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mistybleu Vienna - A travel report by Amanda
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Vienna,  Austria - flag Austria -  Wien
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mistybleu's travel reports

Vienna waits for you…

  34 votes
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‘The hills are alive with the sound of music, with songs they have sung for a thousand years’. If you’d seen this film, this is a common feeling when entering Austria; and there is no place like Vienna to experience the very best music.


Johann Strauss Statue
Johann Strauss Statue
I have to apologise to all Austrians for that reference, but it made me think of other misconceptions about the country, so in style of David Letterman of the Tonight Show, here are the top ten misconceptions of Austria:

At number ten, the only film to be shot in Austria is ‘The Sound of Music’,
9. The only industry that does well is tourism,
8. It has the highest consumption per capita of Red Bull,
7. Austrian athletes are only good at winter sports,
6. Austria used to be a communist country
5. Hitler was German and Beethoven was Austrian,
4. Austrian wine has glycol (anti-freeze) added to sweeten the taste,
3. Austrian cultural exports centres around, yodelling, Tyroler featured hats and Lederhosen,
2. Arnold Schwarzenegger is the most famous Austrian to have lived,
And the number one misconception about Austria is that there are kangaroos hopping around in Austria.

With that said, some actual facts would be helpful. Austria is mostly a mountainous country, with the Alps and the foothills in the south and west; and towards the east are the lowlands encompassing Vienna - the capital with the river Danube running through it. It has a population 1.5m and is the largest city in Austria. Much of the city was destroyed during the World War II, but some of the buildings that remained are very interesting.

Vienna is the home of classical music and whilst Mozart was born in Salzburg, they seen to have adopted him and is only rivalled by Strauss; but many classical artists came from Austria including Hadyn, Schubert and whilst Beethoven is German, he made Vienna his home.

Vienna is a lovely compact city and is ideal to spend a weekend; personally I think you must to have an appreciation classical music, museums and cafes to really enjoy Vienna - as much of the city surrounds these three things.

For further information check out: www.aboutvienna.org or www.viennaconcert.com.

Favourite spots:
Schloss Schonbrunn
Schloss Schonbrunn
This palace was but initially to rival Versailles Palace in France, however when Marie Theresa the empress of Austria needed a summer residences for her 16 children, it was scaled down to accommodate her family.

This is a fabulous Palace to explore, it’s best to spend the day, if you have time. Tours are available, the first tour, the Imperial Tour consists of viewing 22 rooms, while the Grand Tour includes 40 rooms and last about 50 minutes. It costs between 11 and 15 euros, depending on which tour you take.

Within the compound, apart for the wonderful gardens there is Gloriette which from the top gives wonderful views of Schoenbrunn, then there is a zoo, maze, labyrinth, the Orangey, marionettes theatre, a children’s museum, a carriage museums, a bakery, Privy gardens and a few cafes. To be honest, just walking through gardens is a pleasurable experience, or copying the locals and us it as your jogging circuit.

www.schoenbrunn.at

What's really great:
Public Transport...
Public Transport...
The size of the city is wonderful for exploring with many of the concert halls, museums, churches and coffee shops in the heart of the city or along the Ringstrasse. This is where I came across bicycles for rent. I’m not sure when it was launched but the tourist office has a new scheme of providing bikes for rental to tourist (or anyone) to get around the city.

Basically there are 40 locations (usually near a metro station) where you can pick up bikes; firstly you need to purchase a bike card, and then it is as simple as taking one of the many bikes and enjoy the many cycle paths around Vienna.

The first hour is free and then it works out to around 1 euro per hour. However, in order to cycle free all day you have to return the bike every hour, wait 15 minutes and then just take another bike. This is really a great cheap way to get around the city and see all the sights.

Sights:
Stephandom or St Stephen's Cathedral
Stephandom or St Stephen's Cathedral
Some of the places of interest are:

The Kunsthistorisches Museum is located in museum district, it has a wonderful collection of art, much of which were first housed in the Belvedere. It has Klimt's The Kiss, The Peasant’s wedding by Brueghell the Elder, Caravaggio’s Christus und die Junger in Emmaus, as well as pieces from Rembrandt, Rubens etc.

Stephandom is the heart of the city with a beautiful coloured roof. From here it’s possible to take a horse and carriage ride or enjoy the street performers. www.stephansdom.at

The Spanish Riding School is world famous for the dancing Lippizaner stallions. Twice a week, hourly performances are held, however cheaper tickets are also sold for the training sessions.

Schloss Belvedere is a lovely baroque residence which was built in 1714 for an Austrian general. It has two museums in the grounds with the botanical gardens next door. At present its exhibition pays tribute to Das Neue Osterreich – The New Austria.

Accommodations:
Hilton Vienna
Hilton Vienna
I was pleasantly surprised with the Hilton Vienna. It was really fantastic; refurbished in May 2004, it still felt and looked good. It is very central and if taking the CAT from the airport it only takes 16 minutes and the station is just across the road. I only had breakfast and lunch in the Sparks restaurant and it was nice, if not a little chaotic. Whilst they should be able to look after a lot of people at once, the service was slow. But all in all a great location to stay. It is right next to Stadtpark where the statues of Strauss and Schubert are located; and is only about a 15-minute walk to St Stephen’s Cathedral. Also as there are three Hiltons in Vienna, it is also possible to take the shuttle between.

I also stayed in the Artis Hotel a lot less glamorous, if not a little tired around the edges. It is about 3km for the centre and took about 25minutes from the airport by metro. It is about a 10 minute walk to the Schloss Belvedere and the Botanical gardens.

Nightlife:
The Waltz
The Waltz
I found two night clubs next to each other, Nous Night Club and the American Bar Loos, located on Karntnerstrasse. Loos if a funny name for a nightclub but it was named after the Secessions artist Adolf Loos who designed the interior.

I also found ‘Plug-In’, on Friday nights they have great raves with every kind of music, most recently they had a 80’s night.

But at the risk of sounding old, Vienna is known for its concerts and there are so many to choose from. Firstly there is Mozart which is held in fine concert halls like – Musikverein and Konzerthaus. The orchestra is dressed in period costume, complete with wigs and this creates a special atmosphere; or Strauss held in the fabulous Kursalkon in Stadtpark. The evening is made even more special by combining it with dinner and dance – trying to waltz, whilst unusual nowadays, it can be chalked up to experience.

Hangouts:
Klimit - Schloss Belvedere
Klimit - Schloss Belvedere
Gossip is just behind the Hilton Vienna on Ungaragasse. It’s a traditional pub and from the outside it doesn’t even look like one, but inside it’s a cool place to while away the hours which is not too expensive.
www.gossip.at

Mocca Club is a coffee house turned cocktail bar in the evenings. It has a lovely feel, decorated with is rich dark wood furniture. There are little private areas in the back where you can sit and chat without the gaze of passing traffic. It is located on Linke Wiewzeile opposite the Naschmarkt and it’s a top place to chill.
www.moccaclub.com.

Restaurants:
Welser Weingut Heuriger in Grinzing
Welser Weingut Heuriger in Grinzing
Located in the wine region of Grinzing is Welser Weingut Heuriger. A Heuriger is a vineyard tavern for sampling the new wine; it is set in a garden, completed with some folk music being played while you dine. This is a lovely experience, especially in summer when the evenings are long and hot, where you can sit underneath the stars and dine in a wonderful floral garden. The food is typical Viennese with Wienerschnitzel served with various types of salads, as well as cold meats, washed down with carafes of wine.

For something a little more upmarket the Palais Coburg is a fantastic restaurant (hotel) located on Coburgbastei opposite Stadtpark. I had a set menu which included the local speciality of Tafelspitz which is boiled beef served with sautéed potatoes and cream spinach, with either apple or chive sauce. Followed by Zwetsowkerroster (pancakes served with plum sauce) all in all a wonderful meal with wonderful service.

See my travel tips for further details.

Other recommendations:
The Sezession Museum
The Sezession Museum
At either end of the spectrum is shopping and scenic walks; Kohlmarkt has all the designer shops, Karntnerstrasse has more down market brands and both are pedestrianised. A lovely way to spend the day is to visit the Wienerwald - Vienna woods. It’s a great day out and exploring the little villages, vineyards and castles along route.

Sezession Museum was started by rebel artists led by Gustav Klimt, now are looked upon quite favourably; the building is unusual but the works inside are great.

Sigmund Freud’s museum - the father of psychoanalysis; he lived and worked in this building and it now housed a complete collection of all his works. He was forced to emigrate to England in 1938. www.freudmuseum.at

The Prater is home to a fair ground and a large ferries wheel which was built in 1897. Its carriages are wooden and were featured in the James Bond film 'Living Daylight'. It is also from here you can see the River Danube.

Published on Wednesday July 6th, 2005


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Tue, Nov 16 2010 - 01:17 PM rating by porto

Amanda, your reports are truly inspiring. :)

Wed, Feb 21 2007 - 05:19 PM rating by travler

Your report was excellent and the pictures wonderful.
The city is beautiful I wish that the people were.

Thu, Sep 28 2006 - 12:45 PM rating by mrscanada

Thanks for the memories. When I was there I got so excited when I saw
Mozart house and Johann Strauss Statue.

Fri, Dec 02 2005 - 02:21 PM rating by delfster

hi amanda... this is terrific :) i like your vienna. cheers, delvi.

Thu, Oct 27 2005 - 01:13 PM rating by isaacmolina

explendid report!!!

Sat, Oct 22 2005 - 05:42 AM rating by toribio

ALL YOUR REPORTS ARE VERI GOOD

Mon, Jul 11 2005 - 05:58 PM rating by magsalex

Yet another incredibly informative and well written report!

Fri, Jul 08 2005 - 02:33 AM rating by britman

Yet another great ***** report. Well done

Thu, Jul 07 2005 - 04:32 PM rating by jorgesanchez

Very erudite report!
You deserve at least 5 stars!

Thu, Jul 07 2005 - 04:02 PM rating by rangutan

"Wunderbar", detailed report with great pictures

Thu, Jul 07 2005 - 01:37 PM rating by bear495

What a wonderful report about "Wien." As always, you have such a thorough manner of describing everything in your reports. I am honored to know you.

Russ

Thu, Jul 07 2005 - 09:21 AM rating by christianj.

Hi Amanda,

indeed, Vienna is not as outmoded as many people think. Vienna is a 'vital city'! Beside it's perfect informations your report made me SMILE :-))) !

Christian

Thu, Jul 07 2005 - 09:02 AM rating by davidx

First class.

Thu, Jul 07 2005 - 08:23 AM rating by gloriajames

Simply Smashing!!! Will make a trip to Vienna some day and soon!
Thanks for a wonderful report.

Thu, Jul 07 2005 - 02:19 AM rating by mkrkiran

Excellent report

Thu, Jul 07 2005 - 12:45 AM rating by ravinderkumarsi

hii amanda,
this report is really helpful to me as i am travelling to vienna withing few days
excellent report

Thu, Jul 07 2005 - 12:36 AM rating by picasso

Just outstanding,no other words i was able to find.*****
Boris

Wed, Jul 06 2005 - 09:57 PM rating by kandath

Awesome report Misty, Well Done!!
Kris Kandath

Wed, Jul 06 2005 - 09:01 PM rating by eirekay

Love the Top Ten List! Fantastic report!

Eire

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