The “City that Loves to Grumble”, which city doesn’t?

This morning I was flicking through the BBC website when I saw a link to a piece that read “No Satisfaction:The beautiful European city where moaning is a way of life”. Before I had even clicked on the link, I guessed that this article would be about my gorgeous hometown, Vienna. You can read the article for yourself below, but in summary it rehashed the old myth that Vienna is full of discontented, grumpy sulkers who don’t know how lucky they are.

Well, I am sorry BBC, but this really is just poor and parochial stuff. The writer of the article has apparently lived in Vienna for 10 years. Has she ever lived in any other city or indeed anywhere else? EVERYBODY moans about where they live and people who live in wonderful cities often moan the most.

I have lived in Glasgow, Brussels, London, Paris, Singapore and Vienna. All are in their own ways amazing cities, each has something on offer that no other city can boast. In every one of these cities everyone moans about how awful it is to live there.

Think about the morning commute in London. There is a service interruption, the tube platform fills, that sighing and rolling of the eyes isn’t thousands of Londoners saying “oh well, never mind, it is an annoying little price to pay for living in Europe’s most amazing capital”, it is the inward scream of “why the Hell am I living in a place where it is so hard just to get to work?”. Londoners moan, all the time, about everything. When we first arrived in Singapore, so many Singaporeans whom we met asked us why on earth we wanted to live in such a boring city with such hot and humid weather? We lived there for three years and yes, the weather took some getting used to, and yes, I moaned about it a LOT, but it was never, ever boring.

City living requires compromises, there are so many advantages to living with millions of other people, but there are obvious disadvantages. There is no city on earth that has that balance absolutely right and so people do what is human nature, they moan. It is  a natural, normal and human reflex.

City dwellers reserve the right to grumble about the wonderful spaces that they inhabit. They also reserve the right to defend them to the end when they are criticized by others. I love Vienna and the Viennese, just don’t get me started on the parking.

Vienna being gorgeous.    (link to the offending article!)


Categories: Vienna

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