The first time I fell in love with Vienna was in the summer of 2004. Most days I spent with my best friend running around day and night, tanning poolside during the days, spending warm summer nights on roof tops, looking at the stars, laughing hysterically and imagining our future bright and wonderful. We met the craziest of people and I’d like to think, we were among the craziest people that other people met that summer. We knew no disappointment, we knew no boundaries, we knew nothing – really; but being young and in love with life we knew everything we needed to know: how to enjoy every single second of the summer.
That summer I got to know Vienna in a very intimate way. I walked streets, sat for hours with my back against fountains, and stumbled into many hidden gems. Life was wonderful and everything that a 16 year old could imagine. For a short time during that summer I thought that Vienna was it. That I was going to stay forever and that nothing could make me leave, I was happy where I was and had no doubt in my mind that no place would ever come close to the feeling of Vienna. Fast forward a few short years, I have traveled the world, fell in love with a multitude of places. But my love for Vienna never seized to amaze me.
A and I decided to spend Christmas with my family in Vienna this year. All year I was looking forward to the few short days I would get to see my family but also reconnect with the place that for the longest time I considered home. The first opportunity A and I got we took a long stroll from one of Vienna’s busiest shopping streets, Mariahilfer Strasse, along the Ring towards the first district – arguably the prettiest district of Vienna – where we ended our stroll at the Stephansdom. Throughout our walk I told A a million and one stories about “what this looked like when I was younger” and experiences I had here and there.
For instance, one time, on a crisp autumn night, my best friend and I slowly made our way to the bus station in the first district. The streets were empty, except for us and a young couple holding hands, gazing at each other’s eyes. The couple stopped right in front of the entrance of the Stephansdom. I noticed their sudden stopping of movement and turned to see what was going on. My friend was yapping loudly and happily and I urged her to be quiet as I pointed towards the couple. He got down on one knee, holding her hand, she then wildly nodded her head and they hugged as we cheered loudly and applauded. That was in the fall of 2006.
On our second day in Vienna, A and I went to the Naturalhistory Museum, where A spent hours looking at dinosaur fossils as I watched his excitement grow as he ran from one fossilized item to the next. The museum is located along the Ring, where Vienna’s prettiest buildings stand tall and proud one after the other. You can almost feel every single historic moment that ever happened along the Ring when you take the tram and just enjoy the view. If you have never been to Vienna, you should definitely go just to ride the tram!
The first time A ever visited me in Vienna was in December 2009. The air was cold and the days long and dark (although nothing in comparison to Norway). This was the first time that my parents met A, this was also the first and only time that my grandma got to meet my future husband. Since he didn’t speak German and she didn’t speak English, there were few words exchanged but the second she laid eyes on him, she cried happy tears. She hugged A dearly and then hugged me and cried on my shoulder. That feeling of family, the importance of spending time together, never left me and it’s especially strong when winter comes around. One of the first lessons, that Vienna ever taught me.
People always ask me, when the best time to visit Vienna would be. There is no right or wrong answer. Vienna is a majestic city which will never fail you, come sunshine or rain (or the million nuanced weather changes in between). But my favorite time in Vienna has always been Spring. When people’s moods changed, everyone was friendlier, everyone was happier and everyone noticed the changes in the city. Flowers would bloom, Gelaterias would open for the season and one could genuinely enjoy the multitude of parks that Vienna has to offer. Viennese parks are fit for emperors and empresses. They used to ride through the parks, having important political discussions while enjoying perfectly shaped trees. Beyond anything, these parks are majestic.
In one of these parks, a very long time ago, I had my first kiss and never knew what hit me. That feeling of being overwhelmed and on top of the world, all the while sharing this intimate moment together is something I will never forget. I don’t think this experience would have been half as amazing would it have happened anywhere else, so yes. Spring in Vienna is an absolute must.
Now go, book your ticket. You know, you want to! Vienna, any time during the year, is where the most amazing thing can happen!