Vienna: East Meets West

  • Vienna is ranked 2nd in Most Liveable Cities

Agreed. What struck me when I first got there was how many Asian and ethnic restaurants there were. I later learned that Vienna’s immigration laws are very progressive – comfortable integration for everybody. It showed since Vienna is definitely one of the most diverse cities I’ve been to in Europe. So it would be liveable for me since I wouldn’t get as many “Ni-hao’s” on the street. But also liveable for people other than myself because it just seemed to be a very open, mind-your-own-business place, which might be the Eastern European aspect of the city versus Western European. It is literally the gateway to Eastern Europe (probably the farthest east I’ve been in Europe) – East meets West!! I can’t emphasize how much I appreciated the diversity, but also the acceptance of diversity. I had been expecting a very ritzy, gold and chandelier-strung city, which it definitely did have aspects of that with the State Opera, which was beautiful, and Hotel Sacher, but it also had this culturally rich, artistic, almost grungy feel to it, which I loved. If I were to describe it as a food, it reminded me of a rich, colorful beef goulash with vegetables soaked in a musical broth.

Although, funny story about the opera: my friend and I had bought tickets for a matinée of “Alceste,” a Gluck opera. We were super excited – opera in the city of music and basically a place famous for its opera scene. We got there, sit down, but two moderators took the stage and there was a big, pull-down screen. We thought, oh, this must be some sort of intro. One of the moderators had started rambling in German about something – we assumed the opera. Since there were two of them, we assumed that the other would be translating in English. Nope. It was a full-fledged commentary on “Alceste,” which after we glanced at the opera calendar, hoping for some explanation, premieres at the end of the month. We looked at each other and just started laughing. So we didn’t get a real opera, but we learned that operas, like movies, have little press conferences before they premiere!!

We went to Schonbrunn Palace, Tiergarten Zoo (the oldest zoo in the world), the State Opera (haa…), Hotel Sacher for the famous Sachertorte, Naschmarkt, many a cathedral we don’t know the name of, Bermuda Triangle, Café Central where I had beef goulash and Kaiserschmarren, and the Kunhistorische Museum.

State Opera

Sachertorte at the famous Hotel Sacher

Schonbrunn PalacePandas at the Tiergarten ZooKunsthistorische Museum

Recognize any of these…?

Kaiserschmarren at Café Central – essentially soft, doughy pancake bits covered in hot plum sauce

 

 

 


One thought on “Vienna: East Meets West

  1. I’ve been living here in Vienna now for about three years. Although I absolutely LOVE this city and I don’t want to go back to the U.S.A come end of May, I tend to disagree with you when you said it’s “comfortable integration for everybody”.
    Staying here for one-four months, you probably would still feel like this. I definitely did. It wasn’t until the 6 months-one year staying here that it really hit. The Viennese people are considered very “cold”. They are not friendly. The rest of Austria and other Europeans would agree with me on this. Many, not all, but most also seem to be racist towards people who are darker skinned. Mainly it’s the older generation, but I’ve heard it from the younger generation as well. There is racism wherever one goes though, so I won’t hit Vienna too hard 🙂

    As a tourist it is definitely a really neat and friendly city and I seriously hope you have fun or have had fun staying here! If you’re still around, send me an email and I can let you know some other places to try! Too bad you missed the summer and the gelato and the Danube Island, but I’m so glad you are enjoying it!

    Warm regards!!! 😀

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