Stalking Before Sunrise

On a last minute whim, I decided to extend my Moravian trip to Vienna, Austria. I wasn’t too keen on it but since I was already in Brno, I might as well travel a little bit further down. I didn’t have anything on my checklist, just some notes from my Lonely Planet guide. I was just sure I wanted to have coffee and to visit Schonbrunn. Until my friend said two words: Before Sunrise.

Fans have been doing this pilgrimage and have been taking note of how unrealistic it was following the exact route Jesse and Celine took. So what I did was just pin down all the locations I wanted to go to and see which ones were closest to my current location.

First stop was Cafe Sperl since I arrived late and the coffee house was a block away from where I was staying. Unfortunately, they were closing soon and all I had was a fitting obaachan coffee. (Trust me, they really had Grandma Coffee on the menu.)

On the next day, I went to the Vienna International Film Festival to watch Marriage Story and that gave me an early start. From Gartenbaukino, I took a tram to a building which used to be the hotel where Jose Rizal, our national hero, stayed. But a block from that is the Augartenbrucke and right below that bridge is where Jesse and Celine met the poet who made them a poem out of the word “milkshake.”

Then I waited for a vintage tram that took me to the route passing by the Votivekirche. I rode at the back seat too and took a video but my fat finger clicked the red button right at the Universitatsstrasse, the stop right before the view. 🤦🏻‍♀️

Thankfully, the same tram takes me to a stop near where I’m staying in time for the walking tour. Our guide brings us to the Innere Stadt and I got overwhelmed with all the grand buildings and the rich history, but got excited as we passed by the Albertina. I’ll get back to this later since Jesse and Celine went here again right before parting ways at the Westbahnhof.

After our walking tour, I looked for a place to have lunch at and saw Kleine’s Cafe was quite near. I walked toward the small plaza and glad to have found an empty table right before the cafe got too busy. Outside, it looked as though it’s closed but the cafe was very busy with people coming in and out, some disappointed that they couldn’t dine in.

Afterwards, I head out to Zollamtbruke (which I should’ve gone to earlier since it was quite near the cinema) which was the couple’s first scene out of the Westbahnhof. There were no wooden planks in the bridge anymore making the place less picturesque.

Afterwards, I head back near my hostel to where the Teuchtler record store was, more commonly referred to as Alt & Neu because of the signboard. It felt like going inside a time capsule when I visited the record shop where Jesse and Celine awkwardly flirted as they listened to Come Here by Kath Bloom. Inside, it still looked the same except that they have Before Sunset’s movie posters on the wall and Alt & Neu totes for €8.

I took a quick break from “stalking” Before Sunrise and went to Schonbrunn Palace for a tour of the Imperial Rooms and the gardens. I also visited the Upper Belvedere to catch a glimpse of Gustav Klimt’s The Kiss among other notable paintings. Then I head back to the Albertina for the “finale.” Well, I went there really for the hotdogs. Our tour guide highly recommended the Bitzinger and said it was the best sausage stand in Vienna. In fact, there was quite a line earlier. But of course, I couldn’t resist the Vienna Opera House view from the balcony so I went up as well.

I didn’t have the energy to take the U-bahn to Westbahnhof and say goodbye but I decided to stop by St. Stephen’s Cathedral and took the lift going up the tower. I capped my Vienna trip in the sweetest way possible: at the Cafe Sacher, where the original sacher torte came from.

And I wish I could say we could meet again in December.

“But it will be freezing.”

“December sixteenth, six o’clock in the evening, track eleven. It’s a train ride for you, but I got to fly over. But, hey, I’ll be here.”

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