Austria

Vienna.jpg

July 31st — August 4th.

I’d heard great things about Vienna and was looking forward to our stay. I read up a bit before arriving was impressed to be in the city that has fostered so many historical figures. Apparently, Trotsky, Freud, Hitler and Stalin all lived within a few miles of one another back in 1913.

The architecture is stunning and Vienna projects a great deal of wealth. The city is pristine. Monuments pop out because of how white and resplendent they are. A mix of white stone, verdigris and gold highlights on statues and gates is the typical Viennese color palette. The utmost center still holds a few narrow streets and pedestrian areas, but the vast majority of the city center is influenced by Haussmann, with buildings in typical 19th century neo renaissance style. With the pitter patter of hooves as a sound track, walking through downtown Vienna is really like traveling through time, back to an era of empires where Europe was still the uncontested seat of power in the world.

Getting from A to B is easy. First of all, the center of Vienna isn't that big so if you're willing to Spare 30 minutes, you can go pretty much anywhere worthwhile on foot. But it's worth getting a public transportation pass. For such a small city, it's very well covered in subway and tram lines.

Vienna is relatively tame, however, and this is coming from someone who isn't particularly demanding when it comes to nightlife. A city like New York is extremely cosmopolitan and you can feel something electric just walking through its streets. Same goes to a lesser degree for cities like Paris or Berlin. They have an obvious edge to them. Vienna’s lack of pazzazz was perhaps best illustrated by one of the Jazz clubs we went to. I think it was probably one of the saddest atmospheres I had ever seen in a jazz club of a major capital. The performers didn't come close to the level of play we saw in Berlin or anywhere else to be honest. The crowd was posh and stern. It felt more like a dull ritual than a lively moment of fun between the musicians and the crowd. But this is not why I had come to Vienna in the first place. I was mostly eager to experience the historical aspects of the city, and to enjoy its parks and museums. In this respect, Vienna did not disappoint. Hofburg Palace, the natural history museum, Rathaus, and their surrounding gardens and neighborhoods are delightful, especially in the warmth of summer.

Vienna is another city which is fairly easily accessed via train and I would thoroughly recommend it to anyone touring Europe. I would certainly enjoy going back there myself at greater length and perhaps delve into the Austrian countryside