I’m not sure how to describe Vienna.
To start, it is a beautiful place. I have heard that Vienna is considered the Paris of….everywhere east of Paris, I suppose. Part of Vienna’s draw is the beautiful architecture. No matter where you go, even outside the tourist area, it seems that almost all of the city’s buildings are architecturally beautiful. Wikipedia tells me the primary styles of Vienna are Romanesque, Baroque, and Art Nouveau. I wasn’t as impressed as most people are, though, because when every building looks fancy that sort of becomes the standard and then none of them are special. I actually was overwhelmed by the architecture after the third day in Vienna.
Vienna consistently ranks near the top on international lists of high quality-of-life. But I know I wouldn’t enjoy living there (I think). Things are far too expensive, but maybe that just puts them in line with most of Western Europe. I recently listened to a Rick Steves radio show (on the train ride leaving Vienna, interestingly) and his local expert said it well. She said, paraphrasing, that Vienna is a place to be surrounded by open green space, have lots of culture at your fingertips, but also a place to sit at a cafe with your coffee and cake, always paying more because you know it’s higher quality.
I love exploring cities on foot, and that was the most enjoyable part of my visit to Vienna. The problem is that I would have loved to visit some museums, but everything here has a hefty admission price. So for me it came down to wandering around the streets taking it all in with my camera and Kellie at my side…or spending a small fortune seeing the sites the city is known for. We chose option #1. Though, to be fair, the opera releases day-of, standing-room seats that are almost free. That would have been fun, but I wasn’t sure of the dress code. I was told the Viennese wear formal dress to the opera.
I don’t feel the need to return to Vienna just to be there…especially with so many places in Europe waiting to be experienced. But it is close enough to Budapest that I would go back for a specific purpose, such as a particular museum or a special event.
Observations that didn’t make it into my review, above:
I have never seen so many runners (with a runner’s build) out in a major city in my life.
I have never seen so many people smoking in my life. Interesting contrast, there.
We found a fun, tasty vegetarian buffet… at 4x what it would cost in Olympia.
Enjoy the photos: