'Up tiddly up, down tiddly down...
This was a trip we had booked in early 2020 for December of that year, assuming that the Rona would have jogged on, and Austria would be letting people back in. I hadn’t bargained on jibbyjab passports and the push for digital ID. Needless to say, it’s taken this long to be able to take the trip, for which BA extended our voucher and the hotel just rolled us on each year. For that, I am grateful.
I don’t particularly like the going up and down, but when I’m up there, the being ‘on top of the world’ privilege kicks in. It’s the shitty stuff you have to go through to actually get there that’s the issue.
Our actual plane was changed three times. Three times MrH had to switch exit seat reservations - that we paid exorbitantly for - only to find we were at right at the back of the aircraft squeezed into non exit seats that are definitely not designed for 6”4’ frames.
I am however not a seasoned traveller.
I have no real desire to retire and travel the world. The whole airport experience is, as I’m sure you will agree, not exactly pleasurable. From the journey up the M3, the exorbitant prices, security, delays, and then the announcement ‘we can’t allow all the cabin bags on the flight’. It always annoys me that you can’t take more than 100ml through in little plastic bags, but you can buy aerosols, water, toothpaste etc airside.
I’m not generally one to get ‘stressed’. If I do, I have many tools in my box to reduce the escalating feelings, but I was really aware of the build up of wobbliness my body. That inner shaking from the minute I woke up in the airport hotel, after one of those nights of waking every two hours hoping it was time to get going. The worry about how many times I’d need a wee, and how much water I should drink, just added to the intensity of the whole experience.
I’m writing this as I’m above the clouds, having been squeezed in to a seat, hoping we don’t get a DVT!
Some people are destined to be seasoned travellers.
I’m really not one of those! Maybe if I’d had the chance when I was younger, I’d have enjoyed it more.
I did travel to Australia alone in 1995. Eons ago! Here I am nearly 30 years later, knowing that this could very well be my last flight. If I do decide to leave the country in the future, it may be on Eurostar, and there are so many amazing hotels and places to visit in the U.K.
Two days later……
Vienna didn’t disappoint, but it’s a lot smaller than we anticipated. Two whole days were plenty to walk our socks off and wander the markets. Our hotel was superb - Hotel Stephansplatz- the most central hotel in the city, right opposite the cathedral.
Eating out was easy, from street food, to high end - you must prebook at this time of year - and prices were the same as London. The city was certainly cleaner than London though. Less traffic, incredibly friendly people and lots of stunning places to window shop.
I’m sure if you’re an instagram follower of mine, you will have seen my montage of stories, including the lovely gift from St Nicholas outside our hotel room door on the 6th December. Apparently he visits that night and leaves gifts to children who leave their clean shoes outside. We found chocolate, monkey nuts and a satsuma in a little hessian bag hanging on our door handle.
Cultural visit to the Kiss
We couldn’t visit Vienna and not visit the Kiss by Gustav Klimt at the Belvedere Palace. It was a box tick walk through the snow to get there. Very Christmassy.
It was stunning, but SQUARE. I’d always thought it was rectangular!
A very poignant piece as the trip was for our anniversary - Twenty three years on the 16th December.
Who knew that when we booked this way back in Lockdown, that I would be creating large pieces of energy art for clients round the world three years later?
It’s interesting that my recent work is also lustrous with golden paint and 23k gold leaf. I had no idea I'd be visiting this famous piece, as I was creating a whole new golden collection in the studio! Alchemy is the search to discover how to change other metals - especially lead - into gold. I always remember an episode of Black Adder where Percy makes gold.... but it's 'The Green'!
For me, the meaning of alchemy is pure transformation. So, when you see a piece of work with gold leaf, it's truly magical! The energy of pure potentiality! Not The Green!
And .... Relax!
It's the day after the trip home. All is well. The flight home was actually worse than the journey over.
I had the only window seat on the plane that had NO window. It was like being in a space smaller than a phone box for over two hours. That compounds my decision to keep my feet firmly on the ground in future! No up tiddly ups for me any more!