An insight into the mind of Vienna Spotter, Julia Heiligenbrunner! We met Julia both in Vienna and in Amsterdam during the Spotters weekend last November (where she overloaded us with cool Vienna souvenirs!).
Julia was born and raised in one of Austria’s provinces. For as long as she can remember she was always writing things down. At around the age of 14, she’s not quite sure, she evolved from writing in her journal to really writing. As of yet, she hasn’t been published, but she credits Spotted by Locals as an excellent stepping stone to committing her thoughts to paper.
Can you tell us a little more about yourself?
Developing my ‘traveling soul’ took some time. However, now I can’t imagine my life without being on the road every now and then, to gain different perspectives on life as I see it. As Nietzsche said: “Only after having left town you see how high its towers rise above the houses.” :-)
How do you like being a Spotter?
Like? That’s an understatement, I love being a Spotter! Not only did it help me overcome the huge cultural shock I suffered from, after coming back from traveling and living in Southeast Asia for 1.5 years. But being a Spotter also changed my view on this city. Every since I became a writer for Spotted by Locals I am more aware of my surroundings when wandering the streets of Vienna. Trying to think, “What would a newbie be fascinated by?” helps a lot to, not only see the old cultural heritage beauty of Vienna, but also to spot great new places.
Why Vienna? What is a must & what isn’t, when visiting Vienna?
As mentioned before, Vienna combines old traditions (architecture, art, etc.) with modernity very well. Furthermore the public transport system here is one of the very best in the world. Also, it is a very green city, more than 45%, with excellent air and weather conditions. This fact can be tested during summer, when event after event is going on outdoors, and my favorite thing about it: many of them are free of charge!
Which prejudices about Vienna are true, and which aren’t?
I highly disagree with the square, old-fashioned image Vienna has in many people’s head. Quite contrary to that idea, history and modernity shake hands in this long standing world capital of music, and they shake it cordially. Which means, Vienna has a good deal more to offer concerning contemporary music, art and culture than you and me can think of.
Can you share something you know about Vienna, that no tourist would know?
If you haven’t heard about Friedensreich Hundertwasser yet, you should definitely check his art out! Or did you know that in 1983 he designed a new flag for New Zealand?
Also, the new street ‘to be in’ in Vienna is Neustiftgasse, the street that marks the border between 7th and 8th district. It seems that every other week a new, even cooler than the previous one, restaurant or bar opens up here. So you can just walk along this lane and choose of the many new and hip places to rest your feet.
Can you describe a perfect day?
A good way to start a typical Austrian day: breakfast in one of the countless coffee houses that Vienna is know for. My favorite: Weltcafe, not the conventional Viennese type but very relaxed and moderately priced!
Since Vienna’s melancholic flair is often cited and Viennese residents are often said to be morbid, going underground (Untergrund) is the perfect way to spend your afternoon.