Vienna - Trip Report

Oct 1st, 2009, 10:20 AM
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Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 492
Vienna - Trip Report

We returned from Vienna last week and I've finally caught up enough to report back to all the Fodorites who helped me make the trip memorable. I must say right off the bat that Vienna is one of the most under rated cities in the world. What a gem. I scratched my plans to visit Salzburg because there was so much in Vienna to soak up and enjoy. I'm was a museum junky on a week-long high

Hotel: Hotel Erzherzog Rainer Wien
Pros: humungous breakfast with both hot and cold selections, very good location with a tram stop right in front and metro one block away, large room by European standards, clean, remarkably helpful and friendly staff.
Cons: not really a four star, could use new carpeting, a bit dated, the restaurant allows smoking everywhere (but since it isn't that good, we only ate there once), common areas are small, no wifi (but we could get free wifi from the "public" access in our room).

Restaurants: The Osterreicher at the MAK - open sophisticated contemporary atmosphere serving delicious nouveau Austrian cuisine. We ate lunch there for about 17 euro each - duck and lentil soup, mashed potatoes, salmon, pasta - everything delicious. Fabulous strudel. I'm sure dinner is more expensive, dressy and my favorite restaurant this trip. Will return.
MQ Daily in the Museum Quarter across from the Leopold Museum, between that and the Modern Art Musuem. We had lunch there twice, sitting outside, people watching over the Museum plaza. The 7 euro specials - Chicken Cordon Blue, a Pasta and Zucchini dish - both with salad, were great. Friendly service and an English menu. Will return.
Danielli, and Italian restaurant in Old Town - OK. The food is very good, portions are small and service not too congenial. I think it's more expensive than it's worth (unlike the Osterreicher - worth every penny). Won't return.
Diglas, Viennese food a couple of blocks behind St. Stephen's - bustling, very good food, large portions, fantastic pastries, lots of beer and looks like a local favorite. Beware cash only! Will return.
Chang Asia Noodle - Chinese noodle restaurant near our hotel - fantastic noodles. Lots of locals and students eating large portioned delicious noodle and rice dishes for around 10 euro. Friendly service and a more upscale Chinese restaurant next door that we didn't try. Will return.
Near the Technical University south of Kaslzplatz - I can't remember the name but it's a restaurant/cafe with a huge outside seating area, right off the park, filled with students and professors, serving friendly beer, wine and food. Cheap, fun, lively and relaxed. Will return.
Others - We had tea, coffee, beer, wine and pastries at most of the cafes in the museums we visited. All were very nice. Especially the strudel at the Hofburg Treasury.

To be continued....
jahlie is offline  
Oct 1st, 2009, 12:47 PM
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As for the sights themselves, I was astounded by the architecture, art, history, and ambience of Vienna and it's beautiful public spaces. I can't remember one disappointment except the Naschmarket wasn't really as interesting as I thought it would be.
1. Kunsthistorisches Museum and Imperial Apartments/Treasury. We bought the combo ticket and spent the day in both museums. I could have spent the entire day in the Kunsthistorisches alone. The collection of top rated artists is just overwhelming. Titian, Caravaggio, Velazquez, van Eyck, Bruegel (both), Rubens, the Roman and Egyptian collctions are just too much to absorb in one go. The Treasury was an interesting history lesson and the crown of the Holy Roman Emperor was a thrill to seel
2. The Hofburg Palace. I wasn't impressed by the Imperial Apartments and the Sisi Museum is just too silly, but the Imperial porcelain and silver collections was worth the price of admission. The Imari ware alone was stunning. The grounds are worth a stroll and we stumbled upon a Farmer's Market, complete with food booths, beer booths, wine booths, produce sellers, bands, Austrian dancers on stage, bands and even a parade! What fun.
3. Sunday Mass at Augustiner Church - the 11:00 mass (get there by 10:30) is a thrill. The choir sings throughout the mass and I felt like I was in heaven. Maria Chirstina's tomb is a touching tribute to Maria Theresa's favorite daughter.
4. The Belvedere Palace - OMG, another fabulous museum. The Art Nouveau and Secessionist artwork is fantastic. We were so excited learning about discovering Schiele that we added the Leopold Museum to our list. Beautiful grounds and easy to reach as well.
4. Old Town and St. Stephen's. - Charming. We had a ball just roaming the streets, without much of a plan and always seemed to find something interesting around the next corner. St. Peter's, Albertina Square, Am Hof, Judenplatz, Karlsplatz, the Park Ring - all worth a look-see.
5. The Opera - lovely and the tour brings the Opera House and part of Vienna's history alive. A must do.
6. Schonbrunn Palace - WOW! This tour is much better and more educational than the Hofburg Apartments. The Schonbrunn is more opulant (at least the parts the tourists see) and let's face it, Maria Theresa is uber interesting. The grounds are beautiful and we spent all day in both the Palace and walking in the garden.
7. Melk Abby/Danube cruise/Krems combo - a nice day out of town for only 46 euro (I think) each. This was a delightful day, taking the train to Melk, touring the Abbey, cruising down the Danube to Krems and then back to Vienna on the train. The Abbey tour is very well done and I was particularly impressed by the panels by Jorg Breau the Elder. Both Melk and Krems are delightful towns, worth meandering through, eating some beer and wurst and there was even a farmer's market in Melk to enjoy. We bought the ticket at the train station just before leaving. Be careful though, the train drops you off - not at the train station - but on the other side of Vienna. You can use your Vienna transit pass to return to your hotel.
8. Leopold Museum - Klimpt, Schiele and other Secessionist artists on display. Another full day in glory. There is some lovely Oriental art as well. The street nearby, Mariahilfer, is a fun and lively shopping area.
9. MAK - We were there during an exhibition of the Illustrated Hamzanama - and Indian Epic. A fabulous exhibit. This is a great museum.
10. We used Rosenov Airportservice for transportation from the airport to our hotel. The driver was on time, drove safely, spoke English, was polite, the car was clean and they charged 29 Euro. I have no hesitations in recommending them.
11. We bought a 72 hour transportation pass, walked a lot and had to buy another day pass as well. A great deal.

I may have forgotten something but I hope this helps anyone who is going to Vienna soon. You'll enjoy every minute...and did I mention that the people were friendly and very helpful?
jahlie is offline  
Oct 1st, 2009, 01:15 PM
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jahlie, looks like we did a lot in common, when I was in Vienna this April. We also ate at MAK's cafe and Leopold's cafe. I agree with you that both were very good, and the lunch deal at Leopold is a steal. Thanks for sharing.
yk is offline  
Oct 2nd, 2009, 07:20 AM
Join Date: Sep 2009
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Thanks for your trip report! Vienna sounds a lot of fun! We're going there next month for about 10 days. Honestly, if I didn't have relatives there I wouldn't have gone to Vienna ever (that's what I think!) but reading all these trip reports here seems like Vienna will be blast!! I'm looking forward to going to Melk as well...but unfortunately this time of the year no cruising to Krems!
noorjahan is offline  
Oct 3rd, 2009, 11:03 AM
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Don't worry noorjahan, there is so much to do in Vienna that you'll be kept very busy just in the city. Also, having relatives in any location adds the insider's dimension most of us regular tourists don't get to take advantage of. BTW, if you go to any good Persian (your screen name?) restaurants would you post about them when you return?
jahlie is offline  
Oct 8th, 2009, 07:03 AM
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Hi jahlie,
It's my real name, and it's Islamic -Arabian could be persian too not sure. I am not from the Middle East though. I am from South Asia. Not sure if we will go to Persian restaurant, in case we do I will surely let you know!
noorjahan is offline  
Oct 8th, 2009, 08:35 AM
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So glad you enjoyed Vienna. We livd there for a couple of years back in the 1980's. And while it has changed some -- more crowded -- there is so much for the traveler to experience such as good food and wine, classical music, great architecture, and world class museums.
bettyk is offline  
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