“Beauty never slumbers; All is in her name; But the rose remembers the dust from which it came.” – Edna St. Vincent Millay, from ‘Autumn Chant’.
The last time I was in Austria, I was barely old enough to remember. There’s something incredibly arresting about coming home to a place so familiar yet so foreign. A strange remembrance that only exists from experiencing life and culture as youth. Things remain the same, people remain the same, though, not quite how I left them. All-the-more familiar, and all-the-more forgotten. The return, in rush of memories and poetic intoxication. She drinks the world as honey.
Vienna. The pastel one, in lightness and ease. The city drenched in veiled sunlight. Morning sighs and night illuminations. Winding passages and cobbled paths. Ivy, thwarted and high. The sullen streets, coated in shades of ice-cream. There’s pistachio and rose, coconut and lemon. The dilapidated buildings, perfection in irregular stracciatella than studded in chocolate chip. Venture outside Wien, the villages, the same. The brilliance of life and loves, expressed in the zeit of the city.
I was always taught to keep my eyes open. To be blind against the conventional and search for experience far from the beaten track. Inspiration. It’s in the quiet moments of the city. In elderly women hanging their laundry over sills and the ritualistic cigarette. In hydrangea adorned balconies and vagrant passages. In golden light, heavy footfalls and laughter from the curb. Silence and shadow. The coming of night.
I’ve always thought that darkness can only ever lead to the brilliance of stars. And those two things, have forever loved me best. What happened during those Austrian days, so help me God, I can’t remember. I only hope to never remember, just to carry feeling. It’s in all that I know. And the days and nights, merged into one. I was floating. And finally, somehow, somewhere, I flew. Permanence of memory can never be held. And the desire to relive can never be ours. We solely exist to drift from one world, to another.
I was in Vienna for shorter than I would have liked. Still, listed here, are food spots visited and loved. There’s plenty more to discover, but, that's for the next chapter. The return. Use this guide to begin or add to your own trip. And, if you have them, share your own recommendations too.