If you are someone like me, who has read more about various cities in foreign countries than actually experiencing them in person, visiting some of them is often an interesting experience. As a rule, I seem to prefer European cities far more than American cities; or cities on any other continent. Even so, none of them had so far really made me fall in love with any of them.

That has changed with Vienna. The city had been on bucket list for nearly 20-years now. Even though I started summoning up the courage (that is a different story in itself for another day) only couple of years ago to travel abroad, Vienna always had a mythical status on that list. Having seen all but a small slice of the city and its people, I must say that I have fallen in love, without a hint of an apology to it.

For me, the pictures of places that I have not been to are always drawn from books. The same goes for Vienna. I don’t remember much about the books I had read to form the picture of this city steeped in art, history and culture, but the urge to visit it remained strong through the years. And having now seen the place for real, it ticks all the right boxes the imagination had cooked up.

Coming fresh out of the chaotic daily madness of Bangalore, Vienna was the right mix of urban and not too many crowded places. The people have a sense ease with their own history and culture that they are very secure in it. They are warm to the point of welcoming, but not intrusive beyond what you offer to show to them.

Admittedly, a tourist’s view of a city is always different than life as a resident of that city. Even so, of all the cities I have been to so far, Vienna is the one that I felt most comfortable with.