Introduction to Vienna
Ah, Vienna. If only you could bottle it and take it home with you. It’s a place of breathtaking natural scenery, where the hills are alive (with the sound of music). It’s a place with an incredible history; once home to some of the world’s brilliant minds like Freud, Beethoven, Klimt and Mozart. It’s also a place where schnapps is served with pretty much everything.
It’s home to some really, really old stuff too. Like the oldest amusement park in the world, Prater Amusement Park, which also has the world’s oldest working Ferris Wheel, built in 1897. At this amusement park, you won’t find over the top merchandise and super expensive food, just good, old-fashioned amusement park rides and smiles all round. A symbol of Austria, really.
Speaking of really old things, Vienna is also one of the last places you’ll find 19th century balls (the party, not the thing you play footy with), with over 200 major balls being held each year. These balls are held in beautiful palaces, like Hofburg Palace, Heldenplatz. The best known international ball is the Opera Ball, but there are a few other famous ones too, like the Kaffeesiederball (a café-owners event), the Life Ball (an AIDS charity ball) and the Jägerball (a ball for Hunters). Fortunately, you don’t need to be ‘high-born’ to attend. Those days are over and now Austrians of middle class attend numerous balls.
But it’s not all history and horse-drawn carriages in Vienna, the city has been ranked number one in the world for its culture of innovation. And there are signs of progressive thinking all over. Take urban spaces, like Flederhaus – a house-shaped structure filled with hammocks, where the public is invited to literally, hang out.