Thursday, May 22, 2014

There's Really No Way To Reach Me, 'Cause I'm Already Gone...

If you are curious about the title, it comes from a song by The Fray titled Vienna that I absolutely love. And considering this blog post is about Vienna, it seemed very fitting. This post will also talk about airports and future plans.

But, first, I want to say that after a few complaints, I reread Love Story. I still stand by my opinion. First of all, Jenny Cavilleri wasn't even 21 when she married Oliver. He's mean to her and he hides the fact that she has cancer from her. SHE DIDN'T GET TO GO TO PARIS. She always wanted to see Paris. And, when she is dying, she tells Ollie something like "Screw Paris" but I know she doesn't mean it. He knows she doesn't mean it. But she keeps him from apologizing because "love means never having to say your sorry" and whatnot. 

Now, with that said, I did start bawling my eyes out in the Zurich airport when I reread this, but I think that's more because of how prevalent cancer is in my family than anything else. Cancer is stupid. That is one opinion that no one can even attempt to change my mind on. 

Okay, so, down to business....

Airports and Airplanes

1) The Madrid Airport - Terminals 1, 2, and 3 are awful things. They are depressing and have very little choices for food and such. Terminal 4 is a much better thing. I had a cronut in terminal 4 for crying out loud. At an airport. In terminal 2, I had coffee and a sandwich that cost me 9 euros, which I consider expensive for Madrid.

But my flight from Madrid terminal 2 to Zurich was awesome. My view from Madrid to Zurich was epic. Here is a view of what I am pretty sure is the Pyrenees mountains. You know those flights where you look out the window and all you can see are clouds? Well, that happened on this flight, except you could see the tips of mountains peeking into the clouds. It was incredible and it made me feel like the scene in The Great Gatsby when Jay Gatsby when he is describing all of his trips with Dan Cody to Nick Carraway.....not sure why, it just did.

I flew Swiss, so, chocolate and a pastry! They gave me a slice of lemon cake.

2) The Zurich Airport - I've been here many times now. It's pretty, but it's expensive. It is a very clean airport and that's nice. A coffee and a salad here cost me the equivalent of 17 US dollars, which was ridiculous. But necessary. 

My layover ended up being longer than expected on this trip because of storms and such, which led me to discover that when flights are worried about turbulance, they will not serve hot drinks. So, no coffee for me. Also, this flight gave me a bagel with a square of butter on the inside. Not quite as appetizing as the lemon cake, but, hey, free chocolate still.

3) The Vienna Airport - I didn't spend enough time here to have any real opinion on it, but I remember coffee being a reasonable price. 

The really nice thing about this place was that I was able to check into my flight from the train station in Vienna. I didn't have to deal with it at the airport. Convenient.

4) The Munich Airport - also known as my favorite airport that I have ever been in. First of all, they had an amazing stationary store. Second, they had FREE coffee. You read that right. Free coffee, tea, hot chocolate, beverages, etc. So, I had a lot of free coffee. Also, for 15 euros an hour, you could rent a little room with a bed and a desk that is in the middle of the terminal. My layover was short, but this would be a great place to be if you needed a short little nap while your devices charged on the desk. 

Both airlines I flew with to and from Vienna were great (Swiss and Lufthansa) and I would recommend them.


Vienna was an epic time. I went there to visit a friend that I hadn't seen since high school and to visit the beautiful city. It's great having friends in awesome cities. I owe a lot to this guy. I am very grateful both to have gotten to see Vienna and to have reconnected with someone I'm not sure I would have seen again otherwise. 

Vienna. Hands down one of the most outwardly beautiful cities that I have ever been to. Hands down the most beautiful library that I have ever seen. The library was at one point owned by the Hapsburgs (my favorite European dynasty) and I am just enchanted by it. Here's a picture:

Schönbrunn palace and the palace gardens were beautiful. I didn't actually go into the palace, but I went to the cafe at the palace and got to see strudel being made (and got to taste it of course). I was trying to wait for the rain to pass. Then I went to the gardens and they were so amazing!

Some things from the gardens:

The Neptune Fountain

A duplicate of a Roman Ruin

This Awesome Statue that unfortunately had no plaque (look at the woman's face. Doesn't it just make you want to write a poem?)

The Gloriette

Amazing Views of Vienna

It was by far one of the most beautiful gardens I had ever been in. Lots of fantastic statues and such. But my favorite statues of the day come from just outside the Hapsburg palace. I think these ones are just so worthy of poetry. The way the stone has settled adds so much character and expression to them, it just amazes me. Of course, my pictures can't do it justice.

They had some gorgeous cathedrals as well, including this one, St. Stephan's Cathedral:

I spent a lot of time just wandering the streets of Vienna as well. I found a street named Kollergasse, which was awesome. My grandmother's maiden name was Koller, so, I had to snap a photo of that one for all of my family in New York and Switzerland:

I got to wander through the Prader and the amusement park. I took a photo of the Riesenrad, the iconic Viennese Ferris Wheel:

I also got to ride the tallest amusement swing in the world and saw an amazing view of Vienna that way:

And, of course, I took a photo of the Hundertwasserhaus, the most photographed building in Austria (and one of the most unique buildings that I have seen):

Vienna was great and it is definitely worth a visit. I was also, surprisingly, underbudget for my trip, so, that was good. It's always good to have more money at the end of the weekend than you thought you would. 

Future Plans

I have officially booked a flight home to California for the summer. I will be spending two and a half months there, which I have mixed feelings about. But I have epic times planned and I am starting to get excited about that. I will return to Spain in September and hopefully write more blog posts than I do now, but who knows. I might try to write one or two while I am in California about reverse culture shock and whatot. 

So, look out and keep checking for new posts.

Sunday, May 11, 2014

For Jenny Cavilleri, a letter

You know, because I can write letters to fictitious people... Don't worry, it's about future travel plans...

Dear Jenny,

I am not sure that you got to live the life you wanted to and, at times, I think it is my personal responsibility to fix that and live for you.

Although I think you ended up happy and in love, I feel this pang of regret every time I think of how you must have felt at the end of your story. I think you did what you felt was right for you at the time, but I'd like to think you would have wanted more.

You see, when I thought about what I was going to do after graduation, I was in a situation similar to the time when you were about to graduate college. I was beautiful and brilliant. I loved Mozart and Bach. I loved the Beatles. And I loved a boy. But I had dreams that were bigger than that. The difference between you and me was I chose my dreams. 

You see, my plan was always to stay home. See Europe on some future trip. But something drew me to revisit your life. At the end of it, all I could think about was "Jenny never got to go to France. She never got to. She never achieved her dreams. AND SHE GRADUATED, LIKE, 4 YEARS AGO NOW." 

Sure, Oliver was a great guy in some aspects, but there were times when I felt like you weren't happy. You regretted your decision. He never did - he was head over heels for you - but you didn't feel quite the same way, did you?

One of the big reasons I came to Europe was because it upset me that you never had the chance to go. You missed out on your scholarship to study in France. You missed Europe.

Now that I am in Europe, I am starting to realize that I am missing out on things. And you are one of the women who taught me life was too short, so, I can't waste my time anymore. I can't miss out on Europe any more than I have. 

So, this weekend, I am going to Austria. Next, I am hopefully going to Italy. And the weekend after? I am going to France. For your sake. Because, Jenny, you never got to go to France. And that still upsets me to this day.