Austria: Visiting Vienna

This city is oozing with culture! You can see it high on the romanesque domes of the historic white buildings, the stately manors with ample gardens for jogs and photoshoots, or you can find it down on the city streets.

The “Hollywood stars” lining the sidewalks in front of the State Opera House are stars of classical music composers. Nowhere else in the world will you find more performances and attractions that revolve so much around the greats, such as Mozart, Beethoven, et al.

Unfortunately, we fell for the tourist trap of what I’m calling a “faux classical music concert.” As soon as the symphony came out donning 1700’s styled costumes and wigs, I knew this concert was strictly for tourists. Either that or they were keeping up with the fashion of the time period in which the music was created, but I suspect not. They played nothing but the hits — Mozart that is — so as long as I closed my eyes and pretended they were in all-black while ignoring the not-so-great acoustics, it was nice. And, I came dressed for the occasion!

Vienna itself is a gorgeous city. We loved the architecture, cleanliness, and similarities to parts of Paris. The Viennese were not overly helpful or welcoming, which also added to the similarities between Wien and Paris. Additionally, we got some bad weather with high heat and surreptitious thunderstorms, so that truncated a lot of our outdoor exploration. Check out the clouds coming in behind us right before we got rained out at Schönbrunn Palace.

I also had my fill of confections since we visited one of the oldest cafes in Vienna: Cafe Central. It’s a 300-year-old restaurant that used to be a frequent locale for the likes of Sigmund Freud and a rather infamous yet struggling painter who took a turn for the worse with a career switch after vacating Vienna: Adolf Hitler. The Cafe didn’t seem to scare off any tourists though with a line out the door, and I got to try the Austrian specialty: apple strudel.

No city walk is complete without exploring the shops, so I happened upon multiple Swarovski stores shining bright among the crowd and teeming with the world-famous Austrian crystals. One such store included 3 levels of jewelry, figurines, and other sparkly accessories. With a museum on the lower level detailing the history of Austrian crystals and rare pieces of the collection on display, I surveyed a spectacular necklace worn by none other than Queen Beyonce herself. This was hands-down the best shop in Austria for all the single (and coupled) ladies!

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