To cut a long story short, we landed in Vienna, we were warmly welcome right in the airport and transferred to the city. Austrians speak
Austrian German, which I can barely understand, but is no problem for my Dutch fellow: he understands it fairly well and can speak it to a certain extent (that is, it's advisable to have a Dutch fellow traveler in Austria).
Vienna (Dutch Wenen, German Wien) is a typical European city. It's clean enough and multinational enough. It looks very differently than Holland, and especially Amsterdam, in terms of architecture. Amsterdam is very compact: streets, sidewalks, tiny cafes, coffee houses and restaurants with a few small tables. Vienna reveals much larger scale of the buildings.
Amsterdam is all built with dark red bricks. Vienna is in favour of different colours: white and yellow (which quickly fade to gray under lack of maintenance—that's why I like the Dutch approach better).
The currency is euro, and prices are similar to Dutch ones. Mains outlets use (luckily!) the same sockets as in Holland (and Russia).
Curious that it's common to protect apartments from burglars with a sliding grating mounted just outside the entry door (unlike Holland, where no effort is made at all, or Russia where a heavy metal door is a must):
Our house was built in late XIX century. At that time it wasn't fashionable to have elevators in houses, but handy Austrians managed to find a half square meter for an elevator exactly enough for an average-sized Dutch:
The result is a very uniting device (simply try to share it with three people).
It's time for sightseeing. Palm trees in tubs are set out in the street:
Funny plates warn about fines for dog dirt:
Every post's got newspaper for fair people, who throw money into a special box:
I can hardly imagine amount of work needed to distribute all those newspapers, and to collect the money afterwards.
There are many expats and tourists in Vienna; Russians are also not so rare there.
The inviting party was very familiar with entertainment side of the city; thanks to that we've had a whole lot of good food, wine and beer (Austrians are somewhat haughty towards German wines and beers, and vice versa). We've had a good experience with traditional restaurant named Gigerl, located in a tiny street and barely visited by tourists — Austrian smoked meat with sauerkraut and wine Grüner Veltliner is a winning lekker-lekker!
We were lucky to find a feast (or fair) of the province Steiermark, mostly dedicated to wines (which are Austrian pride).
The small territory of Rathauspark hosts some half of city's inhabitants:
National amateur performances entertain the public:
Girls in traditional dresses offer various traditional things:
A number of green monsters welcomes drinkers:
And, talking about monsters, there's more to be found in the streets of Vienna:
Some people prefer to save themselves climbing up a wall:
Next: Part 3. Vienna. Prater