July 20, 2018

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Music today come again from Vance Joy. 1) because I’m still loving his new album, and 2) because I was listening to it as I wrote this blog.

This one’s called Saturday Sun.

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Words written for the year: 88,407

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Hello from the sunny riverside twenty-second district in Vienna. It has now been just about a week since the Lady Holly and I boarded our first plane for a twenty four hour trip from Melbourne to Vienna and I am happy to report I am now well entrenched in holiday mode.

I’ll give a quick report as I don’t wish to provide a beat by beat travel journal nor do I want to be too braggy (a little braggy, yes, but not too braggy).

Day 1 was spent washing off our jetlag and the fine musk one gets when one spends a day sitting in an airplane/airports. After a vigorous shower and a much needed teeth brushing we were able to fully indulge in the company of our hosts, Brother Jon and soon-to-be-sister-in-law Alexandra. It’s been so great to be back with the two of them. The fact that I can video chat with them whenever and wherever I am on the globe is amazing and all, but the technology hasn’t really caught up to being able to compete with the feeling of receiving an overly long hug from my womb-mate and best friend. To add to that the two of them have been hellbent on plying us with rich delicious Austrian food and we’ve been only too happy to let them. Which was mostly how day 1 went, devouring the delicious combination of food and good company while also having an explore around the very green and very beautiful twenty-second district.

Day 2 kicked off with more food and drink, as J and A had prepared a belated and extravagant thirtieth birthday breakfast for Holly. It was outstanding and varied, complete with giant balloons, cake, and a truly unique present that I’ll tell you about in a later blog. A relaxed second day followed, the afternoon being spent swimming and sunning at the nearby river. What is most amazing of all is how comfortable I immediately felt here. How familiar it all is. No doubt due to being able to hang with some of my favourite people. Showing that home really is about the people you’re with and not the location.

Days 3 to 5 were spent exploring. With Alex back at work and Jonathan completing a two week German course while we’re here, Holly and I were free to go and do all the touristy things they’ve done a number of times before.

Vienna has proven itself to be a charming city. Coming from a place with such a short western history, it always blows me away just how old european cities are; and Vienna is no exception. Their buildings are big and beautiful and have seen and experienced more of time than I can really wrap my head around. There’s something about hearing of people and their exploits from the 1700’s and then realising that these people once walked where I am walking, looked about at the same ornate interiors, and then realising that this titan of a structure whose innards I’m passing through will last for centuries after my own demise. It’s humbling and oddly thrilling.

Beyond that Vienna is the right size of city for me. Big enough to have plenty to see and do, but small enough to be able to navigate it easily. It’s also exceptionally clean and green for a city, another fact that wins it to my favour. I was always going to be biased towards Vienna, due to two of the people who live here, but nevertheless it has won me over. Also, I mentioned the food, right?

Day 6 was a mammoth of a day. Back in March, on Holly’s actual birthday, our gang of friends gifted her with a voucher for two people to take a cycling tour through the Wachau valley, and she chose me to go with her! What a sweetheart.

The day was exceptional. After meeting up with our tour group we trained it down to the valley where a number of bikes waited for us. We then pedalled our way through some of the finest scenery I have ever seen. The weather was perfect as we slowly made our way through old cobble-pathed towns, then out into the open air, vineyards on one side of us and the Danube river on the other. The photo above should give you a taste of it. Then, to make an already enjoyable experience even better, wine was added.

We rode for most of the day, lazily stopping to drink yet more wine–our international group now fast friends thanks to the addition of alcohol–before finally returning back to where we started and reboarding the train back to Vienna. We started the day at nine o’clock, and finished it at the same time, just with a pm instead of an am, so we definitely got our (friends) money’s worth. We were tired but satisfied and happy.

Day 7, today, has been a recharge day. We slept in, cooked breakfast, and now I’ve spent most of the day writing.

It’s a good life.

Talk soon,

Damian

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