Across the famous River Danube the 21st century is marked with glass and steel buildings including a United Nations headquarters; one of four in the world.
The astonishing array of monuments, palaces, museums, and churches left us awestruck. We toured imperial palaces and meditated on a pew in centuries old churches. Visited art galleries that had rooms full of Ruebens or Rembrandts or Picassos, and one of my favs Dürer.
Strolled through the Naschmarkt (literally snack-market) with its intoxicating smells and vibrant colours.
And when our feet got sore, or our brains too full of input, there was always a tranquil park with blossoming tress and lawns sprinkled with colorful crocuses or tulips to rest in.
When our tummies rumbled we enjoyed Wiener Schnitzel or Wiener Würztchen. For dessert, or just because, there was always Kaffee und Kuchen to savour. Vienna is famous for its coffee houses; they have been an essential part of Viennese life for centuries. Not just frequented by tourists but lots of locals seem to use them as a meeting place or as refuge from city life. They are more than just a place to go to drink coffee and have a sweet treat. They are somewhere to linger; an oasis of gemütlichkiet.
I’m not sure what I was expecting about our trip to Vienna. We had been to Salzburg a couple of years ago and I think I expected Vienna to be sort of like it. It’s not. It’s less kitchy touristy. It has elegance and grandeur that isn't pretentious. The people we encountered were warm & friendly, kind & helpful. From the wait staff that were attentive without hovering, to the transit ticket seller who told us about a better deal, to the shop owner in the Naschmarkt that came out after us with free glasses of wine and chatted with us. We relished every moment of our visit and look forward to visiting there again one day.
Up next....a video "highlights reel" of our visit.