Vienna. I'm not sure how I'd missed it for so long. When I came to Austria in 1979, I only went to Innsbuck. I guess that's because I'd been so into the 1976 Winter Olymipcs. From the little of Vienna that I've seen so far, I like it a lot. It's pretty stunning: high on charm and grand 19th century buildings, many rebuilt since the war. Not chic or happening, but defintely alive. Work is going really well ... I managed to plow through the jet lag and go straight from my overnight flight to 5 hours of meetings.
But let's cut to the highlights:
- NEAR BRUSH WITH CONDI: The U.S. and its "allies" (using the term very lightly) are trying to get Iran to the table to talk nukes. Where have they converged to strategize? Vienna. Where am I? Vienna. Where are we both staying? At the Bristol/Imperial hotels. I missed seeing Condi in the flesh by about 2 minutes. But we kind of brushed paths – I had to shift one of my meetings so that the hotel staffer could attend to her needs first. W-ever.
- ACTUAL BRUSH WITH HENRY: Yes, I passed Henry Kissinger twice today in my hotel. He looks fantastic. Short, but really robust and together. I didn't tell him "You're Awesome!" like I told Liza, but then again, he's a Republican.
- FANTASY EVENING WITH LUDWIG: Better than either of these brushes with fame, I had the enormous pleasure of hearing the Vienna Symphony perform Beethoven's Ninth tonight, from an orchestra seat in the sold out Musikverein concert hall. (Thank you concierge at the amazing Hotel Imperial!) I'm telling you, God was in the house. It was one of those travel experiences where it all comes together and you're just floating on air. Over 100 musicians and singers. A breathtaking, historic room. One of the greatest pieces of music ever created. All in the heart of Vienna.
This was the kind of day this made me remember why I've spent my whole career in travel.
Special call-out to my friend Al, who pulled me in on this project and got me here. You rock.