Archive for June 28th, 2011

June 28, 2011

Why Vienna should be on your must-see list

Rock climbing on Bunker Tower in Vienna

An old WWII bunker tower has been transformed into a rock-climbing attraction in Vienna. (Julia Pelish photo)

[This story was published in the Toronto Star on June 15, 2011. I broke up a stay in Paris with three nights in Vienna in May and the sophisticated Austrian capital ended up becoming my favourite European city.]

VIENNA — Staid, conservative and beautiful in that European way are the perceptions of Vienna, the former seat of the Austro-Hungarian Empire known for its classical music, ballgowns and coffeehouses. It’s also a focal point for the modern art movement that began at the turn of the 20th century and that experimental, free-form thinking continues to impact the city in ways far beyond just its design aesthetic.

In his novella “The Third Man,” Graham Greene described Vienna as a “smashed, dreary city” after World War II. It had been divided by the Allies for about a decade. Sixty years later, it’s a bright, friendly place with a flourishing tourism industry.

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