On the way to Vienna I alighted in Salzburg and I am beginning to wonder what it is with all the chocolate manufacturers in Austria and Switzerland. Salzburg was bright and touristy and a chance to take a breath all alone after constantly being surrounded by people in hostels and on trains and at Laura's. And fortunately that sufficed - when I got on the train to Vienna I was already smiling broadly in anticipation of meetin Vera and her friends. And because Vera was still busy acquiring her new Ipad, I made my way to her flat by myself, but we got there at the same time and met in the stairway :).
I dropped off my luggage and out we went again to meet with Vicky and Lis and Caro for dinner (where I was living proof that there is no growing tired of pizza) and although due to a blocked nose the hearing on my right ear was severly compromised I enjoyed the talk and the laughter. It was delightful to finally meet Vicky and Lis whom I heard about so much already.
After dinner Vera and I joined some of her fellow students at a Mexican restaurant and the variety of different accents reminded me of Erasmus times. We later moved on to a pub and I ended up talking Obamacare, Tina Fey and etymology with Brianna and Jana which - as we admitted later - might not be suitable conversation topics for drinking out :). To put the balance right again we also discusses Mean Girls and kitschy movies. When we were asked to pay the bill, we decided to call it a night and missed the bus (which wasn't as easy as it sounds, because we left in time from the pub...), which effected on a leisurely walk home.
The following day we had strawberry breakfast (which was quite paradoxical to be honest, because belatedly Vera seems to have taken my stand on "strawberry time" to heart and thus those strawberries from Spain were the objectified evil. And I couldn't deny it :) ) and visited the park Schönbrunn. They were hosting an Easter fair there and we strolled around the stands. Notice: You can always sell Christmas decoration to tourists. Even on a socalled Easter Fair ;). After that we went to a lovely café (phil) for hot drinks and then it was time for meeting Vicky at the Ethnology Museum... actually, we might have been a tad bit late owing to our enthusiasm for finding ways ourselves XD. A museum with doors that won't open and confusing order (we managed to see exhibits in reverse more than once) but nevertheless we spent almost 3 hours there. So obviously we were starving when we got out and looked up a restaurant in my tourist guide (and this time we asked for directions right away, though we probably would have found it anyway - or Vera would, Vicky and I were mostly tagging along).
Somehow time had been flying and it was already evening when we got home again and I gathered my stuff to change from Vera's place to a hostel. But we agreed there's be time for another coffee before my departure the next day.
Alas, it didn't wort out that way... I spent the night [well, I had to give in to tiredness around 11pm] at a bar with my roommates from the hostel - some Austrian girls who were in town with a theatre workshop. On my final day of travel I rose early, checked out and roamed the city (and made some seat reservations for the train, because Vienna - Prague tends to be packed on the weekends) and hoped for Vera to rise early enough so we could still meet. But turns out her battery died and thus the last day of my journey was spent like my first: solitary save for my train encounters. Though, due to sad, sad books and some of the emotional turmoil that comes with travelling, I mostly bewildered the people in my compartment by spilling tears now and again before getting it together during a short walk around the train staion in Prague.
The rest of the journey was quite uneventful, apart from getting a real deal from a train conductor: I'd stayed on the train from Prague to Leipzig but still needed a ticket for the bit from Dresden to Leipzig. And I was pretty sure I could pay by card. Well, obviously I couldn't and I didn't have enough cash on me to pay for the ticket. The conductor told me to go through my luggage and see what money I could find and he would come back later. When he came back I had barely scraped up the money and he gave me some discount of 5€. Talk about people being nice.
I said in the beginning that I wasn't sure of the purpose of this journey. And still I am not sure what I had in mind when I set out. But on the train to Zurich something happened. Something I had been waiting for so anxiously I didn't dare to put it into my travel accounts right away too afraid it could slip away again. When I came up with the route for thus trip, Vienna didn't make the list. Even though I'd enjoyed the city a lot during my last visits and I wanted to see Vera again if there was a chance. It didn't make the list because I thought Vera would not want to see me and because I was still so angry. I was afraid I would inflict a shitstorm of hurt and pinpricking on her - because let's not kid ourselves, that is how we bitches in Passive-Agressiva handle social interactions. So when I left from Leipzig I wasn't even sure I would go vie Vienna, or even if I would, I wasn't sure if I was going to meet up with Vera. I left it open for the time being and pushed it from my thoughts as well as I could. And because the feeling of impending woe didn't fade, I gambled for a compromise which meant staying at hers for one night and then changing to a hostel (because even I cannot do that much damage in a few hours, right??). This looked wacky even to me, but it also meant I wouldn't have to think about it anymore and could continue my floating without worrying about potential future catastrophes. And then it happened. It was Tuesday, around noon and my arrival in Zurich was only a few hours away. I put down my book for a moment, looked out of the window and allowed myself to ponder the next few days of my trip. I was looking forward to seeing Laura again and be less of a stranger for once, and I realized that I was genuinely happy to go to Vienna and to see Vera and that somehow Austria would never be that kind of combat zone. I was at peace. And it had taken me so long. So if that was the only thing I gained from this journey, it was worth it.