Tonight I took one last walk through time. Up and down streets with names like Leiberstrasse , and Huapfelstrasse. I walked back into the 17th, 18th , and 19th centuries. I walked past pubs that were full to brimming ; on a Tuesday night ! I heard traditional Austrian music and Euro-lite rock. Here in the northwest corner of Vienna is a neighborhood that is busy and eclectic. There are faces here that capture the whole gamut of Central Europe ; faces from the Middle East , and voices from the South. I heard Serbian and Croat , mingle with German and Arabic. The tables along the sidewalks were filled with people drinking coffee and smoking Turkish cigarettes , the breeze thick and deep with the smoke from them.
The streets are still damp from the cooling rains and the sides of these massive old apartment blocks glisten with slick white marble. As I came down to the main street , Hernalser Hauptstrasse , the broad avenue opened up and I could see two long lines of what seemed like the same buildings meeting far down the street. This city is , like Bratislava , quite old. The Romans fortified this area in 15BC , and in the mid15th century , the Hapsburgs made it their seat. It is one of the best cities in the world for quality of life. I can see why ; it is very clean and very well run. I will spend more time here on my return trip , maybe in the next year or so. After spending almost 2 months in Europe , there won’t be much to keep me in the US. I have to see more of it. I need to see Germany and Scandinavia.
I wish I could bring my family here to see what life is like outside of the US. The quality of living here is greater than the quantity . I love the fact that they rarely walk around with a cup of coffee in their hands ; they sit and drink it. I am bemused a bit with seeing KFC and Burger King and the like. They didn’t seem as busy as they do in the US. I think this is all market-driven. Eventually they will weedle their way into the psyche of the Europeans.
I do miss home , and my family ; there are some things that I always need to be grounded in. My Sister and and Brother , my wife and children , and my close friends , are who I miss the most. There are connections that are constant in my life and I have necessarily looked past them for 2 months in order to have a direction. I have been secure that all I need is me , and not in an egotistical way. In a way that says , I am okay with wherever I am. I’ve learned that I can be far more resourceful than ever before. Being alone for some time in a foreign land makes one think quick and act accordingly. This will be my last blog from Europe , and maybe I will write a follow-up after I’m home for a bit. I am extremely thankful for this opportunity and feel graced to have been kept from harms way. I have one last packing session tonight and one last trip dragging my gear. I have learned one thing ; I could’ve gotten by with a lot less.
That’s all from Vienna. I thank those who followed this odyssey , and I look forward to conversations and thoughts . I humbly send my love and best regards. Niel