Oh, Vienna by Ultravox
The first time I visited Wien was a very long time ago. It was my first time in the Western world and we were driving from Łódź to Venice in an old Fiat 125. I must have been about 7 or 8 and the one thing I remember - apart from the Donau river - was a shop with my favourite toys: LEGOs. I have never seen so many different LEGO boxes in my life. It has become a bit of a symbol of the West for me.
Many years have passed before I got the Vienna again. It happened thanks to my friend Belinda who was living there at the time. In the end I liked the city so much that right after defending my masters I moved in with Belinda for almost a year.
Austria and Wien are so much more than people give them credit for. Both the country and the city have one of the most richest histories in Europe. And of course a Polish connection.
The country has produced some of the biggest geniuses in the world of music, art, architecture and literature. It used to have the most powerful monarchies in the world: the Habsburgs. It had the back luck of producing one frustrated monster and since then Austria has been quiet. These days associated more with amazing skiing and UN offices.
But let's go to Vienna - Wien - one of my favourite cities.
My favourite architectural style is actually the one that unites Wien with my own city: the Art Nouveau. Better know in our countries as Sezession. I have discovered the style for myself first when I was learning about the architecture of Łódź. Most of the city was build in the second half of the 19th century and at the beginning of the 20th when Art Nouveau was blooming. What fascinated me about it was that it doesn't only comprise of architecture, it relates to everything produced as art: ornaments, paintings, jewellery, furniture, textiles etc.
I think very often when we travel we tend to see first the things that we recognise, things that we feel are close to us. So when I visited Vienna that was exactly what I saw. Das Opernhaus, Karlskirche, Ringstrasse, Heldenplatz etc. They were all reminders of my own culture just ten times more monumental.