Just got back from vacation in Vienna, Austria. A few thoughts:
Like the rest of Europe, the transportation system is top notch: buses; trains, trolleys; & subway. Separate bike lanes encourage people to use leg power instead of fossil fuels. Walking is expected & no one complains about having to walk 10 minutes to get somewhere: it is even seen as a indulgence.
Safe. I felt as safe in Vienna as I do walking down the street in my neighborhood.
No country & western music over there. Imagine that.
The water is a source of pride for the Viennese. Franz Joseph (AKA "Frankie Joe" to my kids) decided that water was going to be a big deal one day & he developed a system to bring water from the Alps to the city. It is good. Fresh.
Little pollution. Sure, the occasional bus fume would hit my nostril but that was about it.
I'm still recovering from the jet lag. My body says it is 6 hours later than my clock.
Summer in Vienna. If I were wealthy, that is where I would spend my summers. Perfect weather. A tad chilly, at times, for my wife but for me ... a 10.
Austrian Air kicks Delta's ass any day.
There is a reason Viennese women are known for their good looks. 'Nuff said.
Like the rest of Europe, most speak more than one language, something America needs to see as basic as pre-algebra. Most spoke several languages, including the street artist from whom we bought a water color --- he spoke German, English, French, Italian & Romanian.
Salzburg is a gem that everyone needs to see at some point in their life. I could have spent a week there instead of 3 hours. The St. Peter's restaurant (established 803) is quite good.
Faith, as in all of Europe, is treated as a revered nuisance instead of being seen as relevant. In fact, most of the people ignore matters of faith even though the Catholic influence is still great, including Sunday Blue Laws where everything shuts down & all take a day off. Few attend church on that day off but it makes for an interesting pick-up soccer game at any one of the many parks.
Culture. The Viennese are quite proud of their refinement --- & should be. Mozart. Strauss. Handle. Schubert. Bach. Schönberg. Brahms. The city is like the historical collection point for classical music. And art! There are even entire districts named for artistic styles.
I can't begin to describe how incredibly beautiful the country side is. Breathtaking. Seeing all the places I have read about in the history books --- I was in awe.
Regrets. I do regret not being able to see the museums & take in some of the shows & I wish I had some time to sit down & discuss some of US politics with the locals for a different perspective.
If you get a chance, go. I won't forget this trip.