After the more general post on the fun of a father & son trip, I want to follow-up with some thought (and pics!) about the fantastic city of Vienna, that I also had the pleasure to live in for some time as a student.
In my eyes one of the most beautiful cities in the world, and quite first place worldwide when it comes to quality of life (of all cities Woodpecker has seen at last, but as exploring cities is one of my hobbies since 20 years, I know a few). Even on top of Munich that is! Well, slightly on top at least… 😉
So, what makes Vienna so special?
Well, if you are into bustling, booming and glittering cities, devoted to commerce, consumerism, growth and cheap superficiality, then Vienna would be nothing for you.
In that case, you should go to Dubai, Hong-Kong, Singapore and what not. All glittering steel and glass. Looking impressive for today. And maybe for tomorrow. But in their core, these pure “business” or “money” cities seem unattractive and boring (at least to me), and I dare not imagine how they will look like in let’s say 100 years.
Nobody seriously would think that this glittering towers will be sexy a 100 years from now, would you? So basically, all this “modern” boom cities are reflecting todays consumerist attitude: Looks nice, brings fun on the short-term and then to be littered and exchanged for the next one.
Then look at Vienna in contrast:
A city like an open air museum, built for centuries. Displaying self-confidence, power (albeit most of that is obviously gone), massive solidity, a sense for beauty instead of pure efficiency, and a generosity and openness in city layout sprinkling with large green avenues and tons of beautiful parks that would make every Asian Boomtown inhabitant feel like living in Garden Eden.
Impressive and stylish historical buildings are actually so plentiful, that back in the time Woodpecker studied in Vienna for some time, ordinary student parties took place in palaces that would be reserved for state receptions in Munich or Berlin. That is with red carpets on the floors (mostly coated with plastic covers though), huge historic pictures in golden frames at the walls, marble stairways and crystal candle holders on the ceiling. And in-between the student music of that time, bottled beer and teen spirit. Fantastic!
And all of that combined with a relaxed, friendly and slow-moving atmosphere.
In fact, back then locals were quite proud of a study comparing the average walking speed in different European cities. First (most hectic) was London, last (most slow) was – of course! – Vienna. And people were proud for it! Compare to Germany, were a result like that would have caused another outcry: “Oh My God! We are not first! What went wrong?! We have to improve immediately or will all go under!”
The whole city of Vienna actually is un-hectic. I think one reason is that Vienna in fact has fewer inhabitants today than in its greatest time, around 1910. Thus the city is laid out for more people than there are today, whereas most cities in the world were laid out for much fewer people a hundred years ago and are now totally overcrowded.
Plus the city enjoys a beautiful surrounding, with its borders giving way to rolling hills with vineyards, with lovely winegardens on the foot of them and splendid walkways on top.
And then the Vienna mentality. Not unmodern, but not this rootless kind of hectic and homeless modernity, that other cities and their inhabitants display. Not that capitalistic and career driven either, maybe a bit more turned to the good old past. But in a quite sympathetic and un-pretentious way.
At least it seems to me that way, perhaps a local would want to comment?!
All in all very laid back, a downshifter’s dream city and a must see for everyone around in Europe.
Let’s have a look at some pictures (hover for Subtitle, click to enlarge):
And now a Special on a new discovery I made this time. As said, Woodpecker spent quite some time in that lovely city, but I have never been to the Natural History Museum before!
A lovely place that instantly makes you feel being warped back 100 years.
Please, dear Museum Directors, never let them talk you into getting more modern or adapting to todays taste!!!
(hover for Subtitle, click to enlarge)
OK, that’s it for the moment.
I could add tons more of pictures and of enthusiasm, but best go out and see yourself!