I was in Vienna yesterday for the first time (I know, shame on me) - I love this city, I must come back!

The mixture of old and new, the wonderful Jugendstil buildings and ornaments, Fiaker (horse-and-buggy-vehicles carting tourists around for 40 Euros for half an hour), every other house with a placard and red and white flags marking it - "This is a house with a fancy door from (whenever)".

The Jesuit Church next door to the Academy of Sciences (Universitätskirche) is breathtakingingly ornate - and the organist is practicing, filling the empty church with music without having to be part of some ritual - it feels like this room was made to be filled with music like this. So much money invested in this church, so much gold, the pews are done with elaborate Intarsia... and of course by now my camera battery is dead. Follow the link above, there is a picture on the Wikipedia....

I sit and read the Gewissenspiegel, a guide for preparing for confession in the hymnals, while the music flows around me. Suddenly, practice is over. There is silence in the church, except for my keyboard clicking, as I attempt to capture this moment.

I go back out into the autumn sun, which is shining brightly, the buildings shimmer in white and gold. The tourists are speaking many languages, but the city is not filled to overflowing. There are places to sit outside everywhere. Still - I am a bit cold, I go into a coffee house, have a latte and an Apfelstrudel - this is by far the very best apple strudel I have ever eaten!

There is Frakturschrift everywhere, especially on the street signs, but also on just normal shop signs. I find an old street sign right next to a Starbucks - and a few steps on I hear an American couple exclaim: Oh look, they have a Starbucks here!

A friend who studied here in Vienna gives me a tour of the town at 11pm. The major buildings are bathed in light, although it turns creepy when he tells me that this one place is where millons stood and cheered as Hitler stood up on that balcony proclaiming the annexation of Austria during the Third Reich. We keep walking on and on, there is still another building to see. I am dead tired when I get back to my hotel - after midnight, and I have to get up at 5.15 for the first flight back to Berlin.

Yes, I have to come back here - and believe me, I am not coming back for a Starbucks coffee.

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