Last weekend, my good friend and I ventured to Austria’s capital to sample its culture, arts, food and all things Austrian.
It was a fun and interesting trip, and I repeatedly tried to practice my German.
But, this only resulted in the Austrians giving me looks of pity and answering in English.
(Whatever, I tried.)
Vienna is unlike any place I’ve ever visited. It seems to be stuck in time.
It’s crowded with beautiful, old-world buildings, traditional coffee and cake houses, fabulous museums and opera houses, alongside perfectly manicured lawns and gardens that would make any Stepford wife green with envy.
But most of all, it’s sophisticated.
How sophisticated, you ask?
I’m talking the Parisians should be intimidated kind of sophisticated.
Normally when I go for a coffee, I don’t usually feel deep shame for turning up in jeans and a jumper because the waiter is dressed in a full tuxedo.
Don’t believe me? Let’s examine the evidence:
1. The Viennese don’t believe in coffee to go.
They take their coffee 15 different ways and very seriously.
This is not Starbucks. It's a finely-crafted beverage you must leisurely drink with respect.
If not, you are a cretin and poor excuse for a human.
2. They have a deep love of opera.
Opera to the Viennese is what Broadway is to New York.
The idea of not seeing an opera is like never breathing air.
"Heathen! How can you not be moved by the opening scene of Mozart’s 'Don Giovanni?'"
The Vienna State Opera House puts on a different production every night, and it produces 50 to 60 operas in one season.
That’s a lot of opera.
3. There are more busts on display than in the Kardashian family.
When my friend and I wandered through the University of Vienna on one of its walking tours, I expected to see many things.
What I did not expect to see were numerous busts of its notable alumni lined up against stylish, all-marble interiors.
This is a university.
Aren’t your students drunk and clumsy most of the time?
How has none of this stuff broken?
4. They love their music.
Strauss I, Schubert, Mozart, Haydn, Beethoven, von Suppé, Mahler and Brahms all hung out here when they weren’t busy composing, performing or stroking the egos of their patrons.
This means there are loads of good music tours that will take you around the city, from Mozart’s first home to where Beethoven enjoyed a drink.
It’s an education.
5. They have a swagger about them.
When you are as chic as the Viennese, you can pretty much act as you like.
Expect a sharp dress sense and the occasional eye roll.
6. They have delicious patisseries.
Let me be one of the many people out there to thank the Austrians for cake.
Just thank you.
Their pastries are like mini works of art, and their portion control is out of control.
7. There's some old-school entertainment.
There is plenty of nightlife in Vienna to keep even the most hardened clubber happy.
However, this doesn’t mean the Viennese abandon their classy ways.
In fact, the Viennese have over 200 balls a year.
As in, they get dressed up in their finery and waltz like its 1775.
8. Everything is clean.
Be it buildings, the underground, trains or streets, it’s like a dream city for anyone with OCD.
9. They have aggressive farmers' markets.
It is frightening.
You will offend the vendors of the kebab and deli counters profoundly if you do not accept the free samples they thrust in your face.
Look, man. Just put the stuffed pimento olives down.
No one wants this to get nasty.
10. They have the assumption you know what you’re doing (or where you’re going).
I don’t have a clue what I’m doing and frankly, I need help.
Why? Because I’m a tourist who is murdering your language every time I open my mouth to ask for directions.
I was informed the best time to visit this city is between May and July, when the Viennese are more cheery.
The snow has melted and winter is over.
They celebrate the arts by having free performances all over the city (of course).
I’m sure they get really bored with all the architecture, museums, stunning public gardens and Rococo-era palaces on every corner.
Needless to say, I am now a ruined individual who cannot sit in a café without complaining about the lack of chandeliers and debonair dresses.
Would I go back? Definitely.