A Trip Back in Time: The B Side

A Trip Back in Time: The B Side

We had put a bunch of ideas on the table for how to spend our first day in Vienna. Ride the on-off bus, ride the Metro, see some museums. But when the morning dawned, I began to get very excited to take the Ginnie out to see the sites that I had experienced when I was here.

We were planning for a quiet, post-travel day anyway, so Gin and I headed out around 11 with plans to get back by 3. We are about a kilometer outside of the Ring to the southeast in our current location.

What I remember most about my time in Vienna is prosaic. Cold walks on the north-south axis through the Old Town. Roughly where I had lived. Roughly where the location of the school was.

I made some great friends here in Vienna and I remember spending time with those folks, though not all the names. Wait here’s one name I remember, Tom from Rice University. I had another terrific female friend from the wide flat land of West Texas. I remember serving as a steadying rock, and friend, to another woman who was going through some tough times.

But I don’t remember is doing a lot of stuff. I went up in the ferris wheel of the Prater with one of those gangs of female friends. Once or twice I remember going to a underground tavern. But my days were mostly quiet.

I worked in the library at school. I was in a long-distance relationship with Ellen, my girlfriend at that time. She was in a program in Madrid that same spring of ’91. We were going to meet up and travel in Italy before coming home. I think I spent almost all my time trying to save up enough money to do that trip. I remember right I was trying to come up with $40 a day times about 15 days. My library job and living expenses just barely made that possible if I was frugal.

Here’s here’s some of the hot spots. That place to the north is where I stayed. I stayed in a little 2-bedroom room in the apartment of an Austrian family. The room was quite small, my roommate was a Japanese student who I almost never saw. I suspect he found some alternate living arrangement in Vienna.

The second question mark is where I think the school was. It was called The Institüt für Europaische Studien (that’s Institute for European studies) and it welcomed students from all over the US. The school occupied a former palace in central Vienna. That sounds fancy, and it sort of was. There was a grand ballroom, but most of the spaces had been converted into fairly standard classrooms. Vienna is chock-full of minor palaces.

It wasn’t especially hard to get good grades, and I was also taking some time off of wrestling so this was a double break for me.

Looking looking north towards where the apartment was. I remember being on the right side but that doesn’t seem possible. There’s a fair bit of newer construction. Vienna was fairly staid when I was there I think the end of the Cold War has been good for it.

Everyday everyday I would walk south towards Stevansplatz, the great and touristy church. Then I would walk south on the Graben until I got to the alley that had the school (Annagasse I now believe).

For recreation, I had a student pass to the Kunsthistorisches Museum (art history museum) where I would go and sketch. The museum is gargantuan and seems like it’s grown since I left.

We tromped home (walking the whole way because 30,000 steps) and Ginnie had a unfortunate experience with a shrink ray. However by the time we got home she was fine.

Edit: serendipity!

On the way down to the city center today we admired the dog of a woman who has been living here in Vienna for 30 years. She attended the IES as well and she was able to correct the address. It’s still here.

IES Abroad Vienna Center
Johannesgasse, 1010 Wien, Austria