Once upon a time, before I had made up my mind I was gonna do music with my life, before the heart palpitations of opening up envelopes from LIPA to find out whether I’d been accepted or not, I was a psychology student in the most beautiful city in the world, Vienna.
I cannot begin to describe the wonderful memories I have of my brief residence in this city. The superlatives keep on coming. Pure class exuding from every street corner, every little cafe, every majestic building. The former capital of perhaps the most cultured of European empires, the urban equivalent of a Mozart symphony. I was a totally different person then, as I feel a much higher affinity towards Vienna than I do towards Liverpool. The two cities have a totally different energy. While Vienna is like a graceful ballerina, Liverpool is like a hearty sailor. Both cities have added two wildly different facets to my character, which balance each other quite nicely.
I have been to the Vienna Staatsoper a good few times. I remember queueing outside the side-entrance for hours to get standing-room tickets to see the likes of Rolando Villazon and Anna Netrebko in Gounod’s “Roméo et Juliette”. It is also here that I saw the best version of Puccini’s “Tosca” I have ever seen. The opera house is situated right in the middle of Vienna’s historical centre, where every building within your eyesight is a work of art.
However, it’s little cafe’s like the one above that represent the best thing about Vienna, to me. Walking around town aimlessly, then turning a corner only to discover some quaint little Kaffeehaus that looks like it was built just for you. Also, I know many people say Italian coffee is the best, but the best coffee I’ve ever been served has been in Vienna. Also the best ice-cream!
I also had the use of a car in Vienna, my trusty little Mercedes A 180 CDI (which I’ve sold since coming to Liverpool). I miss that little car and the trips I used to make right after classes finished for the day at Webster University Vienna. Traffic is not a problem in Vienna, even at rush hour, the system being so fluidly designed that there are hardly any traffic jams at all. I rememeber driving across the Danube to go home every day. Driving up to the hills to the west of Vienna, to the belvedere at Leopoldsberg overseeing all of Vienna and the Danube. Also, the two impromptu road trips to Bratislava (another great Danubian capital) which is as far away from Vienna as Manchester from Liverpool.
Happy memories indeed. It’s fair to say that, in just under half a year, Vienna left a bigger imprint on my life than Liverpool has in my soon-to-be four years here. However, they are both special places to me, each in their different way. Places make us who we are, don’t they?