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Vienna 2002 Travel Diary Page 3

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Vienna 2002


Day 3



This is the view I woke up to.For the last few days I have been getting up late and not using my time here well. Vienna is an extremely interesting city and has breathtaking architecture. To be a tourist here is exhausting work and requires lots of time to do it justice, if that’s at all possible. This is not a tour guide, so while I do feel guilty that I’m not providing you with detailed information about the place I do hope to bring to you some sense of its atmosphere. Normally I feel quite confident about discovering new areas but today I didn’t want to go it alone and waited for Francesca to come home before venturing out. As it was, by the time I got up, wrote yesterday’s diary and edited last night’s photos it was almost 5pm. There’s quite a laid back feeling to Vienna, it’s not got the rush rush feeling of London or New York. So I’ll blame Vienna for my lack of get up and go.Francesca’s apartment looks out on to a car park which is enclosed by four buildings, throughout the day people hang out of their windows looking at each other, sometimes waving, and peeping from behind half closed shutters. As night falls and the rooms light up I can feel as if I’m watching a French film that zooms into different windows panning from one story to another. Even four grey walls look good here.

View from Francesca’s kitchen

Here’s where I write the diary

OK Finally Fran and I get as far as the station

Here’s an arty shot (well I think it’s arty!) of a woman on the subway train

Our first main venture for sightseeing today is a visit to the UN building. On first approaching the place I wasn’t impressed but once we entered the main “courtyard” I felt as if I was on a Star Wars set. I’m sorry but I couldn’t take any pictures then. Once inside the main building we entered the flag strewn lobby, and then beyond this point I felt as if I was in any office building. A maze of corridors, off of which are hundreds of offices. Francesca told me that it takes months to know your way around and even then it can be a bit patchy at times. Francesca took me to her office, nearby was the following:

Heaven is where the police are British, the cooks are French, the mechanics german, the lovers Italian and it  is all organised by the Swiss, Hell is where the chefs are British, the mechanics French, the lovers Swiss, the police german and it is  all organised by the Italians

As we walked around the building there was a sense that people were trying to cope with the reality of trying to keep a dream going. Human touches oozed out of quite surprising places, and while the views from windows were stunning, I could sense that the work force here needed a good sense of humour if they were to cope. There’s a statue of a woman in one of the lobbies, originally she was holding a dove of peace. It’s rumored that the dove was stolen, it was then replaced, and shortly afterwards stolen again. Of course that is only a rumor, but I did see the statue and she was empty handed.

The lifts are quite impressive

OK so I like shiny lifts, is there a law against that?

Here’s an Ad from the UN staff notice board

From the UN we made our way back to the centre of town where we sat outside and ate a meal. On a table near us were a group of four English men. They looked a bit like gangsters and one of them was about as close a version to Joe Pesci as one could get and still remain English. I said to Francesca that I couldn’t imagine they really were gangsters as what would be of interest to them here. My Tailor looks like a gangster so maybe these guys were just victims of my imagination.It’s easy in a place like this to let one’s imagination run away. For instance later on Fran and I were eating ice cream in another cafe when we heard chanting men moving towards us, after a while a group of about 40 people passed us shouting something slightly incoherent. Overhead a helicopter hovered following the group. Francesca couldn’t tell what they were shouting so we asked the waitress who said it was a protest against military conscription. Hours later I heard them from Fran’s flat, chanting in the distance. Even though their reason for protesting was quite the opposite of what went through my mind I was chilled by the thought of chanting men echoing through these streets over 60 years ago and how if you were the target of such threats it must have filled you full of fear.

Viennese watching late night street protest

Francesca and I caught in a reflection

I put this in because I liked it as a picture and I took it in the first place because it reminded me of me.