The fact that I’m taking refugee at posting about my last summer shows quite clearly how
unhappy I have been lately devoted I am to document life chronologically. So let’s recall, from a whole year’s distance, how I spent the glorious July of 2015.
After I quit my job at the cardiology and spent a month at home in Budapest, I finally figured out that the form of nursing that suits me best is travel nursing. I joined an agency and took on my first assignment in the farthest Austrian town possible, Bregenz. And so did the summer, that turned out to be my best summer since years if not decades, begin.
I did my best to explore the city…
…and promptly found Europe’s narrowest house.
I also met the prettiest inhabitant of the city…
… and was constantly reminded of deep truths.
I took cable cars to the top of mountains,
…explored new cities…
…and went to the zoo.
I crossed the German border…
… and almost swam over to Switzerland (too bad I’m
too old not cool enough for daytime nude swimming in public, haha) (note to self: put on your swimsuit even if you’re only out for groceries. You can never know how your day turns out. Better be prepared).
To make up for missing the Swiss waters, I made a habit of swimming in Lake Constance…
…and made sure to visit Switzerland on an other occasion. Without getting my feet wet, this time.
I went to Liechtenstein…
…where I met the long gone…
… and the dead.
I also got to admire tiny stone carvings inspired by Russian folk tales.
I visited an (even for me) unusual amount of museums…
…to see contemporary art…
…and stunning Alemannic fashion,
…to learn about the beginning of hormone substitution therapy,
…to practice my 17th century Yiddish (haha),
…and to play with funny clockwork toys.
So, yeah. I have nothing to complain about. July 2015 just turned out to be really, really great.
Esterházy Péter, 1950.04.14 – 2016.07.14
coworker: – Phew, it’s hot today! Are you gonna jump into your pool after work?
me: – Such a nice idea! Unfortunately I don’t have a pool, but good for you!
(five minutes later):
coworker: – Oh, it’s soooo hot today! You too should jump into your pool at home!
me: – Well, I actually do not have a pool at home.
(an hour later):
coworker: – I can’t bear with this heat anymore! I can’t wait to jump into the pool after work. You should totally do the same!
me: – I am a white trash immigrant. I grew up in poverty in Eastern Europe. I am now living in
the house of horror the deepest hole of Austro-Balkan hell a service apartment of exactly 20 quadratmetres. I do NOT have a pool.
(at the end of our shift):
coworker: – And now we can finally go home and jump into the pool! Aren’t you happy to have a pool on a day like this? Go and jump into it as soon as you’re at home!
me: – Yeah. That’s exactly what I’m gonna do.
(I spent my whole life, which is longer than I’d care to admit, in the belief that in order to take part in a conversation, it is necessary to listen to the others. Turns out I was completely wrong.)
Just to keep record of some of the things that otherwise would be forgotten would I hold onto chronology too strictly; things that made my life better even if only for one short moment.
One of those things was eating cherries…
…especially twin cherries:
My bike, Priscilla. I bought her from a Portuguese girl who has since moved back home; and decided to keep the name she gave it (I am the queen of second
third fourth tenth hand bikes):
That my bike has “happy” written on it…
…and that she is not the only happy bike out there:
Things I find in my bed after Milo naps in it (a half meter long plastic toy tram, a ladle, and the naked leg of a Barbie doll, just to name a few):
My new pink Adidas ballerinas (the only piece of pink clothing I’ve ever owned, I’m fairly sure). I got them at the mall called Mercury Centrum in České Budějovice:
This mosaic. It reminds me of Wien:
Cats on walls…
…and in my work email:
Deer on my new hoodie:
The new Mma Ramotswe book:
All the three and a half days of summer we’ve got this year (so far)…
…which I used for going on bike rides…
…and taking cable cars:
This cheese I found at Merkur. It is so good (and it reminds me of last summer):
That, after 5 months on raw food (and junk food), I can now finally cook again:
That my room smells like elderflower:
Móricka’s new manifesto: When I grow up, I will be Ada and I will take the train to places very very far and I will buy all the presents. (I feel like I’m turning into the
American Auntie Rich Relative From The Other Side Of The Iron Curtain, a phenomenon I so badly envied from the neighbourhood kids while growing up in Socialist Hungary):
Those 30.863 voters who turned over the elections (Obviously, I am not allowed to vote in Austria. But I still have my opinions about my pampered, twenty-years old coworkers with their houses and swimming pools, who all voted right radical because of “young blood” and “dahoam”):
That I’m moving out of this house (the neighbours! Give me a lonesome island!)…
…because I’m finally, finally leaving Linz. Not a day too early. My time here had so much in common with my last few Dutch months. The city that I failed to click with. The social isolation. The terrible weather (it was snowing yesterday! On the 18th of June!). The frustrating living conditions (the neighbours! Did I mention my neighbours!). The feeling that I’m stuck and that it’s not my fault. The general unhappiness this unfortunate combination brought on me. Truly, it were some miserable eight months. But it’s almost over now!
Of all places of the world, Liechtenstein is the one I never gave any thought before my surprisingly adventurous last summer. People like me* usually have nothing to do with the tax paradise of Europe, and there is a reason for it, haha.**
* people coming from Eastern-European countries and living on nurses’ salaries
** there was that awkward moment, when I got confronted with the price of one single scoop of Liechtensteinian ice cream; it’s the equivalent of 4 euros in CHF. It made me immediately realise that despite having come a long way since my Socialist childhood, I’m still very, very far from blending in
Anyway. If you all of a sudden, under whatever circumstances, find yourself in Vaduz,
as it happened to me simply by becoming a travel nurse, you really should take the time to visit the last remaining wooden bridge over the river Alpenrhein.
You may take the bus there, because public traffic in Liechtenstein is excellent…
…except when it’s not. Because it’s early in the morning. Or late in the afternoon. Or it is Saturday. Or Sunday. Or any other holiday.
Fortunately, everything is in walking distance in Vaduz, so if you are too impatient to wait a whole hour for the next bus, just take the road and walk along some poetic scenario…
…and a colourful industrial area…
…until you reach the Alpenrhein…
…and your destination, the Alte Rheinbrücke.
It is 135 meter long…
…and is made completely of wood.
The original bridge was built in 1871. During the following 140 years it needed to be adjusted to the actual water capacity of the river several times.
The last renovation took place in 2010. There is a small memorial plaque hanging inside of the bridge to one of construction workers, the carpenter Andreas Maier-Toth, who recently passed away. Similar to the half of this planet’s population, he too had Hungarian roots.
Now walk over the bridge together with other
creepy shadows fellow tourists.
Once safely arrived in Switzerland…
…consider your possibilities.
You can either look over to Vaduz castle (remember, it’s full of living princes waiting for you to marry
all of them)…
…or admire the Swiss flora…
Or you can just take a lazy bike ride along the river.
This is also the place where, after a long, exhausting but fruitful career as a Swiss investment banker, you can finally retire and live for your hobbies.