Last Updated: Thu Jun 30, 2011 23:29 pm (KSA) 20:29 pm (GMT)

Nadia Idriss Mayen: Hallo Wien (Hello, Vienna!)

Among the pedestrian zed shopping streets, the main landmark is Stephansdom. (File photo)
Among the pedestrian zed shopping streets, the main landmark is Stephansdom. (File photo)

I am in Dubai, but I’m thinking about Vienna.

Welcome to Vienna! First sign I read every time I get off a plane in Vienna, Austria. It’s great reading signs at every airport you get off. It’s like they knew you were coming and they place this huge sign to make you smile and feel welcomed.

It’s only until you get to passport control and the grim passport officer stares into your face and asks “Passport.” You say to yourself: “Hmmm. Are they always this grumpy? Were they expecting a happy and glowing face with perfectly ironed clothes, fresh mint scent of shower gel to appear off a plane? Because no matter how flawlessly I do my hair and how much water I drink on the flight I never look like that person.”

Yet again, when you smile at them and when they ask “purpose of visit,” and you say I’m moving here! They smile back and say “Wilkommen!!”

Vienna… *sigh* Beautiful, old and great amount of history. Although it suffered great damages during World War II, think magical carriages and beautiful horses just like Cinderella.

The architecture is striking, I promise you every photograph looks just like a painting. Strolling down the wide streets you never know what to look at first. The sky, the old books store down the corner, the locals sipping their Viennese coffee topped with whipping cream at the side café.

The dessert is to die for. Landtmann Café one of Vienna’s oldest and most traditional café’s has by far the best cake I have ever had. I promise I must have tried over 40 cakes in there. Let’s just say I needed a new pair of jeans a month after my stay. If I were you, I’d go for the black forest cake. In German it’s called Schwarzwalder Kirschtorte. What’s better than chocolate cake, berries and whip?

Once you have satisfied your sweet tooth, I’d recommend walking down Vienna’s popular market, Naschmarkt. You find almost everything in the book from fresh herbs to old antiques. I bought myself a 100-year-old Mexican book. The city has so much to offer but for now let’s think of that delicious cake.

I am in Dubai, however, so think about that cake in Vienna is all I can do about it.

(Nadia Idriss Mayen of Al Arabiya English is Executive Producer of the Website’s Web TV. She can be reached at:

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