If you happen to follow my blog, you would have noticed that my parents had foregone the opportunity to go to Vienna from Budapest instead of Prague pre-the fall of communism.
I am glad that they did as it was certainly a once in a lifetime experience to see Prague in the light of communism.
I had always imagined Vienna to be very sophisticated, full of concerts, palaces, riches, opera, waltz and snow. So while I was studying in Paris, I made a point of making a trip to Vienna despite my dire student finances.
I found myself not in a snowy white Vienna but a bitterly sharp cold city in the month of March. The cold was very close to the New York biting cold, which you can feel in your bone narrow.
The buildings were nice, squares, palaces and cathedrals not much better than the ones in Germany, people definitely less friendly than Germans and the opera house utterly disappointing.
Maybe the cold stopped me from enjoying what is usually considered beautiful but I failed to see anything different or more praiseworthy than other places I have seen before.
My most memorable and enjoyable discovery in Vienna has been the Hundertwasserhouse, which is a surreal building almost stemming from a Salvador Dali painting. The building has variety of vivid colours and no straight line inside and out.
There was a Gustav Klimt exhibition when I visited this building and I have been an admirer of the artist ever since.
As for Switzerland, I have never really had any interest in going there. I am not very attracted to places where there isn’t much happening. I guess I seek a bit of chaos and disorder to enjoy and learn something new.
My visit to Switzerland also coincided with a period in my life where I had seen enough of Europe. Although there are many different countries and cultures in the continent, after a while, they all become and look the same. Switzerland is no different.
I went to Switzerland, specifically to Geneva for work reasons. I would say that Geneva is a less crowded, less show-off, more family friendly and a bit greyer version of Monaco. The city completely dies on the weekends. This is a place where 24 hours can really feel like 48 hours.
The old town is really charming and sweet but it can be seen in maximum an hour.Because transportation is extremely efficient in Switzerland, it is very simple travel to places like Lausanne from Geneva.Being a student town, Lausanne is a bit livelier during the weekends.
Switzerland must be an excellent place for people who want to raise their family in a secure, quite and beautiful place. However, for me, it is the very definition of boredom.