The first thing you promptly notice as you enter Vienna International Airport after your plane has landed is the smell. It is difficult to describe straight away what exactly you are feeling, but the odor is definitely beautiful. Vienna smells like freshly brewed redolent coffee, newly baked yeast buns filled with jam and traditional Austrian frankfurters – the longest sausages you will ever face over your lifetime. Your stomach immediately forgets that you are not a fan of heavy meals and demands being introduced to the local goodies with traitorous persistency. But food is not the only pleasure you are now waiting for – this is the spirit of the city that captures you in a wink. As you take your luggage and see bright adverts of Vienna’s sights, pictures of old cafes and spacious light parks, as you face smiling Viennese and hear their flowing soft German that has nothing similar with rough abrupt speech of Western Germans – you absorb this unique, unrepeatable atmosphere of peace, order and calm structured beauty. And it is the first step to fall in love with Vienna.
According to Telegraph, Vienna was rated as a 2nd best city to live in 2016. I think that Vienna is generally a very happy city. Do you know why?
I want to be honest here – for those how count every gram and barely eat during the day, Vienna will happen to be full of irresistable temptations, as its food culture is just incredible. You will never be hungry in Vienna – it is the same as not to go shopping in Milan during the season of sales. The crucial thing is that Viennese themselves do enjoy their traditional cuisine: in every street you can find all kinds of delicious sausages starting from plain Frankfurters and ending with cheesy Käsekrainer, in every restaurant you can order a classical Wiener schnitzel while fresh pastry is offered all over the city. And, yes, Viennese sweets such as Apfelstrüdel or Topfenknödel are as good as hard it is to pronounce their names. As people say, you can’t buy happiness, but you can buy food – and Viennese have learned this lesson well.
Being a chronic case of coffeeholic makes me quite experienced in this topic. Vienna has long and rich traditions of making the best coffee in Europe: coffee is being served in Austria with passion ever since the second Turkish siege of the city in the 17th century.
Vienna is full of various wonderful places where you can find all kinds of coffee beverages you may theoretically think of. The Viennese Coffeehouse Culture is described in this inventory as a place “
where time and space are consumed, but only the coffee is found on the bill”, and this is absolute truth.
And what I really appreciate here, is that there will always be something to fit your current mood – you can enjoy Viennese cuisine, homemade cakes, and pastries and piano music in Café Central, feel the great cultural heritage of Austro-Hungarian Empire in Café Imperial, Café Landtmann, Café Mozart that became a popular meeting place for artists during the Biedermeier age, taste the world-famous cake in Café Sacher or grab a quick drink with all the modern beverages in Ströck or Starbucks (and the quality is so great so that it would be hard for you to decide what to prefer next time). Viennese have their own favorite coffeehouses and gain loads of positive energy and happiness from a cosy big cup of excellent coffee.
There is a great variety of all types of museums in Vienna, but the majority of places which locals consider worth visiting on a regular basis are devoted to modern artists and their masterpieces. In the cultural spots such as Albertina or Momok Museum, both sophisticated elders and creativity-oriented youth expand their outlook and broaden their knowledge attending exhibitions of Andy Warhol, Pablo Picasso, Roy Liechtenstein. As far as music and theatrical performances are concerned, Burg Theater and Volksopera are full of visitors every evening. Vienna’s residents have developed a habit of embracing art as often as they can, and this ongoing enrichment is another cornerstone of their happiness.
Even if you want to spend your entire weekend in your office having no rest – you won’t be allowed to since Austrian labor laws put a strict limit on working hours: almost everything including supermarkets, shops, pharmacies, etc. closes at 6-7 p.m while on Sunday nothing works at all. As a result, Viennese have no opportunity but to let themselves a day off which they usually spend with their families, walking and completing house tasks. In Austria, full-time workers devote 61% of their day on average, or 14.6 hours, to personal care (eating, sleeping, etc.) and leisure (socialising with friends and family, hobbies, games, computer and television use, etc.). I believe that proper relaxation in the evening and constantly free Sunday is the best way to make people happier.
It is known that Austrians learn how to ski before being taught how to step.
Even though Vienna is not located in the mountains, there is a bunch of good ski resorts nearby where every Viennese can easily satisfy his or her passion for snow, wind, and speed. Happiness!
In conclusion, Vienna is not just a place that combines culture, good food, and luxury shopping. Frankly speaking, you can find all of the above in almost every European city. But Vienna and its locals give you something more valuable – they offer their grateful attitude to life. People here always smile and are generally very helpful, life flows slowly and you learn to appreciate every instance. Viennese do look very happy. Vienna inspires and encourages, and even if you leave this city willing to reach the stars in more active, moving and, perhaps, interesting parts of the world – it holds yout heart and brings warm memories full of coffee aroma and incredible views which both cozy and imperial. You always want to come back.