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Trip to Switzerland and Austria, June 2011 - Vienna

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Dec 6th, 2011, 12:09 PM
  #1
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Trip to Switzerland and Austria, June 2011 - Vienna

I'm finally getting to the last leg of our trip (which I should have posted last summer!).
Anyway, we traveled to Vienna by train from Salzburg, about a 3 hour ride. We took a cab to our lodging, Spies&Spies Apartments. Not a real apartment (no kitchen), but HUGE living area and tons of space. It's in a very nice neighborhood with a subway stop at the end of the block. Highly recommended.

We walked around the neighborhood a bit, there was a street fair going on. Then we had dinner in a neighborhood Viennese restaurant a few blocks away - closed on the weekends and our hostess thought we shouldn't miss it. A nice couple, who live nearby, helped us with the list of specials (which were not in English - the rest of the menu was in both German and English). I had a HUGE plate of chanterelle mushrooms with eggs and bacon - delicious.

The next day was Saturday and the weather was better than predicted. We had a lovely breakfast at the hotel and then started out at the Kunsthistorisches Museum, which is enormous, apparently one of the best collections in the world. My favorites were the Breugels, but also Durer, RUbens and much more. We walked through the Museums Quarter, had a snack. Then off to Hofburg Palace, also huge, but we got tickets only to the (unbelievable and magnificent ) silver collection and the Imperial Apartments. Empress Elizabeth was apparently the Princess Diana of her day, fairly obsessed with her looks - it was all very interesting.

Fought our way into Cafe Demel and had Sachertorte and coffee, and got back with about half an hour to spaire before heading out to the Volksoper (I bought our tickets in advance). We ate at Cafe Weimar just down the street and saw a production of the Lustingen Neibelungen - sort of a Gilbert and Sullivan in German. We quite enjoyed it.

Sunday was another full day. Started at Schonbrun Palace which was mobbed. Beautiful apartment rooms, fancier than Hofburg Palace. Beautiful gardens as well. Had a snack and then wen to find the museum at Judenplatz. It's very small, built on the ruins of an old synagogue, very interesting. The Holocaust Memorial is in the same area.

Then we had quite the treat. I spent some months brushing up on my German with an online course called LiveMocha. One of the instructors, on learning that we would be in Vienna, offered to meet us and give us a little tour and take us to her favorite coffeeshop. She took us all around and we eventually stopped at her cafe (whre I had a melange which is lovely, mostly milk with coffee in it) and we all had fabulous cakes. (I must say that I don't love the food in general in this area, but the baked goods are heavenly).

Dinner at a Greek place across from our hotel, then back to pack and get ready for the trip home.

Vienna is easy to navigate by subway, I don't see a need to stay downtown as long as you're near a subway stop. Booking tickets ahead was easy (and didn't cost any more), and cultural offerings abound. I think I trip itinerary (Luzern, Lauterbrunnen, Salzburg and Vienna) was just right - lots of outdoors, but city time too. Salzburg was my favorite, it's just a jewel. Lauterbrunnen was great, but better weather would have been greatly appreciated.

Alice
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Dec 7th, 2011, 06:39 AM
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Join Date: Nov 2011
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Really enjoyed your trip report...these are also the places that I would like to cover next year. Can you also provide some expenditure break-up for each of these places? Thanks
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Dec 9th, 2011, 07:53 AM
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We found Switzerland to be much more expensive than Austria in general. We were able to get MUCH nicer hotels for about the same dollars in Austria.

A good tip for lunch in Switzerland is to find a bakery, get a sandwich and a drink and go outside and eat. And if you go up on of the gondolas, buy a sandwich before you ascend - the restaurant at the top will be pricey. The restaurants are expensive and your only choice for dinner.

I did not buy many souvenirs, a few gifts, but there really wasn't much that I felt I needed to have (well that bag of Viennese coffee was pretty good). My major purchase was a great rain hat in Lauterbrunnen, that I wish I hadn't had to buy, but there you are!

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