Last Sunday (actually, make that two Sundays ago now), having gotten up strangely early in spite of the crazy bowling shenanigans of the night before (make that COSMIC BOWLING), the Minkus and I spontaneously decided go on a day trip. We chose to explore Baden bei Wien (named “Baden near Vienna” for disambiguation purposes), which is about a 40-minute trip from Vienna by lokalbahn, a very convenient way to travel.
I am still not quite used to having no stores open on Sundays, and sometimes this fact about Austria bites me in the ass. As it turns out, I had no film for my camera this day, and there were literally no open stores that might be able to help me to be found. So it was up to the Minkus’s trusty camera to capture our adventure in Baden.
Following our innate senses of direction (scoff), we immediately meandered to a rather dingy part of Baden, but it had a cute little river. The photo doesn’t do the creepiness justice, but this building definitely housed some heroin addicts at one point — I’d put money on that. The dirty stream (unpictured) is just to the right of this dream house :
Although I do tend to love the un-touristy parts of towns, this neighbourhood really didn’t have a lot going for it, other than an impressively large parking garage and this drug addict haven. So, Mink and I made a hasty return back from the wrong side of the river. First, however, we stole (but there are so many superior adjectives for this action — appropriated? pilfered? purloined?) an old concert poster off of a sketchy wall, our modus operandi for getting unconventional souvenirs for places and concerts and the like.
In short, Baden is adorable, and since it was a Sunday it was incredibly quiet. There was a gaggle of old folks sitting and enjoying the sun. If this photo looks somehow familiar, it’s because so many places look like this in Vienna, too – immaculately clean and sparkling white:
The fact that this statue commemorates the victims of the plague, a time of such darkness and disease, makes it all the more stunning (note poor Yorick, the skull):
Apparently Beethoven spent a few summers (1821, 1822, 1823) in Baden in the baths because he thought the hot water would cure his deafness. Sorry that didn’t work out for ya, buddy, but now you’re famous regardless of that obstacle:
Ironically enough, it was in the nicest part of Baden that we were harassed by a strange older man who told us that the ATM was “defect,” just like his brain. We laughed nervously while wondering where the hell everyone had gone; we were on an abandoned street and there’d been tons of people on the last one. Upon learning that we live in Austria but don’t speak much of his mother tongue, he started angrily asking us questions in very rapid German – we had no idea if he was threatening to kill us or extending an invitation to help us out with our conversational skills. We eventually evaded the strange gentlemen by speeding up and turning onto a street that had people on it again.
We wandered around some more on the main streets of Baden, all the while keeping a wary eye out for our new friend, and eventually stopped at a place for Italian food. After that, we went towards the greenness and found a charming park, which had its own outdoor orchestra gazebo
and fountains galore.
We stopped in at an adorable outdoor bar and sat on some gingham-covered benches in order to get out of the late afternoon heat. We chose a traditional white wine from Lower Austria because it seemed appropriate. (Although, to be fair, neither of us are the type to turn down wine, be it Lower Austrian or otherwise.)
After that, we ventured up the hill in the park, which I assume is somewhere near the middle of Baden. (My sense of there having to be a large geographical “bump” in the middle of any given city or town I visit that exists solely to reorient me in said town comes from living in Montreal. I love you, Mont Royal!) The entire park was beautiful, despite the rather treacherous uphill trek that was made more challenging by the wine and the heat.
We were rewarded with this view though:
We made it back down the hill and to a train stop in time to catch the lokalbahn in the early evening, and we watched the vineyards roll by us on our way home to Vienna.