see some of the wild animals because they’re lost in their vast jungle enclosures, hunting some vegetarian furry creature. After craning your neck, standing on tip-toes and generally staying hush for all of 20 minutes, you move on to the sloths for some guaranteed action.
I love watching animals, creating scenarios for them complete with script and music in my head. I also love watching people, imagining their back-story, speculating away to my heart’s content. One great place to do this is at the city library. It is built over a train station with the most terrifying staircase leading to shelves and shelves of the printed word, i.e. heaven.
I decide to turn around on a very narrow landing and look out instead of down. I see what is now one of my favourite views of Vienna. I hear the sound of car-horns (yes, that happens in Europe), people, trams and the wind whistling through streets of other car-horns, people and trams. I breathe it in and take a picture for posterity.
After I tiptoe through rows of books and serious-looking students, I head up to the cafe to enjoy my view with a slice of cake and my version of a cup of tea: carrot juice. Perfect trip to the library except I forgot to get a book.