Monday, June 17, 2013

I have a new favourite city

Vienna's been on my list of places to visit for years but, for no particular reason, I never got around to it.

We've just got back to Dubai after a week there and I really regret not having visited much, much earlier and much more often.

We stayed in the old city and, apart from a couple of short trips outside the inner ring, that's where we spent the full week. Wherever we go we like to just wander around the streets, the markets, eat in the cafes, drink in the pubs, absorb ourselves in the place, and we simply did that.

I realise that just one district of a city gives a slanted view, but Vienna's my kinda town I must say.

The city centre has a very large pedestrianised precinct so you're well away from the bane of most cities, traffic pollution.

The area is nothing but old, beautiful buildings on a human scale, street cafes, restaurants & bars and quality shops.

The food is something else - not traditional Viennese cuisine, which leaves a lot to be desired to be honest, but overall, and especially things like the breads and cakes and deli items.

The variety and choice in the shops is astonishing and the quality is exceptional across the board.

One of the things I really dislike is the current trend of scruffiness, especially men in what is in effect their underwear - singlets, football shorts and flipflops - in cities, shops, restaurants.

Not in the part of Vienna we stayed in, where the people are well dressed even when they're casually dressed - even the vast majority of tourists are dressed appropriately for a city.

And everyone we met and interacted with was friendly, cheerful, pleasant, helpful. Really nice people.

The whole feel is sophistication, elegance. You feel good just walking around in it, surrounded by quality.

And a bonus, the weather was just about perfect. One day with some rain, which didn't really inconvenience us, and the rest warm and sunny with clear blue sky.

We've already decided we'll be going back as soon as we can. An Indonesian waitress in our hotel, married to an Austrian and living in the city for thirteen years, told us to go back in winter, which she said is her favourite time of year there. Not for me, I hate the cold, but if we can get back before then we will. Otherwise it'll have to wait until next summer.

Plenty of photos in my camera of course and I'll post some when I have them organised.

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