I had been yearning for it since winter showed its first signs. I thought it would be like last year, a done deal. I had already dreamt of the inspiring walks in different winter landscapes in Vienna.
I was ready for that special brightness that would reflect and emphasize the beautiful Viennese Architecture. That pure white that seems to wash all your troubles away.
But alas, it seems to have been playing an elusive game. A few glimpses here and there but always leaving us too soon. Visits lasting from a few minutes to a mere two hours maximum.
The Christmas markets are usually a promising sign and this year I had dreamt of meeting it at the beautiful Belvedere Palace. The setting was perfect, the cold was just right, I approached full of hope.
The stars seemed to point the way.
And suddenly I saw it but it seemed out of place, a white apparition stepping out of the shadows where I could recognize the familiar shapes of the Belvedere’s baroque statues. No white blanket to go with it, as I approach I understand why, a stone statue, original but not what I hoped for.
I don’t give up easily, my quest continued in the first days of the year with somewhat discouraging reports this had been the warmest winter in many years. Warmest surely for Austrian standards, I’m still freezing. Global warming is playing tricks again. Maybe being from more southern European landscapes I should be grateful. But I’m not. To each their own! I did not sign up for this, this was definitely not the deal when I took the decision to live here.
For better or for worse. Accept the good, the bad, the odd, the beautiful without second guessing. Do the opposite of Freud, don’t over analyze it, go with the flow and follow the seasons. This is winter so where is it?
I decided to go a further distance to Schoenbrunn Palace, one of my favorite places in Vienna. If you have been following my path you know I sat there on the first day of the year and could finally enjoy its shy presence. There wasn’t a lot and I knew it wouldn’t last long but surrounded by its beauty and that of the park in Schoenbrunn, I wondered what the new year will bring. Where will I be, will it matter, will I still long for it next winter?
At times it seemed there was a promise in the air of more to come but then again, it remained as sparse and elusive as before.
I waited as much as I could and then it was time to go. Hopefully we would still be together again. There was still time …
Since then, I have been patient, still longing, remembering those white colours and the soothing walks as a thing of the past. Like a dream that can’t be repeated. As time approaches to embark on a journey to a sunnier and warmer destination, one very close to my heart, I didn’t believe it would happen anymore.
But then as if to contradict me, there it was, in all its glory! In a few minutes, it changed the landscape in Vienna. That white tapestry, smooth and confortable under my feet. The more, the less the impact. I could just walk for hours and that is exactly what I did.
You find yourself in a whole different city. Some details are hidden, others are emphasized, there is a new fresh coat of paint everywhere.
Here and there, you encounter splashes of color and even the statues seem to be feeling the cold.
As well as the horses of the famous Viennese carriages
And the city center transforms itself, there is a dreamy atmosphere and at times it is like you have a window and can see glimpses of the past mixed with reflections of today. The wonderful St. Stephen’s cathedral is one of the most important landmarks in the city.
Even under the snow, Vienna is still bustling with activity on a Saturday afternoon. I’m not in a hurry, I let myself walk without a specific destination. I will go where it takes me.
Sometimes it feels like you are part of a big scenario or even that you are in a museum admiring an artist’s vision of Viennese winter landscapes.
And you really don’t want it to stop, let it snow, let it snow, let it snow …
If you follow down the famous Kärntner Strasse it will eventually take you to the Opera. Very near the Opera is the Albertina Museum, one of the best art museums in Vienna. The entrance to the museum is above street level and you either take an elevator or an escalator to reach it. From there you have a wonderful view of the Opera and this romantic landscape.
I was grateful for this wintery day in Vienna and particularly the snow. The atmosphere, beauty and inspiration I was gifted with on that day more than made up for the seemingly endless weeks without snow. I didn’t even mind the cold. I knew that the following day, it would all start melting away. Near the Danube in the morning the birds were playful, greeting the winter sun. What a contrast to the day before.
But that is also what I love about Vienna. The city changes and reinvents itself with the different seasons. There is always something to discover, something you may have missed. And so much beauty!
I will miss it all when I embark on my next journey.