|The Golden Hall of Musikverein sets the stage for musical moments in a gilded age. (Raymond Zhou/China Daily)|
A day trip to Vienna can be hectic, but Raymond Zhou finds many interludes of repose that are suffused with quiet excitement.
I went to Vienna for music, but I stayed for a place to sit - at least to give my blistered feet a rest. Everyone knows the Austrian capital is a great city for music, both making and enjoying it, but never did I expect it to be a wonderful hangout for relaxation - reclining on a chair and refreshing myself while taking in the scenery and the architecture, and of course the myriad people moving around, some in period costumes.
If you spot a Mozart lookalike, don't be surprised. The music prodigy used to live here, and Mozarthaus, where he stayed for three years, is now a museum.
Sightseeing in Vienna is both convenient and cost- efficient. A 6.7-euro ($8.70) ticket allows one to use almost all public transport for a day.
I started by taking the subway to the main attractions, but I soon realized I was skipping a lot in-between. The Historic Center of Vienna, which is on UNESCO's World Heritage list, covers 3.71 square kilometers with a buffer zone of 4.62 sq km, therefore easily accessible for those who prefer walking.
Everywhere you look, there are imposing baroque buildings that evoke grandeur and history. St. Stephen's Cathedral stands out for its late-Gothic style and its milling crowd. But if you veer off to the back, you may well end up in the alley of Mozart's residence.
As I had only half a day for tourist activities, or, gawking around, I was dashing from place to place without any plan. Yet, I managed to cover a wide area that let me gain a firsthand knowledge of the city and its legacies.
My first lesson learned was that the "blue Danube" is not really blue. Also, flowing through the city are a Danube, a New Danube that runs parallel to it and a Danube Canal that skirts the historic center.