These are a few of my favorite things, about Vienna:
- World-class performances every day, most of them with standing room tickets available for 6 euros or under. My favorite venues to visit are the Wiener Staatsoper (the Vienna State Opera) and the Musikverein (the main venue for symphonic concerts in Vienna).
- Cheap, healthy groceries: good produce is noticeably cheaper in Vienna than in the United States, and even organic foods are only a little more expensive than the rest. Additionally, Vienna has a fair amount of vegan options in grocery stores if you know where to look.
- Cheap, high quality wine. There was once a scandal in Austria in which people found out that a wine-maker was making dessert wine by using anti-freeze, and since then the international demand for Austrian wine has plummeted, yet quality control standards have become very strict. So what does this mean for Austrian wine-lovers? Great wine at low prices, because of low demand. Although it’s a shame that the wine market in Austria took such a hit, I’m happy to reap the benefits.
- Extremely efficient public transportation. The U-Bahn system in Vienna always runs on time, and very frequently. Additionally, there are so many U-Bahn stops that not much walking is required to get anywhere. Even if the U-Bahn can’t get you within 15 minutes of walking from your destination, one of the many trams certainly can.
- History EVERYWHERE. I just found out recently that Mozart died in the plot that is currently a four-story department store called Steffl, which I walk past every day on my way to class. Also, I learned that the crypt of the Hapsburgs is in the church that is literally a three-minute walk from IES Abroad. I could go on and on for pages about all of the crazy stuff that has happened within five blocks of the IES Abroad Vienna Center. Beyond the city center are countless historical churches, palaces, museums, and important sites from throughout the ages.
- A sense of connection to the most important composers in Western classical music. Haydn, Mozart, Beethoven, Mahler, the Strauss dynasty. These are just SOME of the composers who spent much of their professional lives in Vienna and in doing shaped the culture and musical scene of Vienna just as much as it shaped them and their work.
- COFFEE. A big sigh for this one… I. love. coffee. And Vienna does it right. The quality itself of Viennese coffee is incredible, and prices are not bad if you know where to go. Every café here has its own unique character since franchises are pretty rare here, and it is common to spend hours in a café over a strong brew, good conversation, and perhaps an apple strudel or sacher torte (chocolate cake with apricot filling).
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<p>Hello! I am currently in my second year at the University of Virginia, studying Economics and Music. I’ve decided to take a semester to study music in what is quite possibly the best place in the world to do it – Vienna, Austria. I have been playing the French horn for ten years, but I can’t wait for the new experiences Vienna will bring me, and to document and share all my adventures!</p>