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travel_chef1 Sep 29th, 2003 01:09 PM

One day in Vienna--What to do?
 
We will have a little less than one day in Vienna--what should we do!! What are the MUST SEE sights (and sounds)? (Lat minute trip in between destinations...)
Thanks!

GregPCM Sep 29th, 2003 01:18 PM

Well I guess I would head out to Schonbrun and take the tour. If it's a nice day walk the grounds or go to the zoo. The Habsburgs had a very nice summer home. After that if you have some more time, walk the ring, stop in and see St Stephans and go to the top of the church. Eat in one of the small cafes and that should just about do it.

Enjoy, Vienna is a wonderful city.

Greg

travel_chef1 Sep 30th, 2003 09:13 AM

Greg (or anyone),

What exactly is "the ring?"

Thanks!

vdeleon Sep 30th, 2003 09:31 AM

If you're limited for time, you might consider riding the streetcar that loops around the "ring". The Inner Ring (Ringstrasse?) is a ring road surrounding the 1st (central) district (Bezirk). I think you can get on the streetcar, and it will take you around and back to where you started -- a good way to get oriented to the city. One of my favorite things in Vienna was the Schatzkammer (treasure chamber) -- I think it was underneath the Hofburg. They have some beautiful things from the Hapsburg family (crown jewels, etc.)And then a walk up to the pedestrian area by Stephansdom (beautiful church!) Little shops are fun (Demel's for a sweet, although it is very touristy), and I agree that coffee at one of the corner cafes is a must!
Vienna is beautiful -- Have fun!!

BTilke Sep 30th, 2003 09:37 AM

A good starting point would be St. Stephansplatz, reached by two subway (Ubahn) lines. Go into the cathedral, then walk up the Graben, come back and walk up the Karntner Strasse then find a place for lunch (what are your preferences? For deluxe, you could take a cab to Steiereck, one of the best restaurants in the city). After lunch, if you stay in the Karntnerstrasse area, walk up to the Opera and then catch one of the trams going around the Ring which circles the center of Vienna (or walk if you're in the mood). The trams will take you past many of the main sights and you can hop off if something catches your interest. You don't say when you're going, but if it's in the winter, you could always rent some skates and do a little skating with the locals on the rink in front of the Rathaus. Or simply get a glass of warm spiced wine and watch them. Walk around some more, then stop in Demel's or another pretty cafe for coffee and a pastry (you can try Sacher torte but I think it's way overhyped and find it dry and much less appealing than many other pastries available in Vienna). The Sky Bar at the top of the Steffl department store has good cappuccino and great views (count the number satellite dishes sitting on top of all those historic buildings <g>)
The Vienna airport has some nice cafes, actually, including a wine bar.
Schonbrunn is wonderful, but if you haven't seen Vienna before, I would save it for another trip as it takes a few hours minimum to do "properly". Also, they may not offer guided tours in English late in the year, depending on when you go (you can do a recorded device self-tour, but you see quite a bit less than you do on a guided tour and you miss some of the juicier tidbits the human tour guides provide).
You could also fit in a brief visit to one of Vienna's museums. When I had a half day to myself on a recent business trip to Vienna, I finally made it over to the Belvedere to see the famous Klimt paintings. I was glad I did and was also surprised to see how empty the museum was--I had expected big crowds.
Have a great time!

bob_brown Sep 30th, 2003 10:12 AM

I think your interests will have to dictate priorities here. If you are a history buff, then the choice is difficult. Schönbrunn is where the last of Hapsburgs lived, mostly.
Franz Josef's study and living quarters have a "lived in" look about them which I found to be absent at Versailles and Fontainebleau, but yet somehow their Spartan character reflect the iron code that imprisoned even the emperor himself behind rigid rules of court etiquette.

The influence of Maria Theresia is pervasive as is that of Sophie, Franz Josef's mother, and, if you let your imagination run, the tragic ghost of SiSi, Franz Josef's anorexic wife, seems to linger hautingly in the drawing rooms and corridors.

If you are an art lover, the Kunsthistorisches Museum is a must for the Titans and Rubens.

If you are a music lover, above all else, perhaps a matinee will be available for you at Die Volksoper or Die Staatsoper. The museum known as Das Haus der Musik was to me mildly a downer given what the museum has so work with: Beethoven, Brahms, Mozart, Mahler, Strauss, the great orchestras, etc. On the other hand, if you go in expecting nothing, you will be rewarded. I went in expecting quite a bit and I was a little disappointed.

If you just want a feel for the downtown, tour the southern half of the ring on the streetcar. Then get off somewhere and walk around.

You will be pushed to get in what you want to see, however, so hit the ground in full stride.


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