2010 is, we’re told, the year of 3D television, so February 2010 was the month where I travelled to Vienna to see some of the new sets they’ll be selling very soon. These are actually quite impressive, with the two caveats that they’ll cost a fortune (in the region of £1500-2000) and there’s very little to watch on them right now. And, obviously, the effect is somewhat better when you stack nine humongous sets on top of one another, like so:

Vienna: 3D TV

But with that all dealt with I had three hours or so to see Vienna itself. Fortunately we were put up right in the middle of the city, at the rather posh Do and Co hotel, so I was able to stroll in a kind of circle around the town centre without wasting any time getting there in the first place.

The centre is dominated by the cathedral – huge, covered in scaffolding and with a remarkable roof that appears to have been made out of coloured Lego bricks. Past that, there are the usual shopping streets, stuffed full of horrible Mozart-themed tat shops and guarded by giant bears:

Vienna: Look out behind you!

.. but then a block or so further and you hit the rather grand architecture. Incredibly grand buildings are to Vienna as fried chicken shops are to South London – one around every corner, and soon blending into one despite having actually quite different facades.

In fact, there are so many staggering bits of old architecture that people don’t really seem to care – somebody was so nonplussed by this building and the statue in front of it that they saw fit to dump a huge ugly industrial generator there.

Vienna: Classy location for a generator

Note also the piles of snow: it was bitterly cold. Freezing slowly to death I headed further to Parliament and the Museums Quarter, which includes several apparently excellent art galleries placed around one square:

Vienna: Museums Quarter

.. but it was cold, empty and desolate, and most of the galleries in the modern art museum were closed for rehanging. Not quite what I was hoping for.

Fortunately, there’s one area in which Vienna can be guaranteed to excel: coffee and cake. Three of us took a trip to Café Central, apparently a favourite of Leon Trotsky, and stuffed down some of this:

Vienna: Cake

And then it was time for the rush back to the airport, full of caffeine and cream, and a long time spent circling about London waiting for a landing slot at Heathrow. All in all, an interesting place – but if I ever go back I’ll try to do so in summer and with time to check out the palaces properly. More photos here.

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