A Day in the Life

Headshot of Lily Nannini.
Lily Nannini
February 6, 2023

This morning I woke up before my alarm and caught a glimpse of the final bit of sunrise. I’ve started sleeping with my window on a crack for various reasons. For one, I love the fresh air and hearing the city at night. Also, I really do not want to get fined for having mold in my apartment. I had a piece of bread with this amazing herb cream cheese-like spread that my German professor introduced us to. I also had two eggs scrambled with cheddar and mixed fruit. 

After breakfast, I took the U-Bahn to Jonas Reindl Cafe in the 9th district. I fell in love with the atmosphere and knew I would be a frequent visitor. I ordered a cappuccino (all auf Deutsch!) which was so good and looked like a heart. I worked there for about an hour and a half. It’s incredible how productive I become when sitting in a cafe sipping a coffee. 

Next, I decided to take the S-Bahn to Brunnenmarkt in the 16th district. I walked around and took mental notes and a few photos for my German homework to complete later. After that I went back to my apartment for lunch: leftover chicken and quinoa stir-fry. 

It was a dismal morning at the market, but by the time I had finished lunch the sun was shining! I have never seen the sky as blue as it was today since arriving in Vienna. I took the U-Bahn to Karlsplatz with the intention of getting a sachertorte at Cafe Sacher. Upon arrival I could not for the life of me figure out how to open the door. I pushed, I pulled—nothing. To prevent myself from further embarrassment, I defaulted to my next choice: Cafe Demel. Getting through the door was a breeze, so I automatically called that a win. I waited for only a moment by the “please wait to be seated” sign, and was promptly brought to a table. Everything looked, smelled, and sounded so good, but I stayed true to my mission and ordered only a Demel's Sachertorte (auf Deutsch!). It was incredible. 7.50€ for a single slice of cake is definitely a one time treat, but so worth it to cross off the bucket list. I browsed the little gift shop before paying, but a single piece of gold foil-wrapped chocolate cost the same as my sachertorte. I decided to save my money. 

From there, I walked to Zara where I bought another pair of jeans and a top. I was tempted to buy another jacket too, but didn’t wanna go too crazy, though that would complete the outfit. I walked to Kleines Cafe simply for a photo, and continued on my way. I was enticed by a display of postcards outside a shop called “Aichinger, Bernhard & Comp.” I went in and ended up buying a small book called “das Wiener Schnitzel.”  Hopefully when I get home I can make it for my family, and follow the instructions in German. The lady at the cash register was also so nice, and gave me tips on how to cook it. I also saw the smallest Leuchtturm 1917 book I’ve ever seen.

Not two steps out the door and I was already drawn to another display case. This time, it held Jellycats (super soft stuffed animals) of all types. The store was tucked away at the end of a passage between the bookshop and another building. It was so nice, but definitely more upscale. I was so tempted to buy myself a Jellycat, but they were so overpriced (27€ for a tiny octopus). 

I circled back toward the main area I am familiar with and stopped in Mango. I bought a super soft scarf and sweater, which both ended up being on sale! Last on my list was a plant–I needed to bring some life into my apartment. I walked through Stephansplatz on my way to the flower shop while “take my hand, take my whole life too” was being sung in front of the Cathedral—it was magical.

I paid 50€ at the flower shop so I could get some smaller bills back. Feeling too awkward to get my cash back into my bag, I took my plant and hastily began to walk out the door, change still in hand, when the cashier said “du kannst noch hier bleiben.” She said it a bit too fast for my comprehension, and immediately rephrased in English when she saw my puzzled reaction. “You don’t need to rush out, you have all the time to put your money away,” she said. I appreciated that. I bought what I believe is a mini rose plant, and from my research just now, it appears to be “quite a challenge and prone to spiders.” I would expect nothing less from myself. 

I decided to swing into Bipa before heading home and calling it a night. I bought 3 Labello chapsticks (I have recently become obsessed with this brand through a friend, and apparently you can only find them in Europe?). They were on sale, buy 2 get 1 free, and you know I can’t pass up a good sale. I also got more shampoo, laundry detergent, and I finally found a face cleanser! I have been trying to find a face cleanser for the past five trips to the store. Slowing down truly does improve my awareness. 

When I got back to Prater, I dropped my bags off and decided to head out one more time. I went to Billa and finally found a hot chocolate mix!! I seriously am blown away with what I notice when I slow down and don’t rush myself. There was a really fancy looking Starbucks one that cost 7€. After all the spending I did today, I went with the cheaper box that will last me forever for 2€. I also got oat milk, apfelchips, avocados, and Magnum double raspberry & chocolate ice cream bars (because they were on sale). I’m grateful Billa takes my Discover card (no foreign transaction fees, and 5% back on grocery stores from January to March!), though most places in Europe don’t. 

This day taught me that slowing down, taking a step back, and enjoying the simple things is very beneficial and a way of life I want to adapt to. This may have been my favorite day in Vienna yet. Exploring the city alone, observing/people watching, and buying things that made me happy was the perfect way to recharge. 

I wrote an essay about the concept of social time v solitude my freshman year of college, which you can find here.

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Headshot of Lily Nannini.

Lily Nannini

Hi! I'm Lily and I'm from Cape Cod, Massachusetts. I currently attend Washington and Lee University in Virginia. I'm always down for spontaneous adventures, catching sunrise/sunset, and taking pictures of food:) When I graduate college I want to renovate a van and travel the country, visiting every U.S. National Park as I go. Hopefully I'll have a golden retriever with me too. I love meeting new people and gaining new experiences, so I am extremely excited for this term in Vienna!

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Washington and Lee University
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