The wee old man flashed a wide, amorous smile. His beaming face lit up the barren street. This was Vienna in peak wintertide: a solace, a dream, a wonderland. It was rare to find a beaming face in the streets of Vienna, even though there was much to love about this charming city. From the arts to its cuisine, Vienna delivers a tasteful getaway in a post-Soviet envelope. You can expect high tourism (with a side of homogeneity).

I followed my day plan through the city, knocking off all of the highest rated tourist attractions because you know me, I love a good tourist trap. But what I love even more is mouthwatering decadence. A friend suggested trying out Wien’s Original Sacher-Torte at Café Sacher. Invented by an Austrian named Franz Sacher, this chocolate cake was literally made for royalty. Sacher made one hell of an impression on Prince Wenzel von Metternich after the Prince sampled this culinary masterpiece. So much so that the Viennese marked December 5 as National Sacher-torte Day. With the sun hidden from view, the little café was met by a large crowd, all awaiting this popular treat.

The entrance led to the hotel lobby: charming and grand. The hostess then escorted us to an enclosed pavement terrace, Wien’s popular attraction, the self-proclaimed quintessence of Austria. A formal ambiance, filled with chatter from a seemingly cultured, mature crowd. This is no Brooklyn café– It’s more elevated; More classical; More engaged.

It’s no surprise that the likes of Freud, Mozart, and Beethoven chose to call this city home.

Onward– Vienna’s architectural grandeur beckoned a large audience. The Hofburg Imperial Palace teemed with inquisitive tourists dilly-dallying through the adorable Christmas markets.

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