Waking up to the Bustle of Wien

Colin Baumgartner
January 25, 2013

A view of the Rathaus in Vienna

After the tranquil beauty of Mariazell, Wien was quite a contrast––full of sounds, sights, smells, and people.  The first day in Wien was akin to the feeling of waking up to the beauty and unlimited potential of a weekend day after a much-needed night of rest.  Each student was free to explore and to delve into the beauty and tradition of everything surrounding them.  For a small-town boy like me, the city was slightly intimidating at first; the sheer size and grandiose character of the buildings, the boulevards, and the gardens were like nothing I’d ever been a part of.

The bustle of the Kärntnerstraße in the city centre

For the first week at least, the week-long public transport card seemed like a good idea.  The card covers the underground, the streetcars, and the buses;  this card means that every one of the city’s 23 districts are just beneath your fingertips.  Public transportation is the lifeline of the city and it was interesting to notice the way that people behaved in the Strassenbahn on my first commute into the city center.

First lunch in Vienna––Trüffeltorte in Konditorei Oberlaa (more to come on this topic later)

Standing in the car filled entirely with a crowd of early-morning commuters, I was astounded by the silence; when the car would come to a squeaking halt at a light, there would be complete silence in the compartment––silence enough that you might hear a pin drop.  This was my first introduction to the Viennese reserve that I’d heard about but never really felt.  The silence continued for the remainder of the ride.  As I looked around the compartment it was very clear that this was not a somber silence or a sleepy one, but rather an active silence.  People’s eyes told enough of their vitality, but in the morning, while using the public transport, people were courteous enough to one another to bond together for a peaceful beginning to the day.

The stairwell in the Palais Corbelli

At the Kärntnerring/Oper the doors sprang back and the sounds of the bustle of the city streamed into the car, interrupting my thoughts.  I exited the car into the morning bustle of the street that runs through the heart of Wien.  All around me shops were beginning to open, cafés to fill, and racks filled with various items to be displayed.  I made my way to the Johannesgasse and entered the Palais Corbelli, home to IES Abroad.  I was very impressed to find that the Viennese flare would not be absent while we were within the walls of my school––the Palais part of the building name is by no means an exaggeration.  Taking in the carpeted marble steps of the stairway, the wood-paneled and gold-embellished walls, and the impressive frescoed ceilings of many of the rooms, I realized that even classes in Vienna would be quite something…

Palais Corbelli ceiling

The IES study room allows you to do homework in a somewhat different atmosphere…

More to come on the food, art, history, and opportunities in Wien.  Feel free to contact me or to comment; I am a foodie and would particularly relish any recommendations or comments about what other people have discovered or plan to check out:

Email – cab5680@psu.edu
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Colin Baumgartner

<p><span style="color: rgb(29, 29, 29); font-family: Arial, Verdana, sans-serif; font-size: 12px; line-height: normal; background-color: rgb(237, 237, 237);">Colin Baumgartner is a Junior studying to be a secondary English education teacher. Colin grew up as a second generation Austrian and has always had a distinct sense of being split between two cultures&ndash;&ndash;Austrian and American. Studying abroad in Vienna, Colin will have an opportunity to really explore the Austrian side of his heritage. When not buried in literature or writing, Colin enjoys blogging, hiking, cooking, working out, and traveling. Colin is an unabashed aesthete and gourmand, so the beautiful foods, sights, and people of Europe will not go unnoticed or unrelished. Dum vivimus, vivamus!</span></p>

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