This article was written half a year ago, in July 2018, as I was launching the new website and it was centered on the question: is my Instagram meaningful? One warm February afternoon last week while exploring a Viennese neighborhood, I re-thought the idea of the #dailydreamtravel. I want our posts to be as informative and useful as possible and thus I will present you under this hashtag several authentic neighborhoods walks in Vienna that you can do by yourself. While I wholeheartedly stand by every word I originally wrote, a later edit and re-evaluation gave birth to this new project. Read below for details! TIP – the last section is an actual itinerary for a neighborhood walk, but I would be grateful for your feedback on the content of the entire article!
I started Dream, Book, and Travel out of the desire for something really meaningful in my professional life that would integrate into and enrich our personal life as well. One of the main purposes of my endeavor was to feel alive and connected to the world every day, not only at weekends and during the 25 days of the yearly holiday. There was a hiatus between my job and my life, a battle between the two for my energy and focus, which in the long run made me extremely tired, unhappy, and uncreative in both settings. I am sure anybody who works for a corporation, in a lab, hell! anybody who has a 9-5 job knows what I am talking about. This is one side of the coin.
On the other side, there is this thing I really hate about the way people regard their holidays, especially the summer vacation. It is as if all unfulfilled hopes and dreams, their repressed selves, cutest outfits, the majority of their yearly income, best/worse personalities (depending), surface during the ten days of holiday. Somehow a week in summer and a dream destination are supposed to heal everything that is wrong in their life and load them with energy for the next 51 weeks. It is in this respect that I want Dream, Book, and Travel to be different.
I want to offer customized itineraries that are part of one’s personal story, not a break from it; holidays that would contribute directly to one’s organic growth and development, not just fuel it. To this end, I try to integrate useful information about the destination in the itinerary (culture/history/socio-economic realities), recommend books, add some local charm and authentic neighborhoods, mainstream sightseeing expeditions, and pair everything with delicious food, wine, and friendly people. Everything in the hope that the destination will not seem completely separated from one’s daily environment, but rather an opportunity to go beyond the comfort zone and enrich oneself.
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To be honest throughout, I am not sure I would have put pen to paper to write these things down, were it not for the Instagram question that has been bugging me all week. And it goes as follows. As bloggers, we are told to post content regularly (read daily) in order to keep the audience engaged. I agree; it is part of the job description. Now I would love to be able to offer you a new destination/itinerary/book review every day, but I cannot. Each article I write requires a lot of time beyond the actual travel/photo editing/documentation. I try to be as thorough as possible, I want it to be useful and packed with information. So in between articles, I share pieces written by bloggers I like, tips from our collaborators, relevant events, or anything else I find useful/entertaining. This on my Facebook page.
But what should I then post to Instagram? I agree a picture is worth a thousand words, but when I cannot attach the link to the words with the picture, how meaningful is it? And beware, meaningful is why Dream, Book, and Travel exists! I will not falter from this. Therefore, after having posted a run-through of our best moments to give followers an idea of what we are all about, I was left wondering. Should I now start going through our thousands of photos, find the best ones, edit them further, and keep posting them on a daily basis? A dream destination a day, for the likes and the followers, with no connection to our quotidian life and who we are, except for the half hour I actually wasted photoshopping that picture?
And then I came across this article (in Romanian) from Cristina Otel. Basically, #365snapshotsoflife is a collection of daily meaningful moments, which at the end of the year can constitute a beautiful memento and overview of what was really worth photographing in one’s life, day by day. So I remembered the rather cliché but oh, so true, saying that it’s not the destination, it’s the journey that matters.
I gave it a little more thought and realized how much Dream, Book, and Travel is integrated with our routine. I get ideas for future articles during our everyday walks in Vienna, during dinner at a new restaurant, during our weekend outings, from my readings. I constantly take photos so I can remember those ideas and later on turn them into well-researched, useful blog articles. But in doing so, am I not actually being a hypocrite, further fueling the gap between ordinary life and extraordinarily planned vacation? Why not give you a glimpse of the inner workings of Dream, Book, and Travel? Why not share our work in progress as well? In the end, we travel somewhere every day. Be it by planning a holiday, reading a book, watching a movie, going for a walk in a new neighborhood, or cooking a different recipe.
It’s not the destination, it’s the journey that matters. I am going to take that one step further and say there are no dream destinations, and thus launch #dailydreamtravel. Under this hashtag, I will publish the one photo that best illustrates the fact that we travel somewhere every day, and that this travel can be as meaningful as the best vacation. My day-by-day photos might not be photoshopped, the sky might not always be blue, I might not always wear my best outfit. But they will illustrate as truthfully as possible the soul of Dream, Book, and Travel and how we approach destinations in order to make them a part of your personal story.
The first photo of the series (cover photo) is from a wedding we attended a week ago at the Albertina. Yes, it has me wearing a black dress on a black background, but our 8 months old was too tired and grumpy for us to go behind the handrail and take a better shot with the Vienna State Opera. And this does not matter so much, as the take-home message is the following: it might be the peak of summer, but if you plan on attending an opera performance in Vienna in fall, you better book your tickets now or contact us to do it for you!
Six months later – authentic neighborhood walks in Vienna
As I looked over my Instagram feed from the past six months, I realized that a significant part of the #dailydreamtravel were our expeditions in Vienna discovering new street art, restaurants, or simply enjoying the city in each season. We love to take long walks and thus most such outings are usually half day itineraries with one or two stops for refreshments. So why not share with you the whole story and make the post even more informative and useful, I thought.
Thus, spread over the next few months, I am going to post several such walking itineraries in authentic Viennese neighborhoods, all reachable by foot from the city center. Each adventure will take about half a day of your time and will give you the opportunity to understand Vienna from a local’s perspective. Be sure to follow us on Instagram and like our Facebook page in order to be the first to read them!
To reward you for reading to the end here’s the first #dailydreamtravel authentic neighborhood walk in Vienna!
It starts from the Stadtpark right on the Ringstrasse, passing by the Museum of Applied Arts, and takes you through the former medieval tanner’s quarter in the city’s third district. It includes a stop at Café Zartl – famous with the Viennese literati – and the Walking Chair Art Gallery across the street, before reaching the Hundertwasser house. The playful colorful facade of irregular shapes and lush vegetation of this architectural wonder is one of Austria’s most photographed landmarks. Make sure to stop by the ground floor café where you can watch for free a movie in which the architect himself gives you a tour of the house! A permanent exhibition dedicated to Friedrich Hundertwasser can be seen in the nearby Kunst Haus, another one of his masterpieces.
As you continue walking on Loewengasse you will pass the Museum of Art Fakes before you come upon the beautifully serene sight of the tanner’s parish church of St Othman. Across the street is Paperbird Papetterie, a great authentic shop where aficionados can purchase unique souvenirs. As you walk on you will come to the Radetzkyplatz, a typical neighborhood square featuring a great place to watch people over coffee (Café Menta) and a traditional Austrian restaurant (Gasthaus Wild). Our personal recommendation is to walk back towards the Wien Mitte metro station, where you can have a fantastic meal at Joseph Brot before browsing the two-stories branch of the Thalia bookshop located inside the station (important note: this bookshop is open on Sundays!).
You are always welcome to contact us if you need more suggestions and ideas to personalize this itinerary. In the meantime, stay tuned on our social media channels where the next authentic neighborhood walks in Vienna are going to be published!