So, last September I wanted to check two more countries off my list (I don’t have a list) and I decided to spend 10 days between Berlin and Vienna.
I have been to Germany Before (Where I spent one day, between a bus from Paris and another one to Prague), but this was the first time I visited Austria. I’m not really sure why I hadn’t visited Vienna before, may be it’s because I always thought it was expensive and imagined it to be a little suffocating, full of fancy cafés with tourists eating Sacher Torte. Of course this is one side of the city, but in my trip I discovered another vibrant and youthful face that I didn’t think existed in a city like Vienna. Since I haven’t done lists in a while, here is a list of the things that made me fall in love with this city.
History with a capital “H”!
Vienna is rich in history. In addition to being the city where many big historical events took place, it was the city that adopted many historical figures: Picasso, Freud, Mozart and many more. Visiting Freud’s practice or Mozart’s first apartment sent me back to an era I wouldn’t mind living in . Walking to St Stephens Cathedral while exploring the city was one of my favorite moments! it’s one of the best I have ever been to, and trust me I have been to loads of cathedrals in Europe!
The Baroque palaces are a photographer’s dream!
I’ve been to many castles across Central and Eastern Europe: Slovenia, Czech Republic, Hungary.. But I’ve never seen something like the Palaces in Vienna. The royal family that ruled Austria at that time was so rich and power hungry that they built stunning palaces across the country and Europe (I’m not going to call them castles, I’ve seen castles before and it’s not what they looked like!).
The most popular Palace is Schönbrunn, it’s where Princess Sissi and her husband Frantz lived for years before she decided she wanted to leave her family, travel and live her life to the fullest. I spent a full day visiting half of the Palace’s rooms, the most exciting moment was walking into the room where Mozart played for the very first time for the royal family when he was 6…6 years old! I also walked through the many gardens, escalated a hill for 20 minutes to enjoy a delicious cake and coffee in Cafe Gloriette with a wonderful view. what I loved about Gloriette is the fact that in additional to tourists you can come across a couple that just got married taking wedding photos or some kids playing with a drone, because why not!
Can we talk about the food now? and by food I mean cakes!
If you have a weakness for sweets and coffee like me, Vienna is the city to go for. In Vienna, coffee houses is a serious affair, I’m not talking about Starbucks style coffee shops, I’m talking about traditional fancy coffee houses with amazing coffee and spectacular cakes. During the 4 days I spent there, I had Austrian soup and Wiener Schnitzel for lunch everyday, it is basically the national dish of Austria. It’s a thin, breaded, pan-fried veal slice (or chicken, or any animal actually..) and it is beautifully delicious.
The sound of Music!
Vienna has always been known as ‘the city of music’. The city was home to many great composers of the classical music era during the 19th century: Hayden, Vivaldi, Beethoven, Mozart…(I’m sure you heard of at least one of those names!)
I’ve never been into classical music, well I know few names and can recognize the most famous compositions, but I thought the Vienna experience wouldn’t be complete without a classical music concert. While walking around Vienna’s landmarks I got tickets for one of the many concerts being held regularly in the city theaters. The experience was amazing! Two Talented musicians, a man and a Woman, dressed in period costumes. The female singer was so beautiful and gracious, performing all the famous sounds with moments of dramatic and comic opera that made me laugh and then almost cry.
While I was being stunned by how beautiful the singer’s voice was, a Canadian couple next to me approached me and we talked about life, families and travel for the whole night. In that moment I remembered why I love travelling, It’s all about the people you meet along the way and the way every corner of that city makes you feel. At the end of the night I left the theater with a wide smile on my face humming Vivaldi’s “Four seasons”.
In my short time exploring Vienna, I really felt that I’d just scratched the surface of that wonderful city. Every moment spent in Vienna is a moment to remember, even laying on the grass in a park, listening to the sound of nature, watching couples, musicians, local or tourists enjoying a nice afternoon.
Cheers to the places we yet have to go to!