A Travellerspoint blog

Entries about vienna

A Drive in the Vienna Countryside

Out on an explore

sunny 90 °F

A couple of years ago we’d planned to move to Austria for a few months. I had negotiated for a house in the Krems area, an area between Salzburg, Vienna and Prague.

We decided to drive to Krems and just look around, see the layout of the land, if this would really be a place we could live.

I consulted our Lonely Planet and found a loop out of Krems that follows the Danube on one side then crosses a bridge and follows on the other side. There are castles, vineyards, little hamlets and churches.IMG_20140706_170952_234.jpgIMG_20140706_172809_130.jpg

We drove to Krems arriving about 2pm., it was hot, about 85-90F. We were already hungry when we arrived but we walked through the main street. We’d heard that stores were not open on Sunday but were not prepared for the streets to be empty. The city was shut down.

We looked in the church where it was cool inside. The church was way over the top in gold decorations.

We found several open restaurants and food stands, one had Chili Con Carne listed, now that was a place I was not going to eat at. We found a guesthouse open with an open courtyard serving food. A lunch of grilled pork chops, veges along with some local wine was just what we needed. Elias had their crepe filled with apricot jam and he was very impressed.
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A little scope of ice cream from the Eis shop and we were good to go.

This was our last night in Vienna so we had one last meal outside in our garden. The evenings have been warm so we have spread out meats, cheeses, breads, fresh veges, dips, wine and beer. Lovely European lifestyle we have developed.

Posted by Miss Chris 01:32 Archived in Austria Tagged danube vienna driving europe krems exploring Comments (0)

Music in Vienna

Mozart

overcast 70 °F

Another forecast for rain but this time in Vienna, thunderstorms were forecast for night.

First we needed groceries. We saw that a “Bella” supermarket was close to us. Of course we got lost while walking and had to ask directions.

Once inside we picked up our groceries and went to the checkout stand, put our food on and when it was our turn waited to pay. The checker asked something in German and of course I said “what”? He asked if we’d weighed our bananas to which I answered no. I mean really? Weigh bananas? What’s up with that? I must be used to Trader Joe’s and never weigh my own stuff at the regular grocery stores.

I went back and weighed the bananas then had to go around the entire store to get to that checkout line. Some lady in the line got really mad; Dale heard her speaking loudly. We took our purchased groceries over to the counter in order to pack them. While we were packing the groceries the checker was talking and pointed at us saying that we were Amie’s. This was so funny, we started laughing, which I’m sure didn’t help the situation at all. But this is what Dieter says that the German’s call us. I guess the Austrians do too. Oh watch out for those Amie’s!!!

A hint: In Europe you must bring your own bags to the grocery stores and you must bag your own groceries. Cuts down on the trash that’s for use. Best to bring a back pack or bag to carry your stuff home in.

We went back into the old city via the U which is really easy to use, by the way. After maybe a 10 minute ride we got off at Karlsplatz, the St. Karl’s Church. This time we picked up our tickets for the Mozart Requiem and then Dale and Elias took the lift and stairs up into the dome. I stayed down with all our stuff. The skies were really threatening but only a few drops fell.

St. Karl’s Church was refurbished several years ago and after cleaning the frescos in the dome, scaffolding was left so that people could get a close up look. You take an elevator then walk up stairs into the top. Dale and I did this 3 years ago and thought that Elias would enjoy it.IMG_20140705_163457_475.jpg

From St Karl’s we walked to St. Stephens where Dale and Elias climbed the stairs up to the tower for another view of the city. I sat and had a cappuccino, writing and people watching.
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The skies cleared and we strolled back to St Karl’s, stopping to listen to a 3 person Russian street group. They played their version of Vivaldi’s Four Seasons, Russian and American music.
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Our concert was at 8:15pm in the St Karl’s to hear Mozart’s Requiem. We heard this same concert 3 years ago and found it amazing. Again we had front and center seats the 2nd row from the front. We were sitting waiting for the concert to begin when in walked a family who had the front row seats. The couple had 3 young children; about 4, 5 and 9 months. My first thought was “no”! But then I remembered how we would take our young boys to concerts at the Dorothy Chandler and the Hollywood Bowl. We believed that the music would help shape them, (whether it did or not is open to discussion). The kids were so well behaved. They sat quietly, the older boy would drum in the air. At one point they went up on the steps, sat down and watched. The musicians seemed to really like that. The baby went to sleep then woke up but was mostly quiet. Mom took her out at the first peep.
The concert was moving, we thought that it was better this time.

The music echoed throughout the church on many occasions. One fun part was to see that the cellist was the same person who played at the dinner concert. Instruments were the same type used in Mozart’s time. One horn has no valves so notes are made by shaping the lips.

After the concert we spoke to the couple and praised them for bringing their children to a concert.

Posted by Miss Chris 13:29 Archived in Austria Tagged vienna church music europe mozart st_karl's Comments (0)

Dessert 1st then Vivaldi

A July 4th celebration

sunny 75 °F

Great thing that today was warm, 80’s, and sunny. We had to check out of our apt by 11 and no one wanted to wake up.
Dale and I walked to the store for bread, pastries and coffee. We got back and food was devoured.

We took Bekki and all to the old city for 1 quick look as we all had to go our way. We showed them the fortress, the egg shop where I bought some eggs and then stopped to have a dessert at the Furst.IMG_20140704_122337_112

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Bekki went on to Tobias’ and we went onto Vienna. We had a concert to attend.

I’d bought tickets to hear the Vivaldi’s “Four Seasons” at the St Stephen’s Church. This church is huge, a main feature of Vienna.

We went to the church and picked up our tickets, seating was open depending on the category one bought. One stands in the appropriate line and then 15 minutes before the door opens everyone goes in and finds a seat in their category. We found seats 3 rows from the front and in the center.
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For the concert there were 4 musicians; 3 violin and 1 cello. They played various pieces, including Ava Maria. Between pieces a soloist came out and played the Four Seasons, only accompanied occasionally. The soloist, a woman, was so absolutely amazing. She had such command of her violin that her music filled the church. I will never hear the Four Seasons in the same way again, I will see her power and command of the music.

We finished our evening with a glass of wine, Elias with a Viennese cake.

Posted by Miss Chris 08:41 Archived in Austria Tagged vienna travel music europe vivaldi 4_seasons Comments (0)

Hotel Adventures

Hotels we stayed in

IMG_4861.jpgAs I promised some time ago, I wanted to write about the hotels in Europe, at least the ones we stayed at. I have referred to each of the hotels in various blogs but will write some additional details now

When we first planned this trip I wanted to stay in hotels within walking distance to the middle of the towns. I didn’t want to take trolleys or buses every time we wanted to go to the squares and we didn’t want to spend much over $100/night.

I picked up a travel book with hotel recommendations and a good map with the recommendations located on the map. Then I got on hotels.com and trip advisor, reviewing the ratings for each hotel along with the location.

Our 1st hotel was in Munich which I booked at the last minute and got the last room available. This hotel, “Kings First Class” appeared to be within walking distance to the square but on the map looked a little distance away. As it turned out, the hotel is about 2 blocks away from the train station and maybe a 10 minute walk from the old city square. The hotel is in an area filled with adult shops but is very safe, we never felt threatened at all. Beware that there is no breakfast included when you book on Hotels.com but a Coffee Fellows is just 2 blocks away and they have all sorts of food items plus great coffee drinks and internet.

Next we were in Salzburg where we had quite the experience at the Amadeus Hotel. This hotel is in the new city, just a few minutes’ walk to Mozart’s residence, the Mirabell Gardens and the foot bridge to the old city. The front of the hotel faces a pedestrian only street and the rear faces the cemetery with the grave of Constance Mozart and Leopold Mozart immediately in view from the rear facing rooms. There are 2 balconies in the rear with chairs and tables.

If you stay at the Amadeus Hotel beware that there is no one at the desk after 6pm. This is normally not a problem but if you check in after 6 they leave the key card in an envelope on a little table in a small lobby between the entrance door and a sliding door which needs a key card to open after hours.

Our key card was apparently lost or taken before we arrived; our arrival was late due to train problems. We arrived at 11pm and when we found no one there and the main lobby doors locked. We were able to slip into the main lobby when another guest opened the door to enter.

In the entry we called on the call box and reached a male who said that he would be right over. After waiting for about 45 minutes I called again and he said he was on his way. After another 30 minutes Dale called and the male said it would be a few minutes so Dale asked what a few minutes meant to which he replied that he would be at the hotel in 5 minutes. In the meantime I’d called Hotels.com but after 10 minutes on the phone got disconnected. We were about to start screaming!

Finally a security guard came to help us and after numerous phone calls found our room number and got us settled in. It was 1a.m. Needless to say the front desk heard about our ordeal in the morning and they gave us two dinners at their sister restaurant in the old city. My advice is to check in before 6pm just to make sure you get your room key.

The Amadeus is a small hotel but there is an excellent buffet breakfast included in the price and an afternoon coffee if you are around. Great little pubs with outdoor seating are all around and the street is vibrant both day and night. We will definitely stay there again but just arrive earlier in the day.

In Vienna we stayed at the Hotel zur Wiener Staatsoper. This hotel is a little larger than the Amadeus, also very old and located very centrally, only ½ blocks from the main street. Restaurants with outdoor seating are next door. We walked to the St. Charles Church, the Concert Hall, St. Stephens and the tube is only a couple of blocks away.

The room keys are very large so they encourage you to leave it with the desk when you are out which means that you must leave the keys off then pick them up on your return. The door is locked at night but there is a bell and the night watchman will let you in. The staff will encourage you to take various tours but will also be helpful if you want to travel on your own. Breakfast is also excellent and included with the room.

Our last hotel was in Prague, in the Stare Masto, the old town square, the Hotel U Tri Bubnu. This hotel is a little difficult to find as it is tucked into buildings just on the other side of the square. The hotel has 2 areas, one above the check-in counter and the other around the corner separated by a restaurant. Our section of the hotel appears to have a room per floor but we were not sure. Our room was quite large with old fashion double windows on 2 sides. The building is hundreds of years old and the story is that an executioner lived in the building frequenting the tavern located there. You enter this hotel thru an old wood arched door then walk up a narrow spiral staircase to the rooms.

If you are arriving by train it is an easy walk from the station but when you arrive in the square it will be on the street ahead and to a slight left. You will take the pedestrian street that goes by the St. Nicholas Church to the Kafky Square. The hotel will be to your left just past the ticket agent shop.

We will stay at all of these hotels again if we are in the areas and highly recommend them.

Posted by Miss Chris 07:33 Archived in Austria Tagged prague salzburg vienna hotel austria germany europe munich old_town_square Comments (0)

Inside a Cathedral Dome

Standing inside the dome of a cathedral

overcast

IMG_4875.jpgIMG_4925.jpgOne last day in Vienna.

We’d thought about going to the Shonbrunn Palace for a tour and evening concert but after the last two days of music decided against it and just did a Grand Tour 1st thing in the morning. The Grand Tour is 40 rooms or so but it is the tour that includes Maria Theresa’s apartments. One apartment was the one in which Mozart performed in when he was 6 years old for her and his music took off from there.

The Shonbrunn is a Palace which consists of about 2,000 rooms and was a summer palace for the Hapsburgs who ruled for several centuries. There are, I think, about 400 acres of gardens as well.

The Palace is really quite an interesting place but be aware that although the books say 1 hour to visit we took much longer. 40 rooms are quite a few to visit but this tour is the only one that visits the apartments of Maria Theresa, plus some ballrooms. One ballroom is being refurbished but about ½ of it is completed so a person can imagine what it will be like when completed.

The gardens are very extensive. Unfortunately it was very cold and really windy so we only sat and drank our coffee in the garden then left as we had other indoor things we wanted to do in the city. We took our Silvia’s advice but this time did the opposite, seeing the inside and the outside will wait for another trip.

We’d planned to go to the top of St. Stephens to view the city; you can do that for a fee and then go to the Mozart house. We had to change the tube at St. Charles Church and remembered, from the concert the night before, that they are refurbishing the dome and that people can ride the elevator installed for this purpose, up to the top of the dome. We decided to do this first then see what to do next.

We paid our 6 euros and went into the church where the elevator is. Since we’d been there for the concert we had no need to look around the church much.

This turned out to be the highlight of the day. First you must ride an elevator up about 8 to 10 floors (this is a guess) that will put you on a platform at the base of the dome. From the base of the dome there are stairs that go all the way to the top, into the cupola. These stairs are about another 5 to 8 stories thru the middle of the dome into the copula.

The stairs are really not for anyone who has a fear of heights as they move as people walk and you see that they are only held together by small steel posts. But if you can stand the height it is an amazing view.

The stairs put you up close to the frescos painted on the dome, so close that one could touch them. Up close the figures are huge but also appear to be distorted as they appear to be painted for viewing from the ground.

The copula is actually much larger than I had imagined; there is a walkway across, very narrow but maybe 5 people could stand on it and look out windows the entire circle.

We viewed the cathedral with new eyes when we reached the ground.

Posted by Miss Chris 21:53 Archived in Austria Tagged vienna austria cathedral tourist dome Comments (0)

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