It was infatuation at first palace

I planned a short trip to Vienna last week for two key reasons:

  • It was close. Only four hours by budget bus. Fifteen euros each way!
  • Yelp was having a Halloween party.

As it turned out, Vienna stunned and trapped me. I’m not sure I’ve ever visited a friendlier city. I’m not exaggerating when I say that every single person I met — Wien Yelpers, Uber drivers, servers, hotel clerks, randoms on the street — was super welcoming and excited to chat. After making the tough call to head home in a month, my trip was perfectly timed! I only wish I had planned for an extra week or five there. I’m going to try to return for the Christmas markets.

I just loved the vibe in the city. One of my Uber drivers was originally from Belgrade. He has cousins who live in Philly and has been there himself. He told me that “Vienna is like Philly without the [crime].” (He used other words here but I’m being PC.)

Vienna is international; diverse and welcoming. The air feels fresher and the atmosphere is low-key. You don’t have to be posh and well-dressed to fit in.

Palaces, museums and other architectural marvels are obviously everywhere. You should at least go into a couple of them if you have the time. I spent a whole morning at Schoenbrunn Palace walking the pristine grounds, taking fall foliage pictures, and admiring the sheer density of the place. It was ridiculously huge and elaborate.

Food is another highlight in Vienna. Every bite I had — including the “crazy” pizza I created during the Yelp event — was delicious. Dining out in the Czech Republic isn’t really a big thing. Most people eat at home aside from special occasions. Plus the food is kind of meh to me overall. Very meat heavy. Not many greens. Not really my thing.

But Vienna is perfect to me. An ideal balance of healthy tasting meat, lots of greens, and plenty of flavor. I can’t say I had a single bad meal there.

My stay in Vienna was incredible and incredibly brief. It’s a place I’ll certainly remember for making me so happy. Despite being on a solo adventure the whole time, I never really felt alone. It takes a special place to make someone feel that way.