>The church bells ring in the distance, and through the narrow streets. There’s a church on almost every corner you turn, and the bells are delicious. The pigeons rule this town, and their feathers swirl like gnats about your feet. The clip-clop of tourist-carriage-rides resonate like time travel when you close your eyes. I fell asleep last night upon the instant.
I woke up earlier than I thought, had my free viennese continental breakfast before i was supposed to, and ran out the door before 7am. with nothing yet open, and an adventurous heart, i wandered to places ethan hawke and julie delpy might have. i found europafunk, and the bridge over the canal and train rails. i stepped along the graben and i found stephansdom. i ventured inside before it had opened, and walked up and down the white and red checkered tiles. the stone columns have been ornamentalized with gothic demons, animals, cherubs, and gods. from romanesque beginnings, to gothic additions, and baroque conquers, this church has been revamped for over 1000 years. i ran my hands over the stone columns, the tapestries of medieval kings and popes, the latin inscriptions, and i wonder how many souls before me have done the same. whose fingerprints are now on my skin? what does time do to your imprint?
the church disgusts me on another level however, with all the gilded idolatry. so ornate, so sumptuous, so full of sparkling eye-candy (holy bling-bling) to dazzle the non-believer. even i, a devout athiest, had the urge to kneel down and pray. the catacombs beckoned as well, but i decided that no dogma, even historical sites, can make me become an idiot.
finally, after breezing through the harsh austrian winds, the tourist centre opened, and i got my hands on an audio guide. stephansdom history, the destruction WWII did on the square. the grabben history. peter’s church. kohlmarkt. michaelerplatz.
what i loved learning the most was the history of Cafe Demel, which sells sweet chocolates and fine coffees. all the waitresses wear black, which dates back to (and a reminder of) when all the waitresses were nuns. the waitress profession used to be associated with prostitution here, but was often the only way for an independent woman to make a living. waitressing was the perfect was for a nun to atone for her sins.
finally, the sun came out and warmed my olive skin.
then, the interesting stuff really happened:
as i walked around the roman excavation ruins around michaelerplatz, one of the tourist guides, dressed like mozart (wig and all), jumped up on a concrete pillar before me, took my hand, and placed a delicate kiss on it. i giggled like a schoolgirl, and as we walked away, he invited me for a cafe half an hour later. we sat and chatted at, ironically, starbucks. his name is Gezim, and is originally from Kosovo. He grew up speaking Albanian, south croatian, english, and turkish, and after moving to vienna, he learned german, french, and italian (!!! in toronto, people think i am a genius for speaking 2 languages . . . ). i think he may be my “before sunrise” man. he has blonde curls and sporadic stubble. he looks like orlando bloom in a way.
details, details, details.
he has invited me out for a cocktail tonight with his friends at a place called Buddha Cafe, with incense sticks and all.
my day has not yet ended, but my internet-card has . . . so more details details details tomorrow, dear readers, when things begin to change.