The next day, I woke up really early because I wanted to take advantage of the few hours I had before heading back to Madrid. I woke Asma and we got ready. We headed out and had breakfast. Breakfast this time was Apfrelgolatsche. The pastry really tasted like apple. It was a great way to start my day.
Ride around Russell park
The next item on our itinerary was to ride the public bicycle through the park and around Vienna. It only costed 1 euro for up to 4 hours. As Asma and I were chatting and walking towards the bike station, we saw two Austrian cyclist yelling at two men who seemed to be foreigners. We didn’t know what happened but one of the foreigners started apologizing on behalf of his friend. The two parties later parted ways. We happened to be walking towards the direction of the foreigners. As we got closer, I noticed two things:
They were very drunk and were heading in our direction. I got a bit nervous……
“Please don’t let them talk to us, please don’t let them talk to us” I muttered under my breath. Alas they attempted to engage in a conversation. ” Hello ladies, Asalamalaykum” We continued walking, ignoring them. “We are Muslim like you” still ignoring. They started saying stuff in Arabic that I didn’t understand. We hastened our pace and they finally left us. “What were they saying?” I asked Asma. “They were asking if we knew when Ramadan was going to be” she replied laughing. I laughed out loud and shook my head.
I signed up into the bicycle system and we rode through the park. We saw other drunkards lying down, it seemed like there had been a party or football match the day before. I avoided them for fear of another confrontation.
Our ride through the park and Danube canal ending up being a pleasant one. We took several pictures with Asma’s professional camera. I felt like a model.
The Jewish neighborhood
We finally headed to District 6. The neighborhood looked nearly empty, I guess because it was a Sunday morning. I saw a Jewish kid with his religious attire ride a scooter down the road. I nearly stopped him to ask to take a picture. Asma quickly advised me against it. “The people here are reserved and might not feel comfortable talking to people outside their community let alone take pictures” she explained. I noticed police cars around several parts of the neighborhood. I found out that it was to protect the community from Anti-Semitic attacks.
Asma told me the history of the Jews in Austria, how they were affected during the Nazi regime, how some of their synagogues were destroyed and how their status was like today. We stopped by one of the synagogues that was left from destruction during the regime. A policeman happened to be residing by the gate. I started taking pictures of the holy site,
when a man suddenly came out quite angry. He spoke to the policeman in German that he didn’t want us taking pictures.
The policeman didn’t seem to mind but we had to respect the wish of the man. We left and discussed how odd his request was since there were no signs prohibiting pictures.
Ride up Kahlenberg
After our bike tour, I was a bit exhausted. We finally returned bikes and walked for a bit. While walking I noticed a store where marijuana plants were being grown. Asma explained that it was legal to grow Marijuana but illegal to sell it. We walked towards the Danube river and took more pictures then later headed for lunch in a food court. Rubia was to meet us there and Asma would go to work.
We got to the food court and I got Mongolian food. I really wanted to try an Austrian meal but most had pork in it and the only meal left was Schnitzel which I had earlier.
30 minutes later Rubia met up with us. We bid Asma goodbye. I finished my meal andnwe later headed to the Kahlenberg. I had only 2 hours left before it was time for me to go to the airport.
We caught the bus and we were on our way. While on the bus, Rubia and I shared stories about our life: love, career, and goals. It was a very deep conversation especially with someone I just knew in 24 hours. 40 minutes later, we had arrived our location. We walked up the hill, got an ice cream and admired the view. I was in a bit of a hurry. So we headed back immediately. The view was great but I wish I had more time to explore.
Once we got back from Kahlenberg, we went to perform prayers at the nearby masjid and then waited for Asma. Asma came right on time and then we bid Rubia goodbye. Asma and I rushed to her apartment to get my stuff and then we headed to the metro. 10 mins left before my train would arrive. I got my ticket and we waited for the arrival. Once it came, I hugged Asma tightly and thanked her for everything.
On the train, I continuously waved at Asma as she took a picture of my farewell.
My stay in Austria felt too short, but so much happened in just 48 hours. One thing’s for sure, despite the crazy moments, Austria is a beautiful and well organized country.I wish to come back in the near future iA.
Thanks Asma and friends for a lovely time