Vienna is known as the City of Dreams for being home to psychologist Sigmund Freud, and like a dream, Vienna swells and surrounds your senses at every turn. Vienna is also known as the City of Music, and the very excellent Haus der Musik museum illustrates why, through highlights of the great Viennese composers of classical music like Mozart, Haydn, Beethoven, Brahms and Mahler.
But Vienna is also a place of palaces and princes, of waltzes and women in Chanel and old men in Armani suits on bicycles on a Sunday afternoon, of cakes, coffeehouses and Klimt’s The Kiss.
Vienna serenades you with the sounds of symphonies escaping to the streets from concert houses by the classical greats like Mozart, Haydn, Beethoven, Schubert, Brahms, Mahler and Schoenberg. Vienna awes you with beautiful monuments and grand palaces like Belvedere and Schonbrunn and leaves no opportunity or space for art overlooked, from exquisite ceiling murals to ornate gold-leaf statues.
Time drifts away from you through afternoons spent sipping perfect cups of coffee and sampling cakes like the famous Sachertorte in Viennese cafes, which are a culture unto themselves.
I was so enraptured by Vienna’s fancy facade in my first few days that I couldn’t see past the fog of decadence. I think it was when a man passing by on the street threw his still-lit cigarette into my friend’s handbag on purpose that I woke up from the City of Dreams.
After that incident, I noticed all kinds of grittier aspects of this gorgeous city – the body odor on the street cars, the graffiti near the Metro and the manure on the streets left behind from the fancy horse-drawn carriages.
I will leave you with the following poem as food for thought. It gives a good idea of how important cafes are to the people of Vienna, as well as pointing out how very less glossy and glamourous Vienna can be.
“You have troubles of one sort or another –