Vienna is like immersing yourself in a snow globe of joy. The Christmas markets, the art, the music, debutants balls and the cakes! My god the cakes! Did I mention the cakes?
Everywhere you turn the sense of history is tangible. The Viennese take this seriously. Teenagers dressed in ball gowns and tuxedos head to their first ball of the season. They are proud of this sense of tradition. You find the old school coffee houses full of 20 and 30 somethings unlike our tea rooms where the average age is distinctly older.
The city is clean, safe and easily accessible by foot making it a joy to explore. From palaces to food markets and iconic places like the Spanish Riding School this place is a tourists dream.
Our guide was mind blowing. She grew up in New York and was now a grandmother and mother to five children. Her pace was perfectly matched to our enthusiasm. The art can be overwhelming and the palaces vast but she understood we wanted the highlights and brought these to life in such a brilliant and often hilarious way.
Without a guide you could have wondered the palaces or galleries staring at the gold plated decorations none the wiser to the incredible stories these rooms and pictures hold. I’ll be recommending my clients have at least half a day with her.
The food is very traditional if you want that but there is a thriving restaurant scene here too with modern, vegan, asian etc at all levels. Then there are the cakes… I should probably mention the cakes.
The hotels here are excellent and there is something for everyone. We saw the top few and know which to recommend. We also have a top team to secure the hard to come by Spanish riding school shows, music concerts and ball tickets.
What struck me the most as I reflect on our trip is the style of the place combined with an unexpected sense of fun. Our guide described it perfectly by saying there will be a strictly no entry sign on a door and beneath that a sign saying mind the step behind it. Vienna has a real fire in its belly. It is ornate in such a wonderful way that you embrace it but it also has a drive and sense of pride that is utterly infectious.
Anyone for cake?