Before Sunrise is a beaut film about an idealist young American bloke called Jesse (Ethan Hawke) and a spunky French sheila called Celine (Julie Delpy) who meet on a train from Budapest to Vienna, and fall in love during one night exploring the latter city. I’ve been off on my own romantic crusade in Riga for the past week, but now the adventure is back on track, so i decided to check out some of the most memorable locations seen in the film. And the good news is that Vienna – or Wien, as the locals weirdly call it – is every bit as magical in real life as it is on film.
The first destination on my tour of Sunrise locations was he snappily-named Teuchtler Schallplattenhandlung record shop, where Jesse Celine flick through all sorts of old albums while they not-so-gradually fall in love with each other. I was happy to find that it was just as old and dusty and overstocked with records from all eras as it was in the film, so it definitely felt like I’d travelled into the film itself.
After marinating myself in cinematic history, I was feeling famished, so I stopped to munch on a delicious schnitzel burger while lying on the lovely green lawns of the Burggarten. Say what you want about the Austrians, but they love their crumbed meat, and that makes them alright in my book. I love getting a mouthful of meat, so it was a wonderful way to spend a sunny half-hour.
The next stop on my tour was the tiny Franziskanerplatz square, where Celine had her palm read while Jesse blabbered on about how he didn’t believe in any of that crap. I’d say that he should’ve just nodded along and kept his mouth shut, but he scored a root that night, so what do I know. Kleines Cafe from the film is still there and probably serves coffee and cake and things like that, but I’m not sure because I didn’t stop for a bite to eat.
I didn’t need a fortune teller to predict that I was hungry again, so I trotted off to the nearest schnitzellery for a side of pork bigger than my head. The little Asian dude smiled as he unleashed his meat upon me, and I was truly overwhelmed by the size of his offering. I had trouble fitting it in my mouth and needed two hands to really do it justice, but I managed to deepthroat the whole thing. Delicious!
Oh, and there was this huge church thing. That was pretty cool. While I was taking this photo some kind of weird mime dude came up to me and poked me, so I left. This isn’t Facebook, dude.
With night falling, I took a stroll through the beautiful Stadtpark. It has a river meandering through it that looks magical under lights, and on Fridays there are dozens of little stalls dotted amongst the trees selling wine and cheese and sausages, with happy little drunken people staggering everywhere and dancing. It’s my kind of place!
It had been an hour or two since I’d eaten, so I stopped off for another schnitzel burger, this time with a delicious sausage on the side. I nearly squealed with delight as I wrapped my lips around that hot sausage and took it all inside me, while a handful of moustachioed Austrians hid in the nearby bushes and nodded their approval.
After wiping the delicious juice from my happy face, I staggered through the streets of Vienna until I found one of the city’s most famous attractions – and one of the most easily-recognisable locations from Before Sunrise. The Wiener Riesenrad is a 65-metre-tall Ferris wheel that was built back in 1897, and has been giving excited tourists a good view of the landscape ever since. It’s also where Jesse and Celine shared their first kiss.
I left my pretty girl back in Riga, and when my not-so-subtle hints to the Asian gentleman sharing my carriage were knocked back, I had no choice but to share a romantic moment with my first and truest love – my right hand. I’m pleased to say that my loving moment paved the way for some hanky panky later that night.
I looked around for the place where Jesse and Celine pork each other at the end of the film, but I couldn’t really work out where it was. All I could find was a used condom behind a public toilet. I’m not sure if it was a prop from the film, but I kept it as a souvenir anyway.
Austria might be the home of a very naughty boy named Adolf Hitler, but it’s actually a pretty decent play, and Vienna is one of the most lovely cities you could ever hope to find yourself in. There are schnitzels on every corner and plenty of parks to eat them in, and if you want to get heaps pissed and dance in front of an ancient cathedral, you can do that too.