We spent a few pleasant days in Vienna, pleasant in spite of the incredible heat and humidity hovering over the city like a fat man on a too-small chair. The city itself is beautiful, clean and blinding in the afternoon sun, warm and hazy as that sun descends. The haze is largely a result of the incessant smoking by every living being in the city. Vienna is renowned as a place where smoking is a hobby embraced by the entire populace; walking the streets of Vienna can be likened to watching a noire film from the 1960's, where a thick fog of smoke obscures everything the camera pans across, singlehandedly creating the “noire” portion of those films.

In spite of the chimneys casually strolling the city, Vienna is a lovely place. It is cancer-ward clean, with waste bins on literally every street corner, beckoning for empty bottles and cigarette butts. There are city employees whose sole purpose for existence is patrolling the streets, policing the smoking denizens and shouting aggressively at every smoker to use the aforementioned waste bins rather than simply tossing the smoldering, soggy remains of their horrid habit into a convenient corner or gutter.

Through the haze however, we managed to find some delightful places in the city, which is littered with caf├ęs, parks and monuments to the dynastic greatness of the Habsburg family (see for more). We ate dinner at Amerling Beisl on our first night, and returned during the next couple of days to sit in the shady alley and escape the heat for a few moments. Perhaps our favorite place in the city was a small park, where we spent an entire evening laying in the grass and watching the passersby as we listened to a fountain splash in the background.

Vienna is a city filled with beauty, elegance and charm, and in spite of the unusual heat during our visit, was a city that instantly felt like home.

To Wandering!

Our lovely little park.

Same park.

Entrance to the Habsburg Palace.

Everyday table set for the Habsburg family.

This one even comes with a handy carrying case for carrying a pot-roast the the potluck at your friend's house. Pretty sure that thing is actually just a golden crock-pot.

The HLF lounging in the clover.

I know nothing about this place, I just like the way it looks.

A typical street in modern Wien.

Amerling Beisl, our quiet little oasis.

The bell tower atop one of Vienna's many churches.

My HLF in her natural habitat.

– T.S.