One of the benefits of living in Berlin is that traveling to other cities in Europe is easy and generally very inexpensive. You can get to most other European capitals within a couple of hours and for roughly a couple hundred Euros, so city trips are pretty doable (even more so if you have a boyfriend who flies you in for a weekend – ha!).
Which brings us to Vienna, one of my favorite places to escape from the chaos of Berlin – and, let’s be real – the chaos of my life with three children. It’s a one hour flight away – meaning that you board your flight, have a drink and a snack, and by the time the flight attendants have cleared everything away you’ve already started your descent towards Vienna. Lovely, really – especially for a person like myself who no longer loves to fly as I once did.
This city is a bit like a fairytale land. It was an imperial city after all, part of the Hapsburg Empire. Within the city you have palaces, you have stately buildings and gorgeously manicured parts, and yes, you even have a square called “Ballhaus Platz,” as well as a ball-season (January and February every year) to match. And outside the city, you have a river and rolling hills covered in vineyards. You even have gemstone mines within an hour’s drive of the city. See? A fairytale land.
Vienna is also fun because it’s quite “southern” in nature: the people, the language, the climate, the culture. Those familiar with The South and the charm that comes along with that region will know what I mean. And it makes sense – geographically, Austria lies is in southwestern Europe (it’s officially part of central Europe, but look at the map – it’s south-ish). And its people reflect this – they have their own dialect of German that is, well … southern. Words get slurred together a bit and syllables tend to disappear. Not joking.
Beyond the dialect – which I have a hard time understanding, as it’s not the German I am used to in Berlin – the attitude of the Austrians is also quite southern. I don’t know enough to make a judgement call and say they are a lazy folk, but I will say that things are generally more relaxed than with their northern neighbors. There is also a stronger emphasis on friendliness and hospitality, which I appreciate, especially in contrast to the fairly rough Berliners.
So if you are ever looking for me and can’t find me in Berlin, chances are I’m either somewhere near the Mediterranean (it’s been way too long since I’ve been in that part of the world, so it’s coming up soon) – or in the little gem that is Vienna.