Winter in Vienna had been harsh and cold. In comparison to many of the people I’d interacted with though, the winter had been mild. So many people would meet my cheerful friendliness with an icy indifference or downright hostility. When faced with this sort of reaction from so many people in the Kaffeehäuser, shops, and establishments, I was growing somewhat disillusioned.
Change came, significantly for me, with the arrival of Spring. The thawing of the snow in the warmth and radiance of the sun mirrored for me a melting of the icy reserve I encountered from many people.
The first really sunny weekend I was outside in the early morning exploring. During the course of my explorations I encountered genuinely friendly people. Maybe it was the beautiful weather and the feeling of change in the air, but people simply seemed to be in a better mood. The wonderful smell of damp earth and vegetation filled the air, birds were much more active everywhere, and the leaves of flowers were just discernible on the most ground in many of the parks I passed.
During a walk with two companions later on I pointed out Hübler––a wonderful little café that I’d discovered while on a run. My companions were eager to return and possibly have something to drink there. We entered the bakery section of the café and were astounded by the selection. Eventually Chris decided he would buy one of the Krapfen (a doughnut filled with jam) from the previous day. I ordered for him and the woman seemed surprised that all we wanted, after ogling the displays for so long, was a single day-old Krapfen. She asked me if that was really all we wanted. I confirmed that it was.
“Das schenk ich Ihnen,” she said handing the small paper bundle to Chris. He didn’t understand this so I explained that it was a gift. She looked at me to check if he’d understood. I confirmed he had and thanked her. “Wollen Sie wirklich nichts?” she asked quizzically (“you really don’t want anything?”). I changed my mind at this and I accepted her offer of free Krapfen. We all thanked her heartily for her generous gift. This interaction hinted at a new shift in the attitudes of people I encountered.
Perhaps friendly and warm Viennese simply hibernate during the winter and come out once it is warm again? Whatever the case, this change of heart made me all the more grateful for the arrival of Spring.
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<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––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>