It’s not the palace gardens or the marble stallions. It’s not the wrought-iron railings or the winding cobbled roads. It’s not the splendid sparkling fountains, the touch of Habsburg charm. Not even Stephan’s mighty spire, glazed in Gothic hues.
It’s the last station on the city line, rows of wooden houses, a trail that winds beneath broken stone arches and into the smallest of alps. It’s the vineyards we raced through, alone and alive, the jealous sun smarting our shoulders; the view over all of the ancient and modern that we had ascended from. It’s the wooden shed selling the season’s first wine to wanderers who stumble upon it. It’s the low canvas chairs in between parched vines where we lay and sipped dark cabernet.
It’s the deep inhalation, seduction of comfort, the decadent wilderness.