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Tuesday, October 27, 2015

GAWA Day #41: Vienna--The Best City in the World

The Quality of Life Index is used by Mercer to rank 230 cities.  New York City is given a rating of 100, and ends up as #44 on the list.  For seven straight years, Vienna (108.6) has been ranked as the BEST.  The worst at #230 is Baghdad.  

#2 is Zurich and #3 Auckland.  For the USA, San Francisco #27, Boston #34 and Honolulu #35 (we were #28 three years ago).

Vienna, with a population of 1.8 million, is the capital and largest city of Austria.  Call it  the City of Music (Strauss/Mozart) or The City of Dreams (Freud), this site has had continuous habitation since 500 BC. At one time about a century ago (1913), Adolf Hitler, Leon Trotsky, Joseph Tito, Sigmund Freud and Joseph Stalin lived within a few miles of each other in central Vienna.

Interestingly enough, 32% have no religion, 41% are Catholics and 12% Muslim.  Known for giant Wiener Schnitzel (veal cutlet, left) and Sachertorte (a kind of very sweet chocolate cake with apricot jam).  White wine is served with sparkling water and coffee houses are exceptional.

The important tourist attractions are Schonbrunn  Palace (which also has the world's oldest zoo), Hofburg in town and 100 art museums.  The Lipizzaner horses are here and so is the Vienna Boys' Choir.  The highlights come tomorrow, with the focus on an individual who will astound you.
We had a rather spectacular dinner at the Palai Pallavicini.  First here are two ladies, Lesley from Australia, and Lareene from New Jersey, who are among the six independents (not a couple), so we have sat at various functions together:

Our table, with Vinnie and Fran from New York, Marvja and Elvira from Panama and Lareene/Lesley:


While the creamed pumpkin soup, filet of salmon and Schmankerlparfait Pallavicini (ice cream dessert) were outstanding, amazingly enough, I thought the simple green salad with a radish and raspberry vinaigrette stood out as the best, so I feature this dish:


The Viennese performances could well have been the highlight.  The nearly two-hour long program with a seven piece classical assemblage, plus singers and dancers was sterling:



This is a view of the room and entertainment:


Our fabulous dessert, here with Vinny and Fran:


Tomorrow, the most extraordinary female in history:  Maria Theresa.

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