Vienna’s Habsburg Opulence: From Classical Art to Drag Balls

Vienna by JJ KeyesI was a foreign exchange student in Germany back in the early 90’s. One of the highlights of my adventure abroad was a week-long excursion to Vienna. I got my first glimpse of Habsburg opulence at the Belvedere, devoured a genuine Sacher Torte at the Hotel Sacher, discovered Hundertwasser at the Kunst Haus Wien, and snuck out in the evening for schnitzel and Riesling at the Goldener Spiegel.

I’ve spent the last decade and a half daydreaming about dashing men in suits, smokey coffee houses, Mozart in the streets, and the art in abundance.

When Tom Dedek and the Vienna Tourism Board invited me to return to this great European capital I jumped.

197971_10150422346100487_1376741_nI made a Mozart and Wagner playlist on my ipod and slept like a baby on the Austrian Airlines direct flight from JFK to Vienna International Airport. When I woke up, my high school Deutsch flooded back, inspired by the handsome flight attendant who welcomed us to Austria.  I took the CAT train into town, checked into the fabulous Levante Parliament Hotel, right in the middle of town, and started a journey to remember.

Here are my recommendations for the ultimate Austrian tasting and touring adventure:


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