Vienna was clean, and I mean really clean. There wasn’t graffiti on major landmarks, streets were litter free, the Ubahn was pristine. The Viennese took pride in their city and Austrians in general kept their public places very clean. What I also liked about the city was its general consistency in style. There was hardly a building that felt out of place or incongruous.
A lot of this came from the city planners but I felt like it reflected a lot about the Vienna lifestyle. The standard of living in Vienna is extraordinarily high. I caught the flu in Vienna and all of my treatment (two doctors appointments, two prescriptions and pain killers) cost me around 60 euro. I didn’t provide any sort of insurance or really anything other than my name. That is how health care should be and why the city felt so healthy. People took care of each other and created a culture that encouraged healthy living. Jobs were not meant to be stressful, schools encouraged learning and discouraged memorizing endless unnecessary facts. The concept of “teaching to the test” simply did not exist there. Vienna hasn’t changed much in half a century and this is no accident. If you provide for your people and create a system that supports a healthy standard of living then the city will thrive and remain that way.
That’s not to say that everything about Vienna was perfect. Far from it actually. Refugees were adamantly rejected from the city and diversity is shockingly low. Even in Vienna which is by far the most diverse city in Austria it felt extremely homogenous. The largest minority group, the Turkish, are openly shunned and mocked by many Viennese. Friends of mine weren’t allowed into certain restaurants or bars because of how they looked. The city of Vienna was beautiful but as with anything theres an ugly side that not everyone gets to see.
Photo taken on: May 14th, 2016