When should you visit Vienna?
Ideally in the summers, most would say, when you can dive into the Danube, enjoy open air concerts, kick back a martini or five at a rooftop bar.
But I wanted to feel cold. It was my desire to walk the dark, miserable, gloomy streets of Vienna in the heart of winter. I picked late November–too late for outdoor drinks and too early for the ski-season crowds. Vienna at this time, would be as I wanted it: bare, bereft of action, boring.
Naturally, I was asked why. Among the many reasons twirling around in my head, I stated two of the best: “There is such a thing as too much of a good thing. I want to make friends with a city in its unfriendliest hours.” And then, the weather might be indifferent, but the prices would be pocket-friendly.
The weather forecast for late November was promising: “Expect only two hours of sunlight…and a lot of rain.” Bring it on, I thought, cramming my heaviest jacket into the suitcase, and picturing myself hugging a hot mug of coffee on a plush sofa in a cosy cafe.
Then we arrived in Vienna. It was late afternoon, and brilliant sunlight glinted on building glass and tree tops. The air was still a few degrees short of cold.
Soon, I was stripping the woollens off. The next seven days were spent roaming around in sweatshirts and a light jacket, accented with colourful stoles.
Though a small part of me was disappointed, I couldn’t afford to complain: Now I had both–friendly weather at friendly prices!
If you’re planning to visit Vienna this year, do consider late November. The city will be alight and alive with Christmas festivities. Drink hot punch, try the local food, take beautiful pictures, and make everlasting memories. Just don’t forget to pack your warmest jacket–this city sure can spring a surprise!