Maybe Vienna could be your dream study abroad location! ** DB
“Classical concerts, cafes and chocolate cake.
There’s much more to Vienna than these three Cs, of course, but they do help explain the good life that the lucky residents of this central European city enjoy.
I experienced a taste of living as a Viennese on a brief stopover, and wished it had been longer.
With a population of two million, Vienna offers all the amenities of big city life yet there’s no sense of feeling overwhelmed by crowds.
The former capital of the Austro-Hungarian Empire is also old enough to have developed a character, and its historic buildings (many from the Baroque period) have prompted UNESCO to declare the city centre a World Heritage Site.
Its grand buildings and 100 or so museums have helped forge its reputation as a city of culture.
But perhaps its best-known claim to fame is creating the tradition of the coffee house as a place to congregate and relax.
Cafes originated in the Middle East in the 16th century and quickly spread throughout Europe. But it was in Vienna in particular that they gained the reputation for being the place to socialise and, for writers, a place to work and discuss ideas.
The result is the Viennese coffee house became an “intangible cultural heritage”, as UNESCO describes it.
For my taste of cultural heritage I visited perhaps Vienna’s most famous coffee house, the Sacher Cafe in Hotel Sacher and home to the sachertorte.
Franz Sacher was a 16-year-old apprentice chef at the court of Prince Metternich when he was called upon in 1832 to come up with a cake because the head chef was sick.
Sacher’s creation – a chocolate cake with apricot filling – was an instant hit and sachertorte’s fame spread throughout the Austrian Empire.
Sacher himself built the Hotel Sacher, adjacent to the Vienna State Opera House, which became a place where the aristocracy and upper class liked to meet.
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