Vienna… an experience for all your senses. www.vienna.info. According to the World Economic Forum, Austria’s imperial capital sprawling along the famous Blue Danube River has been named the “City with the highest quality of life.” And strolling through the manicured city parks, down pompous avenues, and past baroque facades, this quality of life pulsating in the green heart of Europe puts a little spring in my step. At the festive Ringstrasse, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vienna_Ring_Road, I breathe in its grand flair. The Kunsthistorische Museum, Art History museum to my left, boasts the world’s largest collection of Bruegel paintings. www.khm.at. A perfect replica, the Naturhistorische Museum (Natural History) to my right houses some 30 million objects, offering a journey through time from the very ancient to the present. www.nhm-wien.ac.at, These two palatial structures, built to house the vast collection of the Habsburg Dynasty, opened its doors more than a century ago. Resting at the Staatsoper fountain, www.wiener-staatsoper.at, one of the world’s leading opera houses, I daydream about Mozart, Beethoven, Strauss, about the Vienna Philharmonic orchestra, www.wienerphilharmoniker.at, and the Viennese Boys’ Choir, www.wienersaengerknaben.at.
At the Hotel Sacher next door I lose myself in the heavenly desserts that made Vienna so famous. www.sacher.com. Heading down Kärntnerstrasse, the very special Viennese charm awaits you. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kärntner_Straße, Imperial facades, cozy coffee houses, world-class shops and restaurants draw me into a constant 180 sweep until the sight of medieval St. Stephen’s Cathedral stops me in my track. www.stephansdom.or.at. The very heart of the city is pulsating with an infectious vibrancy. Everywhere I look, ladies step in and out of designer stores, tourists snap pictures, while others indulge in the many outdoor cafes along the Graben, www.city-walks.info/Vienna/Graben.html. In the many souvenir shops, Mozart’s timeless smile gleams from countless chocolate boxes while Klimt’s golden kiss, featured on T-shirts and memorabilia, fetches equal attention. www.klimt.com. Under a huge white umbrella at the regal Cafe Demel, savoring my own Viennese Eiskaffee,
my mind swirls, drenched in the city’s imperial nostalgia and delightful contemporary vibe. On a packed, rumbling subway back to the hotel, I remember the clacking of horse hoofs, the oohing and ahing tourists riding around in the Fiakers, those shiny horse drawn carriages that date back to Vienna’s imperial days. It’s almost midnight and I’m buzzing all over. Enchanted, I can’t wait for tomorrow. Vienna’s grand past and heritage awaits me.