The last morning we all woke up and lazily got things started. Our original plan was to be out the door by 11am but well, that didn't happen. The daughter ended up coming home right before we were going to leave and offered to come with us to the Naschmarkt, our plan for the day.
The Naschmarkt is an outdoor market where they sell produce, fish, meat, and a variety of other food stuffs. As we wandered the stalls I oozed at how wonderful it would be to be able to buy things and cook in Vienna:
The pure variety of fruits and vegetables they have in Austria is astounding. Just comparing this to Finland it is amazing the difference between one country and another.
Admittedly the prices weren't the greatest, but they also weren't bad. They even had better variety than what I've seen in the UK (though they were more expensive).
They had a variety of better homemade goods too - things like completely vegan breads, homemade cheeses, hummuses, cheese stuffed olives and peppers (my complete weakness), pastas...the variety of easy delicious foods was endless.
And all the while all the vendors (since it was a lonely Tuesday morning/midday) were yelling at us to try their foods, come closer, hello hello (usually in different Asian languages since well...Hong Kong P and I were clearly being stereotyped). Very aggressive these people. German K was so shy that she said she would never respond to any seller that was that pushy towards her.
Everything looked wonderful though. If I'd had more time I would have bought hummus and some of the cheese stuffed peppers (my absolute favorite). When I was backpacking with Rhinda's fiance we used to buy these from every city we were in. A treat for being away from home. That and doner kebab. You can always find that in Germany/Austria because of their large Turkish population. So tasty. And horrible for you/suspicious.
Eventually we did stop at a stall and the daughter bought us each an energiekugel (energy ball). No one had heard of them but they were apparently made with coconut and lots of various spices, so curiosity was peaked. It was lovely - like a spiced dough ball that was chewy.
I realized as we roamed the more cafe/restaurant section of the Naschmarkt that I'd actually been here before, I just didn't know the name (or maybe someone had told me but I'd just forgotten). During my last time there after I'd had my first freak out, a Canadian guy I'd come into town with from Salzburg offered to meet up with me again because I was so scared. We spent the day together at this market and shared a meal, eventually ending the night by seeing an outdoor informal opera in Austrian German that neither of us could understand. It wasn't a particularly good day but more a patch to distract me from the fact that I was scared and felt alone. I thank the kindness of strangers despite that fact that we did not stay in touch and in the end, he did not care.
After the Naschmarkt it was a trip back to the apartment to pick up our luggage and then whisking ourselves to the airport. German K and Hong Kong P's flight was two hours before mine, so we shared a meal together then I walked them to their gate, seeing them off. We would be seeing each other again in another month so it was luckily not a sad goodbye. I love knowing that I will see them again soon - always make future plans with the people you love so goodbyes are never difficult.
I spent the two hours thinking over everything I'd learned in the two years since I'd last been to Vienna, and feeling grateful that life had turned out so well despite everything. I'm happy to say I now associate Vienna with wonderful things instead of the negative things I used to. I know I made the right decision in coming back, despite initial hesitations. I will slowly rewrite all of the negative associations in my life with positive ones. One thing at a time.
Feeling positive and good about life. Thanks to good friends.