first time in Vienna

Old Sep 10th, 2004, 03:43 PM
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first time in Vienna

This will be my first trip to Vienna in Mid October. What are the things I should not miss? I enjoy music, history also I would like to enjoy the cafe's.
thanks,
Mike
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Old Sep 10th, 2004, 06:22 PM
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Mike, Vienna is a city rich in history with some stunning architecture, food, music and museums. Check Vienna under Fodor's Destinations heading and you will find a great 3-day itinerary. Also, check out this website for additional information:

http://info.wien.at/article.asp?IDArticle=10063

You definitely can't go wrong with visits to Schoenbrunn (the summer Palace) and the Hofburg Palace as well as St. Stephens Cathedral and the Natural History and Fine Arts Museums on the Ringstrasse.

Cafe Central and Demel's are two of my favorite cafes but there are many.

Mid-October should be a great time to visit.
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Old Sep 10th, 2004, 07:00 PM
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The Natural History Museum in Vienna shows a dready collection of skulls covering from bottom to top an entire room...urgh.. The Kunsthistorisches Museum, (Museum of FIne Arts) on the other hand has great works of Titian, Velasquez and Flemish Artists. If you like fine arts this might interest you.
I agree, the Schoenbrunn Castle and the Hofburg are worth a visit. I also liked the Hundert Wasser House (the house of 100 waters) a relatively new artistic creation by this particular austrian artist that created a small quarter in the heart of Vienna by building crazy buildings that in a way remind the style of Salvador Dali. You see trees coming out of buildings, entire walls painted in different colours, shops, restaurants and houses articulated on different levels. It is a bit abstract but very pleasant.
The Prater is in my opinion not worth a visit because it is just a fun fair good for kids.
If you enjoy music go and visit the Opera for concerts, and visit the Votivskirche or the Karlskirche that sometimes hold classic concerts (the acoustic makes the music sooo beautiful).
How about having a dinner in the typical Heurigen? Try going to Grinzing for one night, it s a characteristic thing for those visiting Vienna.
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Old Sep 10th, 2004, 11:03 PM
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See http://www.straughan.com/travel/austria.htm for our trip/
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Old Sep 11th, 2004, 04:59 AM
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best european bargain is the "stehplatz" sold at ballets and operas for functions at the opera house.
you can see a world renown ballet or opera for less than a cup of coffee if you are willing to rough it a bit.
very organized and pleasant.

we went to an opera or ballet every night this way, and if we got tired or were not that thrilled with it, just left. forfeiting about $2.

i also enjoyed the library in the old part.
cant remember the name but it was very impresive..

disppointed in SACHER torte at sacher hotel.
probably the worstone we had and most expensive.

if you go in winter, be prepared to pay to leave your jacket or coat EVERYWHERE.. even in caf'es.
we had lots of jokes about that budget.. no one mentions it.. but if you are going in and out of cafes all day, four friends.. it gets to be ridiculous!!! gave us laughs though.

one thing i loved.. absolutely no cell phones allowed in cafes and most restaurants.what peace.

an upscale delicatessan had very nice sandwich /hot food department. someone help please with the name! jacob something?? it was very near the central plaza.

lots of great taverns near the French Lycee. take tram "D" out of the ring a couple stops and there are three places to chose from. reasonably priced food and away from the tourists. the plates were so big there we shared most everything. especially the Konig's dessert.. big powdered sugar coated funnel type cakey thing.

always so much to do in vienna.
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Old Sep 11th, 2004, 11:54 AM
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ttt
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Old Sep 12th, 2004, 05:56 AM
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Hi
do take a tour of Schonbrunn Palace, just on the outskirts of Vienna, you can take the Ubahn or a taxi. Gorgeous place, formerly the Kaiser's summer palace.

I have a file on Vienna; I'm going to email it to you.
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Old Sep 12th, 2004, 09:11 AM
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You might want to read my Trip report: Austria but mainly Vienna.
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Old Sep 12th, 2004, 03:08 PM
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Thank you everyone for the help. Michael how can I find your trip report?
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Old Sep 12th, 2004, 04:46 PM
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For a fast find, type Wilhering in the search box.
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Old Sep 13th, 2004, 06:55 AM
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"an upscale delicatessan had very nice sandwich /hot food department. someone help please with the name! jacob something?? it was very near the central plaza."

The place you are refering to is Julius Meinl am Graben. Very nice upscale grocery store, with a cafe on the street level and a sit-down restaurant on the 2nd floor. The food was tasty, but small portions and seemed expensive when we were there July'04.
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Old Sep 13th, 2004, 08:02 AM
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Mike,

If you're really into history and have a taste for the slightly off-beat and macabre, visit the Capucine Crypt where most of the Austrian imperial family are buried (except for Marie Antoinette and a few others). It is a complex of chambers with amazingly elaborate tombs dating back to the early 1600s. The last one buried there was the exiled former Empress Zita, who was nearly 100 when she died back in the late 1980s. Anyway, the crypt was one of the most intriguing things I saw in Vienna, apart, of course, from the other major sites already mentioned. Of course, I am a big history buff, so that may be part of the reason I enjoyed it so much. If you want to know just who is buried there, get the English guide with short bios - I wish I had it while I was touring the tombs!

Also, there is a nice restaurant near the crypt called the Augustinerkeller where I had a huge Stein full of delicious white wine and what seemed like a very Austrian meal. It's a good thing I was hungry!

If you love music, you may also want to visit Figaro House where Mozart lived while composing "Marriage of Figaro" and some of the other composer museums. A visit to the Opera House would also be worth it although it is not cheap.

For something very different, have a look at Sigmund Freud's old abode on the Berggasse. Seeing that infamous couch and the primitive art that Freud collected may also be of some interest.

Lastly, get a good travel guide and have a wonderful time in Vienna!
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Old Sep 13th, 2004, 08:18 AM
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I would also recommend seeing the Kunsthistorisches Museum. It is a beautiful museum. Have a pastry in the centerhall cafe...what an amazing setting.
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Old Sep 13th, 2004, 08:18 AM
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The tenor Michael Schade has a nice article with his suggestions on where to eat and drink in Vienna at http://www.mschade.com/images/ms_vienna.pdf
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Old Sep 13th, 2004, 09:35 AM
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Rebecka, did you realize that only the empty bodies are in the tombs in the Kapuzinergruft? The hearts are buried in a church nearby (Augustinerkirche), the other organs in the catacombs of St. Stephen's.

Vienna really has a reputation of being morbid. I would recommend to visit the Zentralfriedhof (central cemetery, more than 2 million people buried, among them a lot of celebrities) and the St. Marx cemetery (where Mozart is said to be buried, but nobody knows where...)
 
Old Sep 13th, 2004, 10:26 AM
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Mike: I just scanned quickly through this thread so hope I'm not repeating what has already been suggested. We very much enjoyed our visit to the Belvedere Palace. www.belvedere.at We went specifically to see the Klimts but enjoyed the rest of the collection as well.

The building and gardens are beautiful and the view of Vienna is superb.

I agree Sacher torte was a disappointment. My impression was baked chocolate flavored sawdust!
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Old Sep 13th, 2004, 11:39 AM
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viennese,

Yes, I did know about the hearts being buried elsewhere, but I'm glad that you posted it here as it is an intriguing bit of information. I forgot about the entrails, however. Some of the things that intrigued me in the crypt were the contrast between Empress Marie Theresia's grand double coffin - as big as a room - and that of her son, Josef II's (Mozart's patron) simple, crucifix
adorned coffin. An Emperor's coffin surrounded by those of his 4 consorts was also amusingly morbid in its way. I thought the kitschy plastic Christmas tree on the tomb of another Habsburg very tacky until I learned that this lady had introduced Christmas trees to Austria. Aha!

Sadly, I never made it to the cemetery where Mozart is thought to be buried. I've also heard that his burial in a mass grave had nothing to do with poverty; mass graves being decreed by the Emperor to prevent the spread of plague. Is this true?

viennese, do you happen to live in Vienna? Truly a lovely city and so clean - or at least it was in 2000. Hope to return one of these years!

For those of you who want to visit another "spooky" city, I would recommend Edinburgh, which, like Vienna, is rich in history and charm.
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Old Sep 14th, 2004, 02:14 AM
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Second Kunsthistorische Museum for food, but suggest going Thursday evening for their buffet dinner - with entry to museum it costs around 45Euro, but book in advance. Setting is superb and the food is good with excellent starters - smoked salmon, prawns etc, so certainly not a cheap menu. Go at around 6, see some of the paintings, then tuck into the starters and wander around missed rooms for digestion between courses. Quite a few people were dressed for the occassion.
Also agree with Prater observation - second rate, rather grotty fun fair in an area which is due to be done up (probably started) but in 2003 was still crap. Wandering through the Prater Park is pleasant but if only there for a few days the centre and Museumsquartier are the highlights.
The Jesuitskirche in the first is stunning - and as it is not so grand from the outside as say Karlskirche is more of a surprise.
Meinl is a beautiful store but what a rip off. It was my local supermarket but I resented paying 20% more for even the real basics.
I must admit to being surprised at the no mobile phone observation - usage in cafes etc seemed common enough to me.
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Old Sep 14th, 2004, 03:18 AM
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Mike,
Even if you do not go to the opera, you should definitely try to make one of the operahouse tours which, I think, are conducted in English several times a day.

As for a restaurant/cafe recommendation, I have two. First for delicious tortes and pastries, try a coffeeshop called Aida (there is one at Stephansplatz and one across from the Operahouse). The place itself is not so impressive but when in Vienna last Christmas Eve, it seem that there were alot of locals enjoying the sweets (I don't think they serve any substantial food items). The price is good and I don't think you will be disappointed.

The second place I can recommend is a MUST! It is called Figlmueller and it has fantastic big-as-your-plate wiener schnitzel (reportedly the most famous in all of Vienna). Make sure you make a reservation as the restaurant is always packed. The website is www.figlmueller.at

Hope this helps. Enjoy your trip!
Amy
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Old Sep 14th, 2004, 05:01 AM
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Mike:

Vienna in October is beautiful IMO. You've gotten a lot of great suggestions about what to do. One thing I found that I loved was just walking around the city and taking a ton of photos of the buildings. Hopefully the leaves will be turning their bright fall colors while you're there! (I'm so envious )
As bettyk said, the architecture IS amazing.

Whatever it is you decide to do while there, have FUN.
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