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Trip Report Vienna/Budapest revisited

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I am going to post a bit about my great trip with my mother, ( 82) this past March, to Vienna and Budapest.

We had an uneventful on-time flight sequence from Valencia, Spain to Paris to Vienna. The wheelchair assitance for my mom was there the whole way.

Our car was waiting for us at the airport. Thanks to www. airportservice.at. Only 25 euros door to door up to four passengers. This service was mentioned on here by wtm003. thanks a lot!

I found fabulous rates at the Sofitel both in Vienna and Budapest on www.gtahotels.com, ( 98 euros including tax,), so that is where we stayed, since the Hotel Harmony in Vienna was full. Both are wonderfully located and had gorgeous breakfasts included. I got my Sofitel Privelege card in advance, but was advised upon arrival that unless I had booked through their website, the free upgrade and extras were not included.

The concierge in Vienna was so sweet, he gave us our free drinks anyway.. and arranged by phone for an upgrade in Budapest! So my hats go off to the staff at both hotels. We were treated like royalty.

After settling in we took a taxi around the town, past the city hall, parliament, etc., into the heart of the old town a bit and were dropped off close to St. Stephan´s. We then walked around and had a bite to eat on Neuer Markt at Le Bol. www.lebol.at

This is a real find, and is conveniently located while you are going from St Stephans´ down to the Opera. It was full of young moms, businessmen and students. Great soup, salads and some type of paninis were rolling out. We had wanted to go back another day but just didn´t have time.

After a bit of window shopping I left DM in a café while I went to stand in line to get standing room only tickets for us at the Opera. Fortunately, a young woman came up to the line to see if anyone wanted to buy her seat as she couldn´t use it.
I jumped at the offer, considering anything was better than standing room for mom at the sold out “La Boheme”. It turns out that this 9 euro box seat was fantastic!

I got my deluxe (3.5 euro) standing room seat, proceeded to put my scarf to “save my space”, and back off to the café to get DM. It was an absolutely fabulous production as you can imagine. The building itself is worth the visit.
We enjoyed wandering around during the intermissions to people watch, take photos and have a bite to eat or drink.

Standing room is really not that bad as there is a railing in front of you to lean on, benches outside to rest on.. and you even have the monitor along the railing with the English version of the opera. I prefer the main floor standing room ( unless, of course, I can get real seats!) as it is directly behnd some of the most expensive seating.

Another evening we went to see an unbelievable Ballet, Anna Karenina, coreographed by Boris Eifman at the Volksoper. www.volksoper.at (19 euros) This man is a genius. What a wonderful combination of contemporary and traditional ballet. He had all the dancers moving around more busily than usual, and created a whimsical, yet emotional production. One of the best ballets I have seen in a long time. We had had a delicious lunch ( menu of the day) at the well known traditional Weimar Café, just down the street, after we bought our tickets. www.cafeweimar.at

The next two days were full of walking, eating and enjoying the rainless weather we hadn´t expected. We had a few flecks of icy snow, but that was the only part that coincided with the internet predictions! We went to the horse exercise for a couple hours. I, personally, do not think this is worth the time and effort. A visit to the stables might be more interesting. The horses barely did anything spectacular, contrary to what I had remembered from years ago. Only two horses attempted a jumping flying kick. So, just trotting around in circles, and not even doing formations together, this is probably not for most. (And I would consider myself a “horse person”).

We also enjoyed the Royal Crypts and then the Hofburg Imperial Apartments.(With the audio guide this takes about 2 hours or more but is very, very interesting). Schoenbrunn was going to be too much on the inside for DM, but we enjoyed walking around a bit on the grounds, sampling Strudel in the café, as we did at Belvedere also.

HundertwasserHaus is always a fun place to visit. www.hundertwasserhaus.at We had a tea at a coffeeshop that has a free video about the artist himself.

Our last evening turned out to be a highlight: The Thursday dinner “ART and PLEASURE” at KHM, the Kunsthistorische Museum I had read about on here at Fodors, thanks to Malka. www.khm.at I had not been able to secure reservations, as they were fully booked, but made one last try, as suggested here.

Through the Sofitel we were given a fabulous table under the atrium.This buffet costs about 43 euros plus drinks. Your table is yours the entire evening. The museum is open late that night. You must also buy a ticket to the musuem. It was an elegant evening, with an occasional stroll between courses to check out the various rooms.

One can also have snacks in this atrium during regular hours. It is very pleasant.

We then took the “D” tram back to our hotel area, past all the monumental sites and “said goodbye” to Imperial Vienna.

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