Austria · Europe

“Aaand, who are you?”, purred the Viennese

If hell hath no fury and mankind be damned, there’ll be a sign in VIENNA that says, “Those who are neither rich nor beautiful should not dare come here.” (In Filipino: Bawal ang jologs!)

Okay, fine…I am exaggerating but in a city so cultured, aristocratic and opulent, I couldn’t help but think that. Let me tell you why:

Vienna is the birthplace of the waltz and Mozart’s playground. It made me ask myself, “Why on earth did I ever listen to Britney Spears?”

The gilded palaces made me wonder what it’s like to be a royal. Buildings look so posh that even an H&M store looks like a mansion door.

The white horses at the Spanish Riding School don’t just gallop — they do ‘equestrian ballet’ indoors. I wanted to watch them but stopped short:

“Will I really drop 50-200 Euros just to watch horses in ballet practice?” I went to a sausage stand and ate a wiener instead.

At night, I headed to the Staatsoper (Vienna State Opera) and experienced my very first opera. I carefully eyed the Viennese in their dapper coats, long gowns and opera glasses. They were so poised even when they lit their cigarettes and puffed the cold night away.

The next day, I strolled around the vast lawns of the Schonbrunn Palace, the Hapsburgs’s former summer house. The gardens had lovely shades of greens, reds, oranges, yellows and browns. What a beautiful autumn day!

Then it was time to visit a real Viennese cafe. There, I enjoyed the legendary sacher torte with a hot cuppa.

And what’s Vienna without the Danube? I went to the banks and was pleasantly surprised to see graffiti/street art. Just like in every city I visited, I leaned and posed.

Vienna is a dream, and while I was there, I felt rich and beautiful even just for a dreamy while.

Travel: October 2013

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