Vienna was wonderful. We arrived at about 5pm on June 12th and headed out shortly afterwards for our night tour. I was dropped off about 1km away from Maria Theresa Platz where I was to meet Andy at 7pm. Andy is my brother’s Viennese friend who stayed with us for a few weeks last July. We spent hours walking and talking, and about 0.5 seconds woofing down vegan chocolate gelato.
The following day, some Contiki friends and I headed off to see Hundertwasserhaus: one of many outlandish buildings designed by Austrian artist and architect, Friedensreich Hundertwasser. Its bold colours and peculiar shapes add character to an otherwise monotonous street. At the souvenir shop, I purchased a special notebook embellished with pictures of Hundertwasser’s works and quotes of his that resonate with me. It’s the first souvenier I’ve bought so far.
About an hour later we wound up at Wiener Rathaus (city hall) where the 2017 Life Ball was held three days prior. Life Ball is the biggest charity event in Europe, supporting people with HIV and AIDS. This year’s guest stars included Naomi Campbell, 2014 Eurovision winner Conchita Wurst, Susan Holmes and Amanda Lepore. It isn’t usually open to the public outside special events, but we were lucky enough to be granted entry during clean-up from the ball. We were welcomed with grand staircases and opulent chandeliers. Outside, a large LGBT flag was fixed to the hall, dancing in the wind as though my camera was its audience. I feel very privileged to have walked on the same ground as some of the world’s most inspirational and influential people. We spent the night at Prater Fun Park and Andy came along. There were rides aplenty, no lines and good food. I LOVED it! One of the rides was a giant pendulum that performed 360-degree swings for a generous 3 minutes; I was citing my own eulogy in-between squeals.
On June 14th we made our way to Cesky Krumlov, Czech Republic, before coming to Prague. It ties with Dubrovnik as my favourite town so far – another fairy tale land. I was speechless. We were only there for two hours but I made the most of it and snapped some good pics.
Prague was very hot today. We had a city bike tour that involved dodging cars and praying for the best. Australia is relatively new to the whole ‘sharing roads’ thing, so I’d rate it as one of my top 5 near-death experiences. It’s up there with the time I fell out of a 3m high cubby house and prepared for the afterlife: ‘You’ve lived a good life,’ I consoled my seven-year-old self. We paid visit to the Torture Museum which was a stomach churning experience. I can’t fathom what it would be like to live in those times. The John Lennon Peace Wall was a much-needed mood changer. It’s a major tourist attraction where people go to write messages of love, encouragement and peace. Whilst the wall gets repainted over regularly to create a blank canvas for new tourists, it’s nice to know that each layer is personalised by people from all over the world, including me. I wrote, ‘Smile awhile. When you smile, another smiles, and soon there will be miles and miles of smiles. Life is so worthwhile when you smile’ on behalf of Dad who shared the quote with me.
Tomorrow we’re off to Dachau and Munich. Two more days ‘til I’m 21. Wow.
Night Journal, you precious thing.
P.S Everyone’s been admiring you.