I’m doing rather well!
You know the one!
The hills are alive with music n’ all that….!
Visiting Vienna is quite delightful!
I’ve been to Austria before of course, and I’ll be telling you soon enough all about it!
I wanted somewhere “nice.”
And I wanted somewhere connected to music.
Let’s get a little bit of history.
Austria, otherwise known as Österreich, is a federal republic, and a country of just over 8.7 million people.
It is bordered by the Czech Republic and Germany to the north, Hungary and Slovakia to the east, Slovenia and Italy to the south, and Switzerland and Liechtenstein to the west. Most of Austria is highly mountainous in the Alps with its highest point 3,798 m or 12,461 ft! In fact, only 32% of the country is below 500 m or 1,640 ft!
Most people speak a local Bavarian dialect of German as their native language, although Austrian German is the actual official language of Austria!
In fact, the last time I went to Austria about 10 years ago (cough! cough!) we went hiking for a week in the Austrian Alps.
And it was all rather pleasant until we went mushroom-picking in the forest.
The guide was explaining where we were going, and the safety of identifying edible mushrooms.
Now I speak and understand German.
In fact, I’ve done a few TV / radio programmes and spoke quite successfully (I think), in the Germanic tone expected.
But I couldn’t for the life of me understand a single word he said!
I was standing in the middle of our mushroom-picking crowd, so I moved to the front.
No can do!
I stood literally eyeball to eyeball with the fellow, in order to enhance my hearing.
I was quite distressed.
And my husband wasn’t with us.
So I turned to my son who was five (5) years old at the time, to see if the guide was speaking utter nonsense, or if it was just me.
It was just me!
My toddler had to translate things so that we wouldn’t get poisoned, and die!!
Back to the history!
The origins of modern-day Austria date back to the time of the Habsburg dynasty, when the vast majority of the country was a part of the Holy Roman Empire.
During the 17th and 18th centuries, Austria retained its position as one of the great powers of Europe. However, after the fall of Napoleon, German Prussia emerged as the leader of the Germanic-speaking countries with the Austrian Empire reformed into Austria-Hungary, thus excluding Austria from the then new German Empire.
Sadly, it was the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria on June 28th, 1914, and the troubles thereafter, that ultimately led Europe into World War I!
After the collapse of the Habsburg (Austro-Hungarian) Empire in 1918 at the end of World War I, Austria attempted a union with Germany which, by the Treaty of Saint Germain and the Treaty of Versailles of 1919, forbade both the union and the continued use of the name “German-Austria” – Deutschösterreich. Until Adolf Hitler invaded and annexed Austria in 1938.
As a result, the Republic of Austria ceased to exist as an independent state, and officially became a legalised part of Germany, until 1955!
If you’re worried, don’t be.
Present day Austria is a lovely country known for it’s human rights policy, democracy, skiing, hiking, music, classical ballroom dancing, art and culture.
Austria has a very high standard of living, and is one of the richest countries in the world!
In fact, even Germans flock to Austria because of it’s wealth of opportunity!
And many of them go to Vienna!
WHY GO TO VIENNA?
Where do I start?
Vienna is an imperial beauty!
It’s the capital of Austria and the cultural. economic, and political centre of Austria.
With a population of just 1.8 million, Vienna is the second (2nd) largest German-speaking city in the world, after Berlin!
Vienna is located in the eastern part of Austria and is close to the borders of the Czech Republic, Slovakia, and Hungary. In fact, Prague, Slovakia, and Budapest, are but a few cheap hours away!
And just in case you have a couple more days to spare, this is what I wrote about them:
- Going to Prague: I’m going to Prague and taking the train!
- Living in Prague as an expat: How I came to live in Prague.
- What to do in Prague: 4 Days in Prague – 40 Things to Do!
- Is Prague a part of the East or a part of the West? Prague is just one of those perfect places!
- Public transport: I’m going to Budapest and taking the train!
- Going to Budapest: Budapest is a classical city of awe – 10 amazing ways to see it!
- Choosing a luxury hotel in Budapest: What no one tells you ‘cos the water is magical and it’s a secret!
- Hungarian Gastronomy: The food in Hungary is stodgy but surprisingly nice!
- An introduction to travelling to Slovakia: Astonishing news! I’m organising a Summer European Challenge Campaign. By train!
- An introduction to Bratislava: Should you visit Bratislava, or stay at home and not bother!
- Slovak / Slovakian Gastronomy: 9 traditional East European things to eat in Slovakia!
Vienna is not only the capital of Austria, but also the city in Europe with the highest ration of green space, woods, grasslands, parks, and gardens which make up almost 50% of the city, beating even my most beloved city of Berlin!
Vienna also has the most frequently photographed monument in the city – the golden statue of Johann Strauss, has the circus fairground of Parter, the beautiful Schönbrunn Palace Gardens, the Vienna Woods, vineyards, farmlands, and the wetlands of the legendary Danube River!
Vienna has a history to be jealous of, going further back than roughly 15B.C!
A precious heritage, charming traditions, imperial architecture, museums, art collections, works of art, the world’s first psycho-analyst – Sigmund Freud, the home of musical geniuses such as Beethoven, Mozart, Haydn, Brahms and Mahler, as well as the era of the Habsburgs who reigned for more than six (6) centuries!
Vienna is rich in baroque, historicism, art nouveau, as well as a nod to a world-class cultural complex and a future-oriented design of 60,000 square meters of space for a highly creative cultural scene in the Museums Quartier where we stayed, and in fact, all of the city!
Vienna is a city of beauty.
What not to like?
I’ve got lots to say about Vienna, so I’ll tell you all about it next week. If you really can’t wait, there are loads of pictures and funny quips on Twitter!
HOW TO VISIT AUSTRIA: INTRODUCING VIENNA – THE MOST CIVILISED CITY. EVER!
This article is part – sponsored by the Vienna Tourist Board and I received a press discount from the 25 Hours Hotels, but all opinions and the charming traditions that I experienced, are my very own! Thanks so much!
In April & May, I’ll be visiting Croatia, Sweden & Finland!
From 07.03.17 – 09.03.17, our friends – the British musical and comedy duo – Carrington Brown – will be performing Germany’s premiere of Carrington-Brown feat. The Swonderful Orchestra: Comedy meets Classics at Tipi!
I’ll be there. Will you?
If you’re not in Berlin in March, I really can’t help you!
Watch this space!
Note! I never travel without insurance as you never know what might happen.
I learnt my lesson in Spain. And obviously, in countries like Qatar, where technically the risk is higher, I can’t imagine going that far beyond, WITHOUT INSURANCE. No siree! You can get yours here, at World Nomads!
Please note that there are now affiliate links (for the very first time) connected to this post. Please consider using the links, because every time some sort of accommodation or travel insurance is booked via my links I get a little percentage, but at no extra cost to yourself!
A win-win for all!
Thanks a million!