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Johann Strauss - the composer whose elegant light-heartedness sets the tone for any short break or holiday in Vienna. It is, above all, a city where you can relax and enjoy the culture.






But be warned - some of the attractions of Vienna are full of calories. You simply have to stop and sit and watch the world go by.






And that applies to the shop windows too!




My own trip to Vienna in September 2012 was all too short; just five days. But, to be honest, I was already getting exhausted with the excess of it all; there was so much to see, and we'd hardlly scratched the surface of the city.


Personally, I'd recommend a policy of taking a number of short visits to Vienna; that way, there will always be something more to look forward to.






You should always be prepared for the unexpected!


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The Upper Belevedere Palace, housing a wonderful exhibition of works by Klimt, including 'The Kiss'. In good weather, just stroll up through the gardens that separate the Upper and Lower Palaces, taking in the fountains and views back over the city.


The staircase as you enter the Art History Museum, where you eyes are constantly being torn away from the art to marvel at the building itself. It's almost too much - impressive to the point of being intimidating.


But, being Vienna, you can also take coffee or a bite of lunch in the heart of the Museum - all done with a certain style. But clearly, nobody comes for coffee before about 10.30am, when this photo was taken.


And there seem to be such lively conversations going on!


In the heart of the Jewish Quarter stands this memorial to the many Jews from Vienna who died in the Holocaust. Rachel Whiteread has created an room full of books, but seen from the outside, their spines turned inwards. As with much of her work, it portrays loss by representing a space that is left when something is removed. Around the base are listed the various camps and the numbers of people killed. I defy you to circumnavigate it and not feel moved.


There is some remarkable Art Nouveau architecture. About 1900, Otto Wagner designed the Stadtbahn railway, of which this image is of part of the Karlsplatz station - which now houses a small museum and a cafe with remarkable cakes, or which two examples are shown in the left-hand column!


And here, flats by Otto Wagner.


But it is also a city where architectural styles of very different kinds blend together, as here at the West end of St Stephen's Cathedral.


The restrained elegance of the Opera House...


... and the baroque splendour of St Peter's Church.


During the day the centre of the city is filled with tourists and shoppers. Many take a carriage ride, snapping to righ and left. Notice the wonderful Art Nouveau architecture just behind the carriage.


Wandinging through the city at night, I came across this most appropriate of cafes!






Be warned...

Be prepared...


A break in Vienna can be heavy on two things: your feet and your pocket.


I'm not sure which is more tiring, the constant stop-start movement as you take in yet another gallery, or walking from one cultural venue to the next. To get the most out of Vienna you need stamina.


You also need a credit card ready to hand. Although there are places where the food is really good value, the drinks bill might well come as a shock if you choose one of the more fashionable places to do your people- watching. On the other hand, that applies to most fashionable parts of cities, it's just that Vienna has so much to tempt you.


At the very least, coffee and cake is a cultural necessity.


Take a stroll in the evening...


Although the architecture is splendid, being both varied - Baroque, Classical, Art Nouveau - and extensive, and the centre of the city is sufficiently compact to make walking a viable get around, the appeal of Vienna is certainly not limited to its obvious cultural and architectural treasures. Just take a stroll around the centre of the city late in the evening (and it's worth trying to stay near the centre for that very purpose) and you see bars and cafes packed with young people. It's not just a tourist trap, but a vibrant city.