Greater than six months earlier than arriving in Vienna, Austria, I rented a small one-room condominium from a web based itemizing at Craigslist.org. The worth was simply 600 Euros (about $800 USD) for a 3 week rental. In accordance with the itemizing, the condominium was positioned in an space of town simply throughout the road from town’s well-known Wurstelprater amusement park, usually merely known as “Prater”. The lady I rented the place from stated I may pay her in money upon arrival there and with this unusual under-the-table money association made so many months prematurely, I crossed my fingers and prayed that the place truly existed.
After taking a 10-hour night time practice throughout the size of Austria, I exited the “Zug” within the early morning hours. I had organized to fulfill the feminine condominium proprietor at 9 AM, so with lower than two hours to make my approach throughout 5 miles of a busy, unknown metropolis, I loaded up my bike and took off in a flash.
Utilizing my GPS no navigate, I shot by way of the streets Vienna like a professional. In a slender facet road I met a well-dressed, center aged man and confirmed him the tackle of my condominium constructing, asking if he knew one of the best ways to get there.
“Simply observe me,” the person stated. “I’ll direct you thru the middle.”
The Austrian man had been dwelling in Vienna for practically his whole life. He was an architect and he stated he rode his bike to work each day. Following him by way of a fancy community of motorbike paths and facet streets, he pointed me off in the precise course, wished me a beautiful keep within the metropolis, and cycled off in the wrong way.
Again alone once more, I discovered myself within the middle of downtown Vienna (or Wein because the Austrians name it). Driving over bumpy cobblestone roads and previous magnificent white buildings and tall darkish church buildings, I made a psychological observe of the locations I needed to go to throughout my keep within the metropolis.
Simply as I started to get snug making my approach by way of the winding streets of Vienna, I noticed the Ferris wheel that signaled my condominium was close to.
With ten minutes to spare, I cycled by way of the Prater district and recognized the constructing the place my condominium was positioned. After ready on a close-by bench to kill a while, I returned to the condominium constructing and rang the bell. A couple of seconds later, a tall lady with fuzzy reddish-brown hair opened the entrance door of the condominium constructing and requested, “Are you Darren?”
I informed her I used to be and he or she welcomed me inside.
“Convey your bike,” the lady informed me. “It’s not protected to depart it out right here.”
That positively wasn’t what I wished to listen to. I may inform the constructing was removed from new, however listening to that the realm was unsafe as properly made me a bit nervous.
My major concern at this level was that the condominium didn’t exist in any respect. The lady knew I used to be carrying at the very least 600 Euros and I feared that I’d be led contained in the constructing, attacked by quite a few people and robbed of every little thing I had. However that by no means happend.
Following the lady’s orders, I introduced my bike inside and located myself standing inside a tall, darkish hallway. Forward of me had been two massive doorways that led to an out of doors courtyard. To my proper had been a row of bicycles parked alongside the wall. And to my left had been a sequence of small trash cans and telephone books that has been stacked up on the ground.
Strolling out by way of the second set of double-doors, we entered a big outside coutyard. It was darkish and chilly… and deathly quiet. Earlier than strolling up a small set of stairs and into one other set of doorways, I made observe of the truth that among the home windows on the primary flooring had bars over them. This place was getting scarier by the second.
Now contained in the second-half of the constructing, we walked throughout damaged tile flooring, over a sequence of small carpets that appeared as if they could be 100 years outdated, and made our strategy to the precise, to the very first door on the right-hand facet, the place I used to be walked into the condominium that may be my residence for the following three weeks.
I discovered it odd that there was a consuming fountain within the hallway of the condominium constructing. After seeing the within of my condominium, nonetheless, it was straightforward to inform that this constructing was not initially designed as an condominium advanced. My guess is that this constructing was a faculty or a hospital or some type of industrial workplace constructing.
If you happen to acknowledge this constructing and you realize what it was used for, please get it contact with me and let me know. I’d be extraordinarily interested by discovering out the historical past of this specific Austrian construction.
Contained in the condominium, we walked instantly into the kitchen. However this wasn’t an bizarre kitchen. This was the strangest kitchen I had ever seen! On the precise facet of the room was a small sink, a stove-top with two burners and a cupboard crammed with pots, pans, and varied utensils. Straight behind the kitchen sink was the bathe, not more than two ft away. And on the opposite facet of the room was a bookshelf, one other small sink and a mirror. To the left of the bookshelf was a big white door, that exposed a small closet sort room containing a rest room and nothing extra. It was a kitchen and a toilet all rolled into one!
Strolling by way of the kitchen/toilet, we entered the principle bed room/lounge space. On the precise facet of the room was a small dresser on prime of which sat a tiny TV and varied electrical units. Behind the TV was a small desk with two chairs. That is the place I’d sit more often than not within the condominium whereas doing my work and updating this web site.
There have been two home windows that appeared out of the condominium and into the courtyard under. One window had bars over it… and that fearful me just a bit.
On the opposite facet of the room was a sofa and a small espresso desk. I usually occasions sat right here and watched TV whereas consuming bread with cheese and vegetable soup.
And to the left of the sofa was a big mattress with an orange headboard and a blue quilted bedspread. A contemporary radio sat on a bookshelf instantly over the top of the mattress. I’m not a giant radio particular person, however I used this radio loads whereas staying in Vienna. I keep in mind that the radio station I used to be listening to performed ABBA and Michael Jackson time and again advert over once more.
Lastly, to the left of the door that led again into the kitchen/toilet was a small closet, which is the place I finally saved my garments and the remainder of my journey gear throughout my keep within the metropolis.
My condominium within the Prater district of Vienna, Austria was not the nicest place I’ve ever stayed in my life, however after a pair weeks within the metropolis it did start to really feel like residence. There was a grocery store only a couple blocks away and strolling to get meals turned a day by day a part of my life within the metropolis. A number of strip golf equipment had been additionally within the space, and whereas I by no means visited these institutions, it began to change into regular for me to see their lights casting a neon glow onto the streets at night time.
After three weeks within the metropolis, I actually started to take pleasure in myself within the metropolis’s Prater district. It was only a brief bike experience to the Danube river, a short 30-minute stroll into downtown Vienna, and the Prater amusement park was proper throughout the road.
My condominium in Vienna, Austria took some getting used to and it turned out to be a protected and dependable residence for my three weeks within the metropolis. If I had been to return to Vienna in the present day, I’d fortunately lease the identical condominium, stroll the identical streets and really feel extra snug than ever in my second German talking residence.