Okay, I give up. I’m not going in order anymore. Apparently I’m bad at it, so I’m skipping ahead. Maybe one day I’ll come back and tell you how Berlin introduced me to my favourite fast-food (currywurst), or how I had to spit my dinner out in front of a busy (and quite nice) restaurant in Prague, but I won’t make any promises.
Something clicked in Vienna. I can’t put a name to it, but I’ll do my best to describe the feeling.
In Vienna, I fell in love with thunderstorms.
Up until this point, the trip had been pretty go-go-go. Vienna seemed like it would slow everything down, provide some breathing room, and let us recharge. Our hostel was a cute and artsy place with instruments hanging off the walls and a piano next to the bar. It held every promise of being a calm and cozy place to settle in for a few nights.
But Vienna wasn’t like that at all.
Excerpt from my Europe journal:
Here we really started to travel. We stopped doing only touristy stuff, we met people (lots), and we got to relax and do things we really loved and have unexpected adventures every night. This is what we needed – what we wanted – and what we never expected.
Our first night, shortly after pulling ourselves from an afternoon slumber and grabbing food, we nestled into one of the couches by the bar, drinks in hand. Very quickly this quiet place started filling up with a wide variety of travellers. We scattered ourselves around the room, providing our brief travel synopses’ and resulted in deciding to head into the city to watch the ballet at the local film festival. Our to-do list for Vienna had basically been comprised of just this.
When we made it to city hall, a picturesque setting of food trucks, stringed lights, and the ballet being projected onto a large screen, it had just began to rain.
It started off slowly, but soon the rain turned from slow falling water droplets to something like large buckets of water being dropped overhead. Crowds of us began to huddle under a large tent in an attempt to stay dry. We stood shivering and mesmerized by the wild claps of thunder and bursts of lightening that were being displayed every couple of seconds.
Despite our presumed safety in the middle of the tent, the small hole at the top gave way to what can only be described as a tub of water being dropped overhead. For moments, we were the amusement of the crowd.
When the storm got so bad that the tent was in danger of collapse, all the crowds that had gathered were forced to seek shelter somewhere else. We found who we could of our group, collecting others on the way as we ran through the streets well past the point of trying to stay fractionally dry. When we finally made it back, Shradha and I ordered Burger King and sat in pyjamas while drinking wine.
When I crawled into bed that night, I told myself I wanted my life to be like this all the time. I wanted to feel the way I felt that night, every single day. Like the world could be crashing above us and I could throw my head back and laugh as the rain came pouring through the open slot of the tarp. Because despite the violence of the rain pounding down above us, and the fact that we could barely hear anything over the roar of the thunder, everything was beautiful, and we were happy.
The next morning we ventured to a local market with a newfound friend. I contemplated what I could do to try and get rid of my allergies when I got back home while staring at a plethora of food. We had a picnic in front of a palace, which is still probably one of the most surreal sentences from the trip, and ventured around the city.
We cooked a homemade meal that night for the first time in a long time, and had dinner with several others. That evening we went back to the festival and watched someone play piano in the palace of Versailles. I thought about my brother and how much he would have loved to see this and how maybe I’d love to travel with him one day.
Back at the hostel, we started drinking with a few guys we had met at the bar. I met a fellow Canadian who just so happened to be from Vancouver. Within moments, Shradha and I had solved all of our pressing problems. He would help me find a place to live when I got back from travelling, and he would marry Shradha to get her a Canadian visa (we’re still waiting on him to follow through).
After deciding to go to what I understood as a relaxed atmosphere for a few more drinks, we walked through the door into a dingy and overcrowded club. Note: if you’re going to get me to go to a club, this is likely how you have to do it. Our night became a whirlwind of dancing and romance and one individual getting lost on the way home from the bar. The last thing we expected from Vienna, was a hangover.
The next day we did little to nothing, and yet it felt like everything.
We had tons of time to do anything we could have wanted, and so we piled our bags into storage lockers and sat in our Vancouverite’s room – part stranger, part friend. He fell in and out of sleep on his top bunk to mend his hangover and from the other corner of the room Shradha and I sat curled up in old chairs and talked about 1 year ago and everything that we’ve felt. This trip wasn’t just about travelling, it was the merging of time and space – sifting our lives back together after being apart for so long, and trying to share every moment we could before we were separated by continents once again. Memory lane has never felt closer, never felt longer, never felt more bittersweet as it did on that most beautiful afternoon.
Something clicked in the rain, in the crowded club, in the stillness of an afternoon spent in. We had stopped trying to do everything, we had barely done much of anything, and yet it felt like we had conquered something big. It felt like we were living exactly how we were supposed live in those moments.