Two days out of Vienna, and I am still waiting for strong impressions of my first time in a Germanic-flavored city to cross my mind. Beautiful city-not surprisingly, I suppose-unbelievably clean, quiet, serene,uncrowded but not dead, and well-kept. It all seemed very civilized, and maybe one of the best-kept secrets in the EU as a totally liveable and slower-paced city than most urban centers. You certainly wouldn't know that half of it was bombed to kingdom come during WW2 for its (readily accepted?) role as a stronghold of the 3rd Reich. Whatever was reconstructed post-war (in a mere 7 yrs or so, although it was under control still of the allies until 1955) fits in seamlessly.
I confess that in true ugly American-centric fashion, my knowledge of European History is shoddy and vague at best, but with each country I visit, I manage to learn tons about the role of each city, um, over the past 2,000-odd years in the best walking through history ways. So yeah; the Austrians were huge in their day, dude. Owned it all. Didn't fuck around with the palaces, either: built some doozies. They wisely married into every other monarchy they could possibly join with to expand their empire. Nice work, all in all.
Kate, by the way, is now the Queen of Viennese history. Alas, not yet a Habsburgh baronness. (Two weeks left to find Christopher Plummer in 2007 form!)
One more thing to add to the universal rules of comedy that monkeys/retards/midgets are always funny: recorded, overly-enunciating voices speaking German are always funny.