Tuesday, September 9, 2008

I love Vienna!

I actually was thinking about writing this a few days ago, but I am SO glad I waited, because tonight as I was making dinner I heard a clip-clop of horse hooves. Just for the record we live on an incredibly busy street, annoyingly so. For a second I wasn't sure I heard correctly so I looked out our kitchen window and what do I see, but a HORSE-DRAWN CARRIAGE. I ran to go get my camera, but alas the carriage was too far up the street and blocked by a beautiful tree. This, my friends, is just one of the reasons I love my adopted city Vienna. Another reason is because this city is full of friendly people to a mom and baby. However, the strassenbahns are most definitely not stroller friendly. See picture below.

In order to get myself and my son onto the strassenbahn I have to rely on the kindness of strangers. I should preface, that Vienna is an incredibly formal town, formerly the capital of the Austrian empire, there is still an imperialistic quality that surrounds it. Needless to say, I was a little nervous about running around with Jameson and stroller. Much to my surprise (and delight!) I have been helped every single time I have needed to board the strassenbahn, without even having to ask for assistance. I must say that the older gents and surprisingly, the school-age guys (and no this is not sexist, they have all been guys) have been so nice. I must say that my german has been greatly practiced recently, because after they help me up the stairs of the strassenbahn they usually begin a conversation. This is practically unheard of here, except when I walked around with Lulu (dogs and babies, my friends are the way into the hearts of the Viennese people). It helps that Jameson is an incredible flirt and he has a preference for the older crowd, thanks to his wonderful grandparents. I have met some of the nicest people while sweating in the muggy heat and looking very frazzled, and it kind of makes me laugh.

The other day I was walking around with Jameson in the baby Bjorn. Sometimes its easier than hauling the stroller down the very unfriendly steps in my apartment house. I hopped on a full strassenbahn and I was just fine with standing because he was facing me and sleeping. I held onto the bar and had a nice breeze blowing around me because my window was open. School had just let out and the car was filled with school-age kids. Well, the elderly man sitting in the reserved seat was having none of me standing with a baby when at least ten seats were occupied by the young "hooligans" and he tapped one young guy on the leg, and said "You need to stand up, can't you see there is this woman standing here holding her sleeping baby, you need to offer her your seat." I even told the man, that I was perfectly happy to stand, I was only riding a few stops, but the young "hooligan" wasn't about to tell grandpa no. So he stood up, offered me his seat and took my place beside the open window, and I proceeded to sit down and sweat because it was much hotter at that level. The whole time I was sitting there laughing, and thinking how much I love this city. Ask me again when the weather has turned and I am still pushing the stroller up the hill in the rain and biting wind to the U-bahn station, and begging someone to help me lift his stroller into the strassenbahn, ask me then if I still love my adopted city.


Alison said...

I miss my non muggy weather...and people just stare at me here, maybe I need a dog and a baby to strike up a conversation :)

Sarah said...

I love the stories! We were in Austria last summer and LOVED it (besides the muggy heat). I would love to go to Vienna. So much history - especially for musicians! You're so lucky!