I can hardly believe that it’s been a year since I was eagerly awaiting spring’s arrival in Vienna. I don’t think I ever appreciated spring until enduring three European winters. Growing up in California definitely never prepared me for the long, cold, gray winters that the Viennese endure. Nor did going to college in Southern California. However, what you get in Vienna that you don’t get in California is a spectacular spring. One day you are surrounded by barren trees and the next you are awash in pastels. It’s hard to describe the collective excitement you feel with the citizens of Vienna as the gray skies are reclaimed by the sun. It’s like the whole city emerges from hibernation; Suddenly, you start seeing people everywhere. Outdoor cafes that were closed for winter reopen, taking over narrow, cobblestone streets, and park benches which had been unoccupied for months turn into prime-time real estate. What the Viennese taught me that Californian’s never could (simply because we’re spoiled and take good weather for granted) is how to appreciate and enjoy the sun.
I lived in Vienna’s 9th district (Alsergrund) for two years, just around the corner from the Votivkirche, one of the landmark churches in the city, and Schottentor, the U2 metro station on the Ringstrasse, Vienna’s most famous street. In spring, the cherry blossom trees that line the the streets and park in front of the church are jaw-dropping. In the Votivpark (Votive Park), fifty shades of gray are replaced by blue skies, fluffy white clouds, brilliant green grass, and pink blossoms, making this a very popular hangout spot for Uni Wien (University of Vienna) students on break in-between classes. If you’re lucky enough to be in Vienna at the start of spring, this is a place you don’t want to miss.