I got lost in Vienna.
Okay, I know this is hardly a great surprise to anyone who knows me. I regularly find myself off the beaten track, however, I hoped this would be confined to my domestic adventures in the UK.
It started with missing the tour bus, I waited patiently outside the Sigmund Freud Museum, a short walk away from my hotel peering up and down the beautiful buildings for a big yellow bus that never arrived. Already a day in Vienna, I decided I knew exactly what I was doing and swaggered confidently towards the nearest tram stop and boarded one going which looked like it was going in the direction of the city centre. However, as the streets grew quieter and less tourist like I realised I was heading out of Vienna. Jumping off the tram, I boarded a bus and was given a timetable by lovely bus driver who directed me towards the underground.
Underground, yes, six lines, what could possibly go wrong. Hearing my Dad’s voice saying; “you’ve got a Scots tongue in yer heed.” I asked for help, speaking to three people, the last an elderly lady who charmingly commented her glasses were too small for my timetable. I jumped on a underground train to Karlskirche. Quickly realised I had got it wrong again, reverted back to the previous station before finally finding the U4 to the city centre with the help of another lady, adorned by a chic hat, who stated regally, “Dear, we wait for the driver to pull the train along towards us before we board it.”
Two hours later, I finally reached the splendour of the Vienna Opera House, laughing at myself and appreciating how lovely and helpful Austrian people are.
The next day I decided to stick with what I knew best. Heading towards the city centre, I followed Google maps until I reached the Austrian Library because if there is anywhere in Vienna I had to visit, it was there. Navigating the Museum Quarter and being stunned by the architecture at the corner of each building, I finally found the library and wandered into the silent, hallowed walls, filled with marble, books and majesty. It was so quiet. It was so beautiful.
Leaving the building, I found myself facing St Stephens Cathedral with The Hofberg Palace to my left and the Museum of Natural History on my right.
I had found Vienna.
Sitting down, I took it all in. The sun beating down over the Museum Quarter, the coolness in the shade and the absolute beauty around me and I remembered the day before I had turned 40.
And in that moment, in that second, I knew I had everything I ever needed.
I went to Vienna as a dare to myself. A challenge of travelling abroad, on my own, to see how I would fare. I did good and in fact these three days in this beautiful, magical country where the most cathartic and liberating I have ever experienced.
So, sometimes you get lost and find yourself in the most unexpected ways and you return and ask yourself the best question.
Where to next?