The Scamp Goes on an Adventure Day 2

I’m finding it difficult to find the time to write out all of the amazing things that I got to see in Vienna. Most of my energy went into applying for my own job and being sad about having stepped on a scale and seen how much I actually weigh.

But back to the important things: sightseeing in Vienna. Day 2 was just as great as day 1. I started the day in a library. The State Hall of the Austrian National Library was stunning.

The State Hall – built in the 18th century as part of the former Court Library – is a breathtaking 80 metres long and 20 metres high. An intricately decorated dome and numerous frescos provide an imperial flair. This baroque jewel is home to over 200,000 tomes. Four magnificent Venetian globes, each with a diameter of over one metre, provide the finishing touch to the heart of the Austrian National Library.

The photos that I took do not do the library justice but suffice to say, I was a very happy Kim.

My next stop was Kunsthistorisches Museum Vienna. This museum is known for housing the Habsburg art and antiques. There was a lot of gold plated and bejewelled everything. The museum had artefacts from ancient Greece, from Egypt and a picture gallery full of amazing art. I spent a good three hours here wandering around. The only bummer was there were not a lot of English translations, so there were some things that I couldn’t follow along with, which was a bit of a bummer. I did a bit of googling though and that helped.

The last stop of the day was to the Vienna Naschmarkt. The smells of spices and sausage and fresh fruit and veg just seep into your pores when you enter the market. I did a lot of browsing, but did not buy anything.

In addition to the market, I was also on the hunt for the Ampelpärchen, or diversity themed traffic lights inspired by Eurovision. They were so fun to spot, but difficult to photograph. I ended the day getting sausage in a giant bread roll from one of the street vendors and enjoying the view in the popular historic square. I don’t usually eat meat when I am on vacation, but you can’t really go to Vienna and not eat a Vienna sausage. It was every bit as good as I hoped it would be.

The Scamp Goes on An Adventure

For the first time since 2018, I actually went on holiday that wasn’t California and wasn’t in the UK! I’ve been trying to get away since Nov 2021, but lockdowns and Covid mean having to be flexible. Instead of a Thanksgiving holiday, I snuck away to celebrate my last week of being 34.

I’ve been really struggling since 2018. The end of the PhD, the horrible viva and rewrites, and then the pandemic have really done a lot to corrode my already tenuous mental health. That coupled with isolation, no travel and a stressful work environment have left me pretty burnt out. I haven’t been writing for fun, haven’t been writing for work, and haven’t done a whole lot to help myself become an adult.

To sort myself out, I decided to head to Vienna for a week. I’ve never been to Austria, and there are a lot of great places to visit that are only an hour by train or bus….and I just needed out of the UK.

I booked a stay at the Student House Vienna. This is a hotel/student dorm. It was fantastic. The people were friendly, I couldn’t hear the people living above me or next to me, and it was right next to the metro, so it was easy to get to city centre.

The first thing I did was buy a week’s pass for the U-Bahn so that I did not have to walk if I did not want to. My first stop was the Museum of Modern Art. According to the museum’s website:

With its collections based on Pop Art and Photorealism, Fluxus and Nouveau Réalisme as well as Viennese Actionism, the mumok combines highlights of societal and reality-related art as well as performance art of the 20th century. The collection comprises around 9,000 works: paintings, sculptures, installations, drawings, graphics, photos, videos, films, architectural models and furniture.

The museum did not disappoint. Pop art is the type of art I enjoy the most, and the gallery had so many floors to wander about. I actually wandered the museum without a murder podcast playing in my ears and it was nice to have a bit of silence.

The next place that I went was the Natural History Museum. According to their website:

The Natural History Museum preserves, expands, researches and presents its extensive biological, geological, anthropological and archaeological collections in a building designed as a total work of art. It conveys the diversity of nature, the evolution of planet earth and life as well as the associated cultural development of humans and offers an inspiring meeting place where dialogue and exchange between science and society take place.

It is a stunning museum, the building is amazing and everything is presented so well. It is also like a maze. There are so many rooms and corridors that at one point, I was glad that I had a granola bar in my purse.

Naturhistorisches Museum
Dino pals
Mineral collection

There was something really nice about wandering the city, not being sat on my couch all day, and not emotionally eating because I am sad and feeling stuck. Even the GPS gods smiled on me and kept me right the entire time. Vienna is really easy to navigate and I have the directional sense of a bee in a paper bag, so being outside, walking, and not once getting lost made me really happy. I even navigated the metro like I knew what I was doing, and I love any time that I can feel a bit less like a tourist. I ended the day with my favourite thing: cake. There was a market in the metro station, so I was able to get nibbles and eat in the dorm at the end of the day. I was not 100% keen on eating out alone, so being able to get a salad and water and amazing bread. It was a great start to the vacation.

The Scamp and the Gratitude Challenge: Week 46

The weather is turning cold here in lovely lovely Edinburgh. It is currently 10C (50 F) and rainy. The sun is setting earlier, and the leaves are disappearing. It is the type of weather that makes me want to curl up under blankets, drink hot chocolate, and watch Disney movies. I’m not smart enough to figure out if the heating in my place actually works, and for the moment it makes focusing on my work a bit hard. I spent all last week pouting about the way my job is going, and unfortunately that has put me behind in my work for the PhD. I have a friend who made a schedule, worked diligently every day was able to stay on a strict timeline. I have the best intention to do that, and somehow I never quite make it. I have things to do, but all I can think about is the fact that I am not really making progress in my work beside reading literature. I have a conceptual paper that needs to be written, but I feel like what I have written so far is not good enough to meet the standards of the PhD. I have academic writing PTSD and I am not sure how to get past it. I’ve been trying to just write for ten minutes a day, but even most of that is just complete and utter pish. I need a drill instructor to yell at me whenever I stop working, or fail to open a word doc.

Something that has been helping me is technology, which happens to be the focus of the gratitude challenge this week. Thanks to technology, I am able to Skype with my friends and family in the States, and just those little bits of time with them make me laugh and feel better on an off day. Technology is allowing me to stay current with the wombmate’s pregnancy, and will allow me to be present at the birth if I cannot make it back to the States in time. I can send photos, emails, and see people face-to-face thanks to technology. It is one of the reasons that my move here was pretty easy. Instead of having to wait a week to send a letter through the post, or make a phone call once a month because it is expensive to call international, I can get an almost immediate response to text, email, or picture message. This week I went to the National Museum of Scotland and wandered through the exhibit on Victorian photographs. It was really interesting to see the way that photography was done in that era, and how it has changed over time.

While the technological advancement was interesting and the photographs on display were amazing, it was fun to get dressed up and go to the museum after hours to see the exhibit, and then stay for a Victorian themed party. The people watching was incredible, the music was interesting, and the drinks were tasty. It was a fantastic date with an even more fantastic man, and one of those fun, non-touristy things to do in Edinburgh.

Perhaps the best thing about technology to me right now is the fact that in less than a week my mom and brother will be getting on a plane to come see me. They will be here for American Thanksgiving, and it has been almost five months since we have been in the same timezone, and I cannot wait to see them. It is my brother’s first time in Scotland, and I cannot wait to show him all of my favorite places.