Laxenburg//autumn

No, Laxenburg isn’t how I misspell Luxembourg. It’s a place, close to Vienna with a castle, a park and a lake that I’ve been to a couple of times, but only in the summer, so I thought it must be wonderful in autumn. I was right, of course. Laxenburg is a great place for a walk on a sunny Saturday and a convenient day trip from Vienna. The bus ride takes only half an hour from the main station. In the park, you can rent a boat or just walk around with your legs. The castle itself is rather small and on an island that could be reached through a bridge or a very short “ferry” ride (it’s a platform on underwater rails). You could also take a guided tour around the castle if you like and although I haven’t done it, I can tell you that you don’t need to go in to have a good day. I recommend strolling around the park or sitting on a bench by the lake, looking at the people passing by with their tiny dogs.

The statues of Budapest

Budapest has a lot of statues. Perhaps its most famous monument is the group of shoes on the bank of the Danube, honouring the Jews who had to take off their shoes before they were shot and fell into the river. But there are many other, far less heartbreaking statues sprinkled around the city. Like this fat policeman, whose belly you should rub for good luck.

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Frankfurt (Oder)

I am in my boyfriend’s home town with him during a beautiful autumn weekend, with the leaves a shade of yellow and orange that I haven’t seen in Vienna yet, and the reason for me being there isn’t a happy one, but it’s important, and through my eyes he sees his city anew, he travels back in time with a fresh perspective, revisiting old memories which jump out at him from each street, each park bench and each bar, while I feel like an observer, like a messenger from his future, coming to take him away and to tell him that the road ahead awaits, full of adventure and pain and so much more. We are at the edge of Germany, we cross a bridge and we are in Poland with no border control, no one to look at our id and no one to stop us, we buy some beers, go look at a Wikipedia statue next to a sleeping homeless man and we cross the bridge back into Germany, me laughing about how this is the shortest time I’ve spend in a country and him telling me how he used to go out drinking, casually leaving the country for a few hours and I think what kind of an idyllic world is this, my parents would never have allowed me to pop in a different country like that, at that age, but then again, I didn’t have a different country half an hour away from my home, so we walk some more and talk about life and death and borders. And time. And what time can do to a place. And what a place can do to a person. And what a person can do with their time.

Tourists

Ah, tourists. Aren’t they the worse? They walk slowly, drive up the prices, gather in front of beautiful buildings like pigeons around a piece of bread. They form long lines and are somehow always confused about which direction they are going. You always wait patiently in line to take a picture of something and just when your turn is coming up a kid runs out and starts posing for a hundred photos. Then it forgets it’s being photographed and starts jumping around so that no one can take a picture without this kid on it for the next twenty minutes. The worst thing about being a tourist is other tourists.
But in the end you know you can’t blame them. Especially not when you are one of them.

For the Tuesday Photo Challenge.

Cannes

I went to Cannes for the sandy beaches, the palm trees and the croissants. And to feel like a movie star. I didn’t do much else other than lay on the beach until it got too hot, go into the sea to cool off and repeat the whole process until the sun went down. Then, my boyfriend and I would go back to our apartment and eat dinner on the balcony. Drink some wine. Talk about life.

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Palm trees

This week I said goodbye to one of the hottest summers in Europe by leaving the rainy, finally cool Vienna and going to Cannes, where the sun was relentless in the clear blue sky, the humidity was high and the sea water was my escape from turning into a raisin. And there were palm trees there. Palm trees are still so exotic to me. I was already a grown woman when I saw some in real life. Up until then I had only seen them in films or photographs of some far away places with glamorous sun tanned people. Now here I was, in one of those places, a place with palm trees. And I may have been more overheated and sweaty than glamorous and sun tanned, but hey, at least there were palm trees in the background.

One of my favourite cities

I’ve been to a lot of cities, so for this week’s City photo challenge from Dutch goes the Photo! I had a lot of pictures from which I could choose. And somehow I knew that I wanted to go with Edinburgh. It’s one of the cities I can definitely imagine living in and it’s a special one. With its gloomy weather and and fascinating history, it seems like a good fit. I don’t know when I’ll get the chance to go back and for how long, all I know is that sometimes, especially during this year’s hot summer, I check up on the Edinburgh weather and sigh, wishing I wasn’t melting in Continental Europe, but instead was sitting in a small dark pub, writing my book and looking at the soft rain in Scotland.