June 3, 2008 5

Vienna round up

By in Travel

We took an early morning 4 hours train ride to Vienna from Prague. Vienna is the logical destinations after Prague given the history and we would have gone to Budapest as well if there were more time and money. Though prior going, most of my friends’ reactions were either: “Why are you going there, there’s nothing to do in Vienna” or “Vienna? The place with all the canals and boats? (^^;; they’re thinking Venice)”. A little sad since the Habsburg Vienna was once one of the most influential empire and the cultural epicenter of Europe. Well those were the glory days. My initial impression when we arrived was that the city seems to be stuck in the 80s, particularly the train station and subways. Some of the sights were kind of run down and need some renovations. The old buildings in the city weren’t as nice as the ones in Prague or Paris, and the new and modern weren’t as exciting as some other metropolitan cities. But it’s still a city full of history and culture that’s interesting to explore (ex: you can visit the places where Mozart and Beethoven lived, the art school that rejected Hitler, Freud’s office…etc).

We weren’t so interested in the Habsburg legacy so we didn’t spend a lot of time in the palaces to see their grandiose bedrooms or jewelries. And it’s a pity we never got the passion for Classical music and opera like our father (who would have love to see a Wagner’s opera at the famous Vienna Opera House) which is what Vienna is most famous for. For us, the top 3 highlights of Vienna were:

1) Art museums (i.e. MusuemsQuartier, Albertina, Kunsthistorisches, Belvedere, MAK) It was a mind blowing experience to be able to see the huge collection of Egon Schiele as I am a big fan and the textures, colors and strokes are much more amazing to see in person. Though it was a mix feeling to see Gustave Klimt’s because his works have been reproduced so many times that the impact of the real things were slightly diminished.

2) the Fin-de-siècle Jugendstil art and buildings


Meinl am Graben

3) Good food, coffee, cakes and old school coffee shops. Much have been written about them already and there’re still many other good places we weren’t able to try (for example, the highly recommended Flein was closed for the entire time we were there due to national holiday). Foodies must check out Meinl am Graben, also known as the Fauchon of Vienna. A gourmet shopping heaven that had us giggle throughout. Three spacious floors full of gourmet food, ingredients, meat and cheese, and rows and rows of chocolate and candies from all over Europe. There’s also a pretty cafe and restaurant inside, too bad we ran out of time and could not sample them.

There weren’t a lot of vacation apartment rentals in the city center and most of the hotels were expensive. As blogged before, we highly recommend the Hollmann Beletage Hotel. Their restaurant Hollmann Salon is a MUST go. We found Sacher‘s Sachertorte better than Demel‘s, but Sluka won as our most favorite patisserie.

You can check out more pictures of our Vienna trip on our flickr: Part 1 and 2.

Related Posts with Thumbnails


5 Responses to “Vienna round up”

  1. valentine says:

    ah, it’s okay, Wagner operas are incredibly boring
    even for geeks like me!
    I’ve seen it on video, and it lasts 5 hours!! (I fell asleep after 1 min. haha)

    but thanks for sharing the opera house pics!
    they’re marvelous!! beautiful!! gorgeous!!
    probably my personal favorite out of all the vienna pics ヾ(゚∀゚)ノ

  2. Joan says:

    Haha really? the costume and stage seems very nice though. But yeah I don’t think I could sit through a 3 hour+ opera. My dad would love to see it though, he’s super geek so he’ll def enjoy it.

    The opera house used to be even prettier, before it was bombed and burn down at WWII. Some part survived and they definitely look more spectacular than the rebuilt parts, what a pity…

  3. seat says:

    Talking about long tme ago but I also was very hesitant about spending hours and lots of $$ just to experience a classical concert or opera in Vienna. But I remember there were free classical concerts playing in some big squares and you could just sit in the nearby cafes, have a coffee and listen for a while. You didn’t encounter any?

  4. Robert says:

    I was searching for travel reviews of Vienna and would have 2 questions:

    1) where did you stay in Vienna?

    2) what are sights that are a little run down – I am asking as in the last 10 – 15 years many, many things were renovated, so I am a little suprised.

  5. Joan says:

    Hi Robert,
    we stayed at the wonderful Hollmann Beletage hotel (see our blog entry about it and their wonderful breakfast), which is located few blocks from the Stephansdom.

    We felt that the Hofburg palace could use some renovations, for ex: lots of dirty cracked walls and chipped paints. I found the Opera to be kind of tired looking too. The metro also was a bit run down and dated looking. Some of the famous cake shops like Heiner and Sluka could use some renovations too (like dirty carpet, worn furnitures).