Have you ever seen a regular pentagram with the binary interior? That’s how I used to draw stars when I was a child. Of course, at that time, I did not know what a regular pentagram with the binary interior was (still not sure what it is exactly). Anyway, this is how this story is. It has 5 vertices, 5 layers, to be more precise. One is about being the best that we can be (or, at least, try to be) another is about the Austrian culture and their ability to be extremely efficient, the third one is about friends, the fourth is about sharing, and the fifth one is about my friend, Flo, who is currently living in Berlin.
Being the best that we can be! Wouldn’t that be the icing on the cake? Maybe I should start at the beginning. Sometimes I have the feeling that my thoughts have this habit of running faster that I could ever catch up.
Recently I had to go to Vienna… again. I say “again” because I’ve been to Vienna many times due to my job. This time also it was about business, only this time I had to make a movie on Vienna and on the Austrian culture. Let me just say that the Austrians did a better job than the Turkish (for those of you who are not my devoted fans just yet and, thus, not yet familiar with all the articles written by me, here you have my article on Istanbul). It is amazing how some people have the ability to be extremely efficient if they have the necessary information. The movie I had to make for my company, I made it with Zone Media, an Austrian company that offers services ranging from the design and production of videos and multimedia solutions, to sound recording facilities. They were very good. The camera man just grabbed his Canon 5D Mark III, hooped on his bike and off he went to the locations which we had previously established. I didn’t really have much work to do this time. Apparently, for some people, a detailed, thorough brief is enough.
Less work meant a little more time for visiting, going out with old friends and new friends.
Our new friend (mine and Petru’s) is Lukas. A dark haired, brown eyed, 29 year old Austrian architect who is a little crazy, a lot of fun, has great ideas, good booze, interesting apartment and just enough hope left in him to just maybe make a difference… for whatever it is that he wants to make a difference. We met him when he came to Bucharest about 2 years ago and we hit it off. So when I found out we had to come to Vienna, I thought it would be great if we could get together… and it was. Knowing him made our Viennese experience so much more authentic. First, he took us to his hostel, POP_INN 111. It’s a very interesting project that I hope will work out. Not just because he’s such a nice guy, but because I think that we need more good ideas like his to get the attention they need, I think we need (or maybe it’s just me) to have people like him not give up on their ideas just because society shoves it’s fist up their asses. We need it! I need it! We didn’t stay at his hostel (although, had it been my choice, we would have) just because my company already paid for my accommodation. We stayed at Felming’s Deluxe Hotel. Good services, good location, but it is too expensive.
Lukas also cooked for us. Have you ever had dinner with 4 Austrians (out of which at least 3 of them are architects), one Norwegian girl, 4 handsome Spanish guys and one Romanian boyfriend? I did. It was no “Last supper”, I tell you that much, although my stomach had felt it as such. It was more like the “First (and probably only) supper” of this sort. Baked potatoes, coleslaw and pork. It hurts my stomach only to think about it, but it was worth it because of the good vibe. I had the feeling that although we come from different countries, and we have different backgrounds; we are not that different, after all. Aren’t we all just trying to live our lives in the best possible way we can? Some of us even try to make the lives of others a little better. Don’t we all want to communicate and feel the need to relate to one another? For what is worth, I think so. Yeah… the dinner was great, but what I liked even more was the fact that, although we only met once, Lukas was so open. He invited us to his home, a spacious apartment with a “raw” atmosphere that once belonged to an 80 year-old man who used to work at a typing company (he used to fix those big typing machines that were used for printing newspapers) and who killed himself… because he was lonely. It’s hard to describe the style of the apartment, or maybe it’s easy and it’s hard just for me. Anyway, the apartment is like Lukas: a good home, raw, interesting in the sense that here and there you can find some objects that have little stories attached to them (I love that: objects that are not just objects, objects that tell a story). All in all, the home of a man who throughout his college years only learned only one thing, the most important thing an education can offer you, that you can learn anything if you want to.
We indulged ourselves in some of the more unorthodox pleasures of life, out of which I will only mention some sort of beer cognac he had for some time and never tried it, and we stayed up late talking about hope, about IKEA, about global warming, about people who lost everything because they fought for something they believed in, we talked about love and letting go.
Lukas also took us to a really cool bar where he usually goes. It’s called Schikaneder (don’t try to find out what it means. It doesn’t mean anything). But this is more than just a bar, it’s a place of communication, projection, audition, vision, art and presentation… and it’s next to a cinema. Actually, it’s part of a cinema. Lukas told us that he was once asked to work his architect magic on that place but he preferred not to because it was just right. I agree. I don’t think that place needs any work done on it. It’s perfect just the way it is. When he took us there, I had a coffee and walked around a little just to check out the place and Luk and Petru had a beer, each. We talked about old loves, about reinventing yourself after a long relationship, about broken hearts, about letting go…
But, like I mentioned, Vienna was also about old friends. It was also about Cezara, a dear old friend (I think I’ve known her for about 8 years, but haven’t seen her for 5 years) who has always reminded me of my older sister. She has the same big brown eyes, wide enough to take in the whole world and the same tulip-shaped nose. Cezara is in Vienna for one year with research work after having finished her Ph.D. in Paris. I rediscovered her to be the same passionate woman I knew back when I was in 2nd year at Journalism and in love with one of her colleagues. It was good to see her.
And, finally, Vienna was about having dinner with Bianca and Ninu, two of my dearest friends. It was a happy coincidence that they planned their city break in Vienna just in the same weekend me and Petru stayed there. Like anyone who goes to Vienna for the first time, they went visiting: Schonbrunn, the zoo, the Hundertwasser house, the Hofburg, but they also went to a party (this is more Ninu’s influence). It was good to get together in the evening and have dinner and a good laugh and it was good to see them so happy together, especially Biencutza, I must admit.
We also did some touristic stuff, not much, but enough. We went to an interesting exhibition at mumok, Reflecting fashion, (if you are in Vienna you should really check it out, it will be on display until January 2013), and we waited for 10 minutes outside Figlmueller to have the best and biggest schnitzel I had ever eaten and seen.
I said in the beginning that this story is also about Flo. Flo is a dear friend of ours who recently moved to Berlin. The whole time I was in Vienna I thought of him, of how he now lives in a multicultural city where 500 000 residents regularly get on a bike and 13% of all trips are done on pedal power, in a city that has cheap rents and generous subsidies, in a city that attracts artists from all over the world. I thought about him and if he was happy and I still think about that , but then I am reminded that he lives in Berlin with good friends and all worries vanish only to make room for that feeling you have when you know one of your friends is no longer a bike ride away…