Vienna - Help and Silly Questions

Old Jul 6th, 2007, 08:51 PM
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Vienna - Help and Silly Questions

Hi all,

I will be traveling to Vienna this August for about 2 days. I have a few places that I want to check out, but I'm not sure about the order of places. I also have a few silly questions about Vienna, and I would love your advice!

Itinerary: I have the afternoon of one day and another full day in Vienna. I know I can't get to everything, but here are the places I want to do (please excuse my terrible spelling):

--St. Stephan's
--Schonbrunn and gardens
--KHM museum
--Ride around the Ringstrasse
--Demel or Hotel Sacher

In what order should I do these things? My hotel is near the KHM, so I was thinking of doing the KHM, Sacher and St. Stephans the first afternoon.
The next day, I'd go to Schonbrunn in the morning, have lunch in the Naschmarket, and take the rest of the day to stroll around the city (and eat pastries!). Is this a good plan, given the time constraints? Should I add something?

Silly Questions:
1. I like coffee, but I'm somewhat bewildered by the numerous choices they have in Vienna. I like my coffee very mild (can't handle lots of caffeine), with lots of milk. What kind of coffee should I order? Is ordering decaf acceptable, or will I be laughed out of the cafe?

2. I don't speak German at all (aside from yes/no, please/thank you). Will this be okay for 2 days, or should I brush up on my vocab?

3. Where should I go for great chocolates to bring home as souvenirs (and what kinds would you recommend)? What other souvenirs are good?

4. Which has better Sachertorte: Demel or Sacher? How much should I expect to pay for a slice?

5. Besides Sachertorte, which cakes/pastries should I try (note: I'm a huge chocolate fan)?

6. I detest pork, and it seems to be a big ingredient in Viennese cooking. What items (besides obvious ones like -wursts) should I stay away from? Also, how do you say "I don't want pork, please" in German?

7. I'm coming into Vienna via the Sudenhophf (sp?) train station. Will taxis be there, or should I expect to take a train to my hotel? How much is a taxi to a hotel near the KHM?

8. How much time should I allow to get to the airport on a weekday morning (my flight is at 9am)?

Thank you so much for your help. I look forward to visiting Vienna soon!
moomeuh is offline  
Old Jul 6th, 2007, 10:32 PM
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I can answer your questions in part.
The Südbahnhof (south train station) is not all that far from the central city. Unless you are staying at a place well removed, the taxi ride should be fairly short.

Buses and trams are also available, but if I am wrestling trans Atlantic flight luggage, I don't care to economize on that part of my trip.

I would not worry too much about not speaking German. I found that quite a few people spoke English, particularly those in the tourist areas. In some cases, English was not readily available, but all the hotels I know of have English speaking staff members.

Stephansdom or St. Stephen's is an impressive sight. I would go there as part of my ride around the Ring.

My favorite of the attractions you have listed, and a palace that is a slice of Austrian history par excellence, is of course Schönbrunn Palace. I recommend the Schönnbrunn Pass Classic which includes an audio guide or the Grand Tour, also with an audio guide. You can pay a little more and join a human guide as well.

The palace is easy to reach via U-Bahn.

By KHM, I assume you mean the Kunsthistorisches Museum, as that is sometimes the shorthand version. It is, as you probably know very well, one of the great art museums of Europe. I think you will find it a comfortable place to visit because most of the galleries are spacious. We were, however, there for a couple of specials, and those viewing areas were very crowded.

I would rank order my own visits as follows:
#1 the Kunsthistorisches Museum
#2 Schönnbrunn Palace
#3 St. Stephens

A ride around the Ringstrasse is a good way to get a glimpse of Vienna.

I would fit the others in where I could. I cannot help you much with the coffee houses, but I do know that they offer many choices. The German words for decaffeinated are entkoffeiniert (without caffeine) or koffeinfrei (caffeine free). Any coffee with milk (milch) or cream (Rahm, Sahne, Creme, Kreme) would have cream of some type.
I am not a coffee drinker, so I really cannot help you on the selection.

You can also get some great Apfelstrudel at the coffee houses.

I think the Kunsthistorisches Museum will/could eat up 4 to 5 hours. A trip to Schönbrunn is easily another 3 hours or so all told.

I think you will have a very busy time of it in Vienna. I also think you will be glad you went there. I get energized by such places and my adrenalin seems to kick in to keep my going. If I could augment it with a little caffeine, I would probably be even better!

I have enjoyed my two visits to Vienna, and a 3rd visit is on my list. Unfortunately, it has competition from other cities which I have not yet visited!

bob_brown is offline  
Old Jul 6th, 2007, 10:50 PM
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I'll try to answer a few:

1) Order a melange (half coffee, half steamed milk)

2) You won't have any problem not knowing German. Everyone in Vienna speaks excellent English

4) I believe Demel is better. We only ate at Sacher at it was €4,80

BTW, I'm sure Schönbrunn will be beautiful in August, but if you want to save some time by not traveling out to Schönbrunn, you can consider visiting the Hofburg Palace instead.

The KHM is my favorite museum - maybe because I'm biased as I like Bruegel.

You didn't say which days of the week you'll be Vienna, but some tourist sights are open late on certain days of the week (eg KHM is open until 9pm on Thursdays).

Have a great time. Vienna is one of my favorite European cities!
yk is offline  
Old Jul 6th, 2007, 11:01 PM
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Lucky you, Vienna is one of my favourite cities!

A very nice coffeehouse near the night market is Cafe Museum designed by Adolf Loos. Also nearby is the Secession Building, inside is a Klimt frieze.

In terms of coffee drinking get the guidebook Top 10 Vienna it has a description of the common types, it also has the top 10 pastries (my kind of guidebook)

Cafe Demel has a fabulous range of tortes, I didn't get to Hotel Sacher to compare, but Demel was to me cake heaven!
Susan7 is offline  
Old Jul 7th, 2007, 12:27 AM
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We've been twice and both times visited the Albertine Museum very near the Opera House. Both times impressed by the visiting exhibits. Stumbled on Sissy's Palace and considered that another highlight, as well as the other sites you've mentioned. Wonderful city.
Old Jul 7th, 2007, 01:06 AM
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1) In addition to the suggestions above, you can order a cappuccino almost anywhere that serves coffee.

2. The more you learn, the better, but you're sticking to the most touristed sights, so don't worry.

3. The Meinl gourmet grocery store on the Graben is a good one-stop shop for edible souvenirs in addition to the chocolate boutiques. We like to bring coffee back from Germany and Austria and Meinl's house brand is good.

4. I don't like Sacher torte (it has nothing to with a preference for "too sweet" desserts). And I don't really care for Demel either, so will let others share their expertise. But I do love Cafe Konditorei Oberlaa and raspberry (himbeer) cream schnitte. Yum. Take a look at the glass cases of pastries when you enter a cafe and order whatever looks most tempting.

5. see 4.

6. This is one of the most common misperceptions about Austrian and German food. Yes, there are plenty of pork dishes, but anyone who thinks Austrian and German cuisine is *all* about heavy pork-based dishes and potatoes is completely off the mark. Austrians do wonderful salads (I love the salads with chicken slices), fish dishes and other non-pork based choices, I've been to Vienna several times in the last 8 years, eaten at a wide variety of restaurants, and have only had wienerschnitzel once and wurst once. FWIW, one of my favorite places for a light meal is Cafe Sirk on the Karntnerstrasse for a salad and homemade chicken soup (low salt). At any rate, you don't have to worry about finding only pork dishes on the menu. Look at the Hotel Riviera's menu (it's not a hotel) for an idea of some non pork dishes:

7. Guess about 10 euros max. Probably less. You can also catch a D tram.

8. I would probably catch a taxi (your hotel can book one for you) and leave around 6:30 am.

I hope you can fit everything in to your itinerary. If you do, you should sleep very soundly on the plane!
BTilke is offline  
Old Jul 7th, 2007, 03:21 AM
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Hi moo,

Decaf is Koffienfrei. You will not be laughed at if you order it.

Almost all of the people you meet will speak enough English for you to get along.

Always ask, "Sprechen sie English, bitte?", and say "danke" when they do.

Besides Sachertorte, Apple Strudel and anything "mit Schlag".

>What items (besides obvious ones like -wursts) should I stay away from? <

If you won't eat wursts, are you sure you want to go to Austria?

Wienerschnitzel is made with veal (usually).

Enjoy your visit.

ira is offline  
Old Jul 8th, 2007, 12:16 AM
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martyharly is offline  
Old Jul 9th, 2007, 02:32 AM
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I like Cafe Central and Cafe Diglas and Cafe Hawelka and the Kleines Café
Lawchick is offline  
Old Jul 9th, 2007, 05:32 AM
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No silly questions at all.
1. Never order "coffee" in Vienna, this would make your waiter laugh - always make a specific order. "Melange" (French pronounciation) is what you're looking for, looooooong coffee with plenty of hot milk, or "Verlängerter" (very similar, but maybe even longer, but with less milk). Decaf is "koffeinfrei" (don't say entkoffeiniert, that's way too unusual), and it's perfectly ok to order it (i.e. the same kinds of coffee as above, but koffeinfrei - "koffeinfreie Melange", "koffeinfreier Verlängerter").
2. Apart from ordering your coffee precisely, you can do without much German, but as ira said, always politely ask whether anybody speaks English - don't ever walk in and just start talking English.
3. I wouldn't recommend buying chocolate in August. It will be inevitably spoiled when coming home. If you want to sample something there, buy Zotter chocolate, that's Austria only remarkable chocolate producer (in fact, they're producing just the stuffings, not the chocolate itself, but many of their most unusual stuffings are great - you'd need to understand some German for that, as well, though, since these stuffings are made with so extremely unusual ingredients that nobody will perhaps be able to translate; bring a really good dictionary). They're available in many delicatessen shops (Meinl e.g., or Pöhl at the Naschmarkt).
4. Demel
5. everything at Kurkonditorei Oberlaa (their city center outlet is on Neuer Markt, very near to Stephansdom)
6. Wiener Schnitzel (sorry, ira) is usually pork - it SHOULD be veal, but it almost never is. Just order it when the menu says "Wiener Schnitzel vom Kalb". I don't want pork, "ich möchte kein Schweinefleisch essen, bitte".
7. 10 Euros won't be enough from Südbahnhof to KHM, will more be like 15. I second the advice to take a taxi, though, with your luggage - public transport to and from Südbahnhof is surprisingly poor and inconvenient.
8. Slightly more than one hour by public transport from KHM (take the Schnellbahn from Landstrasse/Wien-Mitte, kind of an interurban metro). 40 minutes by taxi, which is not recommended, though (taxis to the airport are heavily overpriced).
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Old Jul 9th, 2007, 05:48 AM
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Franco, I paid 10 euros for a ride from the Sbh to the Hotel Viennart, which is a bit past the KHM.
BTilke is offline  
Old Jul 9th, 2007, 06:30 AM
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BTilke, that's a matter of luck: it depends on the traffic (the price is of course a combination of distance and time), and therefore on the hour. Exactly the way from Südbahnhof to Ringstrasse is among Vienna's most busy the greater part of the day - endless jams on and before Schwarzenbergplatz.
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Old Jul 18th, 2007, 03:47 PM
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I grew up in Vienna, though I've lived in the states for 28 years, and toured many of my American friends and family on bi-annual trips home.

One and a half days is not much so I'd stay close to downtown to maximize that. You won't run out of things to see/do. Schoenbrunn is beautiful, but if you want to skip going to the outer districts the Belvedere is an excellent alternative. The Oesterreichische Gallerien (Austrian Gallery) is housed in the upper part of the castle. Beautiful setting, plus Klimt, Schiele, etc and a stunning view down the gardens toward downtown. Some of the best Vienna pics in my library were taken from there.

With luggage I always cab it, but otherwise public transportation is the way to go. A great network, reasonably priced whole day tickets, and you can really get anywhere.

Melange is your coffe drink, I think. (Mine too, btw) I'd do Demel over Sacher, and probably order a Dobosch Torte or a Nusstorte (Nut) rather then a Sacher. Or, actually, I'd just let my eyes roam and choose what appeals.
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