One of Europe’s nicest cities and snuggled right at the top of the World’s Most Livable Cities list is the beautiful capital of Austria. Read the linked page and it will tell you all about Vienna’s perfect scores in education, healthcare, jobs, etc, and one must admit that these things are important. But even more so, one of the things that makes Vienna so attractive to its citizens and foreigners alike is the attitude of the people within its borders. Take this photo, for instance. Taken outside the famous Hofburg Palace, a group of balloon-laden parents take their children to the park, just for the mere sake of doing so. Whether it was indeed a birthday party or other such ‘special’ occasion, think about how incredible that over a dozen adults drove into the middle of the city, into one of the most crowded parts of town carrying armloads of balloons, just to take their kids to the park? Most kids get to go to the local pizza place or ice cream parlor, and these kids get a visit to a palace and have a picnic in a park within a cluster of balloons. The Viennese are just genuinely happy, healthy, sociable, and well-to-do people, and any visit to the city is likely to make the intrepid traveler immediately start looking for ways to learn German, find a job here and rent a flat somewhere along the Ringstrasse!
Neue Burg section of the Hofburg Palace, Vienna, Austria
Vienna is certainly one of Europe’s grandest cities. Tracing centuries of history along Vienna’s Ringstraße makes one feel awe-inspired and breathless amongst all of the elegant buildings, grand churches, beautiful opera houses and theatres, and never-ending palaces. In fact, it seems as if the city is nothing but palaces! The Hofburg Palace, along with the Belvedere and Schönbrunn makes up the three most famous palaces of Vienna. The Hofburg has housed some of the most powerful people in Europe and it has been in governmental use since 1279. The Palace was the centre of the Habsburg dynasty, (the rulers of the Austro-Hungarian Empire), and from 1438 to 1583 and from 1612 to 1806, it housed the Holy Roman Empire. It continued to be the home of the Emperor of Austria until 1918 and currently serves as the official residence of the Austrian President, Heinz Fischer. Over the years, it has been expanded and re-worked and rebuilt. Bits have been added; other additions have been planned but never came to light. Vienna, lovely and beautiful Vienna, is in so many ways the heart of Europe. It is in almost exactly in the geographical centre of the continent, it has housed many important governments, it has produced, hosted or inspired many of Europe’s important peoples, it is–and has been for some time–one of Europe’s biggest cultural hubs especially when it comes to classical music, and it serves as the gateway between Western and Eastern Europe. With this beautiful, moonlit Hofburg at its governmental centre, Vienna truly holds Europe’s vibrant, beating heart.