Vienna is the first and only city I have visited in Europe. Attending the Global Peter Drucker Forum in Vienna gave me an opportunity to explore this beautiful city. It is steeped in culture and tradition and has preserved it's history beautifully while being remarkably modern. It is an amalgamation of old and new, of history and modernism. And for anyone with a taste for history, art, culture or just beauty....Vienna is a city which must be visited.
We initially put up at Novotel Wien City, which is very walking distance from the Danube river. It is walking distance from St. Stephen's Cathedral, which was the first place we visited in Vienna. On the way, we also caught a glimpse of Mozarthaus. St. Stephen's Catheral is an imposing church right in the middle of the city. Cobblestone paths lead up to the massive doors and inside it, there is an immense sense of peace. There is also a lift which takes you to the top of the bell tower from which you can get an aerial view of the city. Beneath the cathedral, there are catacombs for which guided tours are available .
Next we came back to the hotel for getting ready for the Drucker challenge get together at the Austrian National Library which is housed in the Imperial Palace, followed by guided tour of the library. It is beautifully ornamented with frescoes and statues, and bookshelves line the walls from floor to ceiling. Being a self proclaimed bibliophile, it was a thrilling tour for me. Apparently, the royal family was more interested in collecting books than fighting wars! After this, we walked to the Rathaus to attend the speakers' cocktail reception. Being inside the Vienna city hall was an experience to cherish.
The next day was spent at the conference, which took place at the Hall of Sciences. It was a part of the old Vienna University and still retains it's aura of learning and erudition. The day was spent listening to eminent speakers from the world over and meeting new people. The evening brought a 3 course fine dining experience at Marx Halle followed by a live musical concert.
The next day was again spent at the conference. And the day after that, we set out to explore Vienna. We started with a tour of the 40 rooms at the Schonbrunn Palace. The gardens surrounding it looked very beautiful with the colors of fall adorning the floor of the woods. Next we went to see the Austrian National Parliament, Hofburg Theatre and Volkstheatre. After having lunch, we went back to the Imperial Palace and walked around. The environs are beautiful and perfect for taking lots of pictures.
We did not have the time to visit the Imperial apartments and the Albertina Museum, but those of my friends who did, raved about them. The things to try out in Vienna are the the Viennese desserts, especially the Apple Strudel. The non vegetarians can try out the Schnitzel, while I found few options for vegetarians. I did eat a humongous vegetable sandwich, which was more like two pizza bases stuck together, with loads of cheese and vegetables. With this, our Vienna story came to an end, with memories to last lifetime.