IN VIENNA ON THE TRAIL OF IDA PFEIFFER

Also the journey to Vienna is fantastical: I start to ask myself whether this adventure has started under an unlucky star.

The nocturnal train departs with a delay of 2 hours let prognosticate nothing good.

However, the good is always to be looked for and I am obliged to do so if I want to continue this adventure.

And I find the good in my travelling companion: Matteo from Bologna who is going to Vienna for a conference.

So, the long hours on the train become enjoyable: we talk about our lives, and also the first impact with Vienna is simpler. In fact, we help each other with the first practical tasks, like two old friends travelling together.

Iris too is an unknown person, but she hosts me in her house. For the first time in my life I used couchsurfing: I knew that five months in hotel would have been impossible for economic reasons, I used couchsurfing and I trusted Iris. And it was a good choice: Iris’ house is in a crucial position and her couch is very comfortable!

The reason why my trip starts from Vienna is to know the places of Ida Pfeiffer, who was Viennese and from Vienna departed for her first trip around the world, which I am doing.

Petra Unger, a teacher well informed about Ida’s story, accompanies me in the exploration of Vienna.

I meet her in the national library, she is a beautiful and dynamic woman, perfect touristic guide, explaining in the details the story of Vienna and of the monuments we encounter.

She talks me about Ida Pfeiffer, about how she was a forerunner of the feminism, a mother who worked to gain money, in a time where women generally did not work.

We arrive to the house where Idea is dead, which is exactly in front of that where Beethoven composed the ninth symphony.

Hymn to joy.

Nothing happens casually.

Our walking concludes in a narrow and picturesque street, entitled to Ida Pfeiffer, Petra explains me that it was not easy to give the name to this street and to others entitled to women.

Before taking leave, Petra instructs me about how to find Ida’s grave and she explains me that the monument was realised thanks to the collect of women right after the death of the explorer. It is singular, again, that women only contributed to the realisation of this work.

I get the cemetery at the sunset, not without some anxiety I come in, but thanks to the indications I was given I easily find Ida’s tomb.

When the distress of being in a cemetery during the sunset vanished, I look around myself and I see the tombs of Bayer and Czerny, and inevitably I think to the thousands of hours spent to study piano, a whole life, a life ago

Only now I realize that I am in a monumental cemetery, I overcome every obstacle, I don’t care anymore of the dark and I explore. Since I am in Vienna in a monumental cemetery, I want to greet the great people who are here.

I find Strauss, Brahms, Schubert.

In reverent silence I approach the mausoleum of Beethoven, I patiently wait that the girl who is making a selfie with the tomb goes away, and all I can say is just “thank you”.

And thanks to Ida too who is accompanying me in this journey.

Nothing happens casually.

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