My husband and I have had the privilege of living in the beautiful city of Vienna, Austria for over a year with another year, or possibly more, ahead of us. Our decision to move to Vienna was an easy one to make when the opportunity was offered to us. Who wouldn’t want to spend their days sitting in the coffee house Sigmund Freud used to frequent (also Hitler, but we try not to think about him), or roaming the same streets Emperor Franz Josef once roamed? We sold all of our furniture, stored boxes of possessions in my in-law’s attic, made the move to Vienna and fell in love with this place that we now call our home.
Life in Vienna is relaxing if you let it relax you. If you’re like us and moving from a city life that’s nothing but “go go go”, the slowness and patience of Vienna may take you by surprise. In the beginning months of our time here, a friend and I were doing some window shopping downtown and at one point she tugged on my arm and said, “Holly! You can slow down here. We’re in no hurry. Just relax.” Her words to me were like a much needed medicine, and ever since that day I have let the city’s peacefulness and unhurried attitude take me over. Vienna’s waiters and waitresses follow this silent rule of thumb by taking your order, delivering your food, and letting you sit and chat as long as you’d like until you’re ready to pay. Vienna’s residents spill outdoors to find rest in parks and cafes and palace gardens. Austria’s work force is even given 5 weeks of a paid vacation! Rejuvenation and relaxation are important to the people of Vienna, and it can serve you well especially after welcoming in your retirement.
The slow paced life of Vienna is not to say that there’s nothing to do in this grand city. In fact Vienna is filled with activities and events of all kinds ranging from concerts to festivals to palace balls. Just a walk around Vienna’s famed “Ring Street” and you’re sure to find something going on. Last year alone, my husband and I attended Europe’s largest open-air music fest by the Danube, sampled various cuisines from around the world as we watched anything from documentaries to orchestras at Vienna’s Summer Film Festival, toured Vienna’s most famous palaces, and enjoyed our spots on the sideline as cyclists and runners raced by in the numerous marathons Vienna holds each year.
Vienna’s overall beauty is a kind that will leave you breathless time and time again. The streets are clean, the gardens are luscious and well-kept, centuries-old cathedrals and palaces tower over the city’s skyline. The importance of nature is heavily emphasized and can be witnessed simply by walking through Franz Josef’s “Volksgarten” (People’s Garden), or taking a long stroll through the Prater, Vienna’s largest public park. The city’s architecture speaks for itself and never ceases to impress.
Now to talk a little bit about the details. Most Viennese live in apartments, but a few districts are a little more house friendly. Apartment prices vary depending on the district you choose – naturally the apartments in the city center are much more expensive than most. Another important note: the higher the apartment floor, the higher the rent. At first I didn’t understand this concept because, why would anyone want to carry a sofa up 10 flights of stairs? Quite a lot of people, actually. The views are costly but worth it. Due to the increasing amount of people moving into Vienna, finding an apartment can take time. It took my husband and me close to two months to find the one we live in now.