Several friends told me that I would love Vienna, when I told them I was coming here for the first time. In fact many said it was their favourite city. I now understand why.

The city has been ranked as the best place to live in the world by both the Economist and the Mercer Survey. I have to agree. I thought Paris was hard to beat, but Vienna

What is so great about Vienna? Well it isn’t that there is something here which is unique to Vienna. It is more that where most cities get a few things right, Vienna gets it almost all right. They just need a harbour to be perfect 🙂

My top ten of what I love about Vienna

  1. Their public transport system. It must be the best integrated system in the world. You can hop on any train, tram or bus without delay. And best of all they are free. Heh okay no they are not free, you do buy a pass for the incredibly cheap price of 13 euros for a week, but not once were you asked to produce it.  We were 10 metres from a bus stop, 50 metres from an underground stop and 100 metres from a tram.
  2. The architecture. Walking past Stephansdom every day was a treat in itself, but that is only one of dozens of wonderful buildings that are spread all over Vienna.
  3. The restaurants. We dined at a different restaurant every night and never walked more than 200 metres (with the exception of the deliberate trip out to a Heuriger). And they all served very good food for quite reasonable prices. The Goulash Palace was especially great, as were the various Weiner Schnitzels.
  4. The statues. I love statues. They’re about history.
  5. The alleyways. In between the main roads, are scores and scores of little alleyways, with shops to discover.
  6. The Roman and Greek influence. If you are a fan of the classics, it is like a blast to the past.
  7. The music. It is the city of Mozart and Beethoven.
  8. The Austrians. They’re like Germans, only a bit nicer and a bit hotter 🙂
  9. The cafe culture. Just like Paris, everywhere you go you can have a coffee, drink or bite on the street.
  10. The climate. Sure it gets cold in winter, but 25 – 30 degree summers are wonderful. Hot, but not too hot and low humidity.

This is the Hofburg Palace, in the middle of Vienna. I ran out of time to do a tour of it, so it will have to wait for my next visit. The President of Austria now gets to live there.

Not only do you have statues of Mozart, scores of young men have to dress like him and walk around selling tickets for various shows.

The famous writer and thinker, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe.

My grandmother used to make us her version of the Sachertorte – a delicious chocolate cake invented by Franz Sacher. You can only get the original version at the Hotel Sacher, which of course we did.

As I mentioned above, one night we went out to a Heuriger, away from the cit centre. The one we went to used to have boarders also, and Beethoven lived there while composing some of his 9th Symphony.

The decor outdoor was lovely. You can see why they are so popular.

And grapes are growing literally above your table.

The wine was excellent. Sadly at this particular place, the service was appalling (you almost had to jump in front of the waitress to get her attention) and the food was ho hum. A rare bad experience.

Still to come are the caves with the underground lakes and the Prater!

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