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Help me celebrate my daughter's 10th Birthday in Austria!

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Oct 9th, 2015, 07:29 AM
  #1
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Help me celebrate my daughter's 10th Birthday in Austria!

My husband was invited a few weeks ago to present at a conference in Vienna. My daughter turns 10 shortly and since my husband's airfare and hotel for three nights will be covered we thought this might be a fabulous opportunity to celebrate her 10th birthday and take a family vacation in Austria.
My husband and daughter are US citizens however I still have my original passport and needed a visa to travel to Europe. I was able to get a Schengen visa only yesterday (Phew) and so it appears that we will really be traveling next week!
Additionally,I suffered a concussion a few weeks ago and while I am mostly recovered I am still having difficulty with attention to detail and spatial reasoning so I am requesting your patience with me and would really appreciate it if you would take the time to reply.

Our daughter loves to draw and paint and has intrinsic artistic ability in that regard although she favors comic art and caricature the most.She is learning to play the viola and the piano, is a chocolate lover and active and adventurous by nature. she prefers activities that are geared towards older children or teens. She also loves horses! She has chosen to become a vegetarian recently and so for the most part we all tend to eat vegetarian meals. She also collects snow globes.

My husband and I love the water. It is simultaneously calming and soothing for us but also brings back a lot of special memories.

Miss K as we call her and I love to shop and the husband hates it.

We arrive at VIE on Thursday October 15 at 7.05 pm
And depart VIE on Wednesday October 21 at 9.25 am

So this will give us five days: Friday 16th thru Tuesday 20th October in Austria.

We are staying at the Imperial Riding School Renaissance from the 15th thru the 17th as that is where my husbands conference is located. On Friday the 16th my husband will be busy at the conference all day including dinner at the conference so it will be just Miss K and I that day and on the 17th he is busy until 5 pm.

I have just some thoughts at this point and am very anxious as our trip is just around the corner and as I mentioned the memory and concentration issues from the recent injury . So any advice including best routes, restaurants,etc. would be appreciated. Feel free to suggest an entire 5 day itinerary for us!

( potential things to do on trip : Spanish riding school, see a performance of the Vienna boys choir, st stephens cathedral, catacombs and horse carriage ride after, Danube river cruise/activity, prater park, schonbrunn palace, gardens and zoo, belvedere palace, visit a thermal spa?, house of music visit, day trip versus overnight stay in Salzburg, tram ride around Ringstrasse)

Friday 16th: ( Mom and daughter day):
80% chance of rain
10-12 noon: watch morning exercise at the Spanish riding school? Or is it better to pay for a performance? Distance wise is it too far from our hotel? I understand not much really happens during the morning exercise?
After that [email protected]?
Then Belvedere palace as it is walking distance from our hotel? Dinner?

Saturday 17th: Prater park in am. Currently looks like it won't rain that day.
What else? Shopping? House of music?
Dinner with all three of us? Where?somewhere in old town? Then perhaps we can go to St. Stephens cathedral at horse carriage ride also.

Sunday: 18th: weather data not available yet.
need hotel reservation first and foremost. Move closer to old town or stay three more nights at Imperial riding school Renaissance? ( this is an urgent issue we need advice on).
Attend 9.15 am mass at Hofburg to watch the Vienna boys choir ( versus watch them perform on the 20th at 7.30 pm at MuTh)? Then visit Hofburg palace or no?
Then go to the Danube? Don't want to do a dinner cruise. So are there other options for a Danube ride/cruise? Parks?
Snow globe museum?
Kuns Haus? Sunday children's tour?

Monday 19th: schonbrunn palace and zoo.

Tuesday: Salzburg. Take the train. Sound of music tour there? Which one? Walk around old town. Mozart birthplace? Eat at Saran Essbar?
See Vienna boys choir that evening( if we don't go to Hofburg)? Or swap Monday and Tuesday plans so we can see the choir without being crazy rushed back from Salzburg.

Other questions/comments:
Rain jacket or umbrellas for women: which is more common in Austria?
Coffee houses where K can have dessert as her lunch and Mom can watch the world are just fine as options on Friday or Saturday!
I would like to buy one smart outfit for K ( she is tall and wears teen sizes) and myself if possible. Ideas?
Would really like to have one of the dinners be a celebratory dinner for K. We can splurge on this one)
K would love to take an art class. Apparently many museums have drop in Sunday classes based on the tourist info site for Vienna but I could not find details at any museum. Would love more information on this if you have it.

Danke in advance. To all.
ramekin4 is offline  
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Oct 9th, 2015, 07:55 AM
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First, don't set your itinerary based on weather forecast. Compared to the U.S., the weather forecast for more than a day out is less predictable in Europe. Consider building in alternatives: if there is a fair weather only activity, identify them, and jump on them when first opportunity arises. Alternatively, have fall back plan if weather turns foul. While is seems obvious, in all cases, don't expend can-be-done on a rainy day activity on a fair weather day you could have used for something else. Having solid understanding of opening hours, travel times, transportation logistics, etc, would help you avoid "could have done that" disappointments.

The Wachau Valley loop Danube cruise is a classic. However, it is now off season and it is much tougher to complete this loop at this time: https://kombitickets.railtours.at/co...au-ticket.html

While stereotypical, sacher chocolate torte, is not to be missed. Everyone has favorite location. I liked Demel, Cafe Central, and Oberlaa. I didn't care for the one at Hotel Sacher.
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Oct 9th, 2015, 07:58 AM
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Kussmaul in the Spittelberg district has amazing pastries/desserts plus excellent coffee and tea. It's more modern in style; it's not an "oldy worldy" cafe/konditorei (sit on the bistro side, not the more formal restaurant side)
http://www.kussmaul.at/de/
http://www.kussmaul.at/de/wp-content...teOKT14web.pdf
http://www.kussmaul.at/de/?page_id=11&area=6

Their white chocolate-caramel schnitte is one of the best desserts I've had in my life.
My husband had the lychee-raspberry macarons and they were excellent too.

I also happened to try the bio "pear nectar" drink they offered (non-alcoholic) and as fruit juices go, this is definitely near or at the top of my list
http://www.kussmaul.at/de/wp-content...arte_MAI15.pdf
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Oct 9th, 2015, 08:38 AM
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Just a couple of notes:

Definitely see a performance at the Spanish Riding School - your daughter will never forget it

For Salzburg look carefully at the time of Sound of Music Tours - you need to be sure you can get a train that will get you there in time for the tour (never done this, not out thing, we prefer to explore ourselves, so I don't know times of tours). There are also a million other things to do in Salzburg - esp Mozart's House, the Old Town and the Hohensalzburg Castle hanging over the city

We have always been disappointed with Sacher torte - it is bland and tends to be very dry. The one at the Sacher hotel is esp bad. In a city with so many gorgeous pastries don't focus on this one.

Agree to play things as they happen as far as weather is concerned. It can change on a dime - esp in Salzburg.

Also cannot reco the natural history museum highly enough - the Venus of Willendorf ( a more than 25,000 year old goddess sculpture) alone is worth the visit. Fascinating in terms of understanding the depth of the relationship between humans and art.
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Oct 9th, 2015, 09:20 AM
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Thank you greg.
Will plan on a fluid itinerary not based on predicted weather. Will also study opening hours of places more in depth.

WeisserTee: Thanks for the recommendation on Kussmaul.

nytraveler: Thank you! I am going to look for performance tickets for the Spanish riding school. I will also look at Sound of music tours but I am leaning towards a day trip to Salzburg and not an overnight stay so we will probably end up exploring ourselves like you have suggested. Natural history museum added to must do list.

Thank you again.
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Oct 9th, 2015, 09:44 AM
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Everybody has their own views, but when we went to the natural history museum in March of this year, we thought it was absolutely awful.

There are only so many dead stuffed animals we can look at (many from the 19th century and looking understandably shabby). The whole vibe we got from the place was "here's a beautiful animal, let's kill it and stuff it." Thank goodness for the arrival of the Discover Channel and Animal Planet; you can see animals in their living glory instead of taxidermy to the max. Yes, we found a few exhibits outstanding, but the overall experience was off-putting to say the least.

OTOH, we loved the art museum. We did the Thursday evening reservations-only dinner there, which meant we enjoyed a nice meal and were able to look at the beautiful artwork with no crowds.
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Oct 9th, 2015, 10:17 AM
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We moved to Vienna when DD was almost 11, in 2012, so perhaps our experiences over the past three years can help you plan.

As others have said, try to be flexible with your planning. Keep in mind that Austria is "closed" on Sundays with respect to most restaurants and all stores. On Mondays many museums are closed.

Our DD is an avid horse rider, and was not wowed by the SRS morning exercises. Lots of pomp, yes, but unless your DD is into dressage, the experience may be a little bit of a let down. An actual performance may be more interesting, or perhaps even better, a Fiaker ride through the city (our DD has done this 4 times and it never gets old for her, apparently.)

Snow globes were invented in Vienna! The SchneeKugel Museum has brief hours, though, if you want to visit. http://www.viennasnowglobe.at/index.php?lang=ger

If your daughter loves to shop, Vienna is not really the city for shopping. Lots of European chains and super-expensive stores, but little in between. Perhaps some wandering around Neubaugasse/Mariahilfestraße and its trendier, but still affordable stores, would satisfy her?

Play the museums by your daughter's ear. Everyone's "must-do" museums are different. Currently running at the Albertina is Edward Munch's, "The Scream," for planning.

Salzburg as a day trip can be a logistics challenge, especially if you want an SOM tour. Plan that day carefully.

The website Wien eXtra lists classes and programs for Jugend ("Youth.") You may find an art class or special program of interest for your daughter. http://www.wienxtra.at

Our DD plays violin, and so we are tuned into the conservatories and music school programs here. I will look for some of the schedules of upcoming performances (many of which are free and offer outstanding music) this weekend and respond again.

The Prater, Vienna's amusement park will be open. Lots of rides and games, and good family fun.

I may be flogged on this forum for writing this, but do not "waste" your time seeking out the "best" torte or cake or cafe. The Viennese love their cakes, and you'll find something delicious on practically every corner, be it a chain or a local cafe. Any cosy table at a cafe that looks pleasant to you and your daughter will be more memorable than being stuffed into a booth and served a torte branded with the cafe logo at a "must-do" locale.

Happy Planning!
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Oct 9th, 2015, 11:55 AM
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You can easily do a day trip to Salzburg but probably just to walk around seeing things on your own, not one of those SOM tours as they take up 4 hours and the start times don't work with the train schedule, unless you didn't care about getting back to Vienna until very late at night (like 10 pm or later), which I wouldn't think desirable.

But you can take the train at 8:30 am which gets there 10:52 am, walk around seeing things all day, including the Mozart places (there are two, I think the home where he lived as a child more intersting than his birthplace). Then, you could take the 5:08 pm train back with arrives in Vienna at 7:30 pm. There is a train at 4:08 pm, also, arrives 6:30 pm, which would give you only about 4 hours there to do stuff.

I wouldn't worry about what women in Vienna do regarding rain, I'd do what you prefer. I want an umbrella myself, even if I take jacket that is fairly waterproof anyway, but I still want an umbrella.
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Oct 9th, 2015, 12:10 PM
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While we stayed at the Renaissance more than 4 years ago and things may well have changed since then, we would highly encourage you to stay in a room with club (executive) access. The rooms were much nicer and the club was nothing short of wonderful- from breakfast to dinner and drinks. The hotel is also a short walk to both underground and tram stops. For us, the Albertina was a real highlight.
In Salzburg, many in my family did the Fraulein Maria Sound of Music bicycle tour and raved about it. BUT, they require an advance call to try and set up a "post season" tour after September 30. Good luck. While in Salzburg, have a pastry at Cafe Tomaselli.
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Oct 9th, 2015, 02:19 PM
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Like Greg I recommend trying the iconic Viennese cake - Sacher Torte, first made at the Hotel Sacher which still highlights them at their cafe - Greg is an aficionado it seems more than moi - but if Miss K loves chocolate that is a special Viennese treat for her.

http://www.sacher.com/original-sacher-torte/

The Big Wheel in the Prater is also iconically famous - a huge ferris wheel that when it was installed in 1897 was one of the largest if not the highest in the world - along with two or three other copies that are elsewhere. Anyone fun for all ages - it moves relatively slow - great views from up top.

Everyone going to Vienna must ride it and the Prater square around it and the amusement park is lively too - the place where locals come en masse in nice weather.
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Oct 9th, 2015, 02:55 PM
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RAMEKIN,

Sounds like a fun trip. I loved Salzburg. Even if you don't go on the tour, it might be fun to watch SOUND OF MUSIC again. You can visit the church in Salzburg where Maria's wedding takes place.

Hope you do a trip report about your adventures...
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Oct 12th, 2015, 02:12 PM
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Since your daughter likes arts, cartoons & caricature, maybe this current exhibition at Leopold Museum might suit you:
(Not saying that expressionism was cartoons or v.v., but they are not that far apart in principle)

http://www.vienna.info/en/sightseein...leopold-museum
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Oct 26th, 2015, 09:40 AM
  #13
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We had a fabulous trip. Will be writing a trip report. Incorporated much of the advice I received here!
Danke!
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