For some time we just roamed around in the amusement park. There were so many rides I wanted to get on but my parents deemed those rides to be too horrific and dangerous for us to get on. Soon we stood before a ride which was a like a carousel, but with swings instead of horses. I got on it alone since Papa was talking to his friend and Mumma was feeling a bit dizzy due to the jetlag.
I sat alone on a swing, away from other people who were with their friends and family. These are the times when I wish I had a sibling. The ride was thrilling, yes, but if I had another person of my age to share these experience with, it would have been so much more exciting.
The last ride we went for was the famous Wiener Riesenrad. It’s one of the main attractions of the amusement park as it is over a hundred years old. It was destroyed in World War II but was rebuilt later. It still has the old-fashioned carriage cars. About ten to twelve people got onto one car, and the car would stop every other minute so that we could enjoy the beauty of the Vienna skyline against the setting sun. Also because all the carriages that had gone before us were unloaded and reloaded as they reached the booth at the bottom. I took out my camera to click some really beautiful pictures of the skyline. Soon, we were at the top while the last rays of the sun fell on the beautiful old buildings of Vienna. Here I observed something interesting. Vienna is a beautiful amalgamation of old and new. I could see old sculptures and gargoyles on many doorways. I saw an old painting hanging on the side of a building and a graffitied wall next to it. The skyline consisted of old palace -like buildings and modern skyscrapers. They were modern, but they also liked to keep in touch with their roots.
I kept looking out of the window of the carriage, drinking in the view until all I could see was the gravel path before me. We got out and another batch of tourists jumped into the carriage we had just vacated. We went to the bus station and got onto a bus which took us to a a train station. The train took us to Musikverein Golden Hall. This was where we would be attending a Mozart concert. An orchestra, a conductor and a couple of opera singers would be performing an opera written by Mozart .
As we were stepping out of the train station, an Indian family came up to us asking for the directions to the Golden Hall. We told them that we were going to the same place and we started walking together. They were originally from India but lived in Ireland. They had come to Vienna for a vacation. We talked for a little while and as we reached the hall, we went our separate ways. The lady shared her card with promises to stay in touch via Facebook. We didn’t really stay in touch, but it was still nice to meet them.
We got to our seats which were in the VIP box . The decoration of the music hall was what I would call ‘glamourously elegant’. The ceiling was adorned with intricate golden designs with huge paintings in the middle. There were many golden statues and a huge organ above the main stage where the orchestra was seated. All the members of the orchestra, the conductor and the staff were wearing costumes from the era of Mozart. Everyone else had come wearing fancy clothes, which made us feel quite underdressed in our jeans and t-shirts. As the clock struck eight thirty, the conductor came out from the backstage.
The first few pieces were performed entirely by the orchestra and the conductor. Then a lady dressed in an extremely beautiful and elegant gown came out onto the stage. She sang opera and it was amazing. You could actually see her neck veins popping out due to the effort she was putting into singing. It was absolutely perfect.
A male opera singer joined her soon and they both sang together. This went on for quite some time. I felt my eyes drooping. When I was alert again it was interval. A man had come to take us to the the back room where we met the performers. They were really nice. I told the lady performer that I liked her music a lot.
We went back for the second half of the show. It was as exceptional as the first. Everyone was transfixed on the singers, but I loved the orchestra as well. It was incredible how they could coordinate so well with each other. But now, the jetlag was really starting to hit me. I constantly had to force myself to keep my eyes open. The show ended with a funny performance where the singers came out wearing feathery outfits and sang a funny song.
We went back to our hotel in something called a ‘Faxi’ – kind of an old-fashioned rickshaw. The night air was quite cold. I was happy that I had decided to carry a jacket with me.
Thus was our first day in Vienna. With such an eventful first, I couldn’t wait to see how the rest of the stay would be.
Photographs by Insha Faridoon