Tag : vienna

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Ignored damage control

In a city where you can eat Kuchen and Käsekrainers just about everywhere, the Viennese have an old fashioned solution to prevent your appetite from getting out of hand.

You would think they are outdated, but don’t be surprised to spot several classic scales in Vienna’s city center. They are mostly located at bus- and tram stops, where people probably don’t have anything better to do than to wait or weigh. Since you’ll often find a Würstelstand at these locations, you can also enjoy a Käsekrainer or Waldviertler, and immediately check the damage afterwards.

But no matter how big and shiny, most people don’t seem to notice the lonely machines.

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Categories: news

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Judgement day in Austria

It’s election day. One of the most important since decades. Today, Austria will choose its new president and future political course: will it turn right of left?

Most Viennese, like my roommate Caroline with whom i went to see a soccer game today, hope for the second. But according to the vote polls, the left wing and ‘green’ candidate Alexander van der Bellen has a bit less than fifty-fifty chance against his right wing opponent Norbert Hofer from the ‘blue’ party FPÖ. And that’s worrying a lot of people around here, I noticed.

Earlier this week I talked to a woman during my lunchbreak on a terrace in the 8th district. She seemed very angry and frustrated about the current political climate in Austria, as Hofer – who is said to have extreme right ideas – is so popular in the rest of her country. But: ‘In Wien kann man noch leben’ (‘here it’s still livable’).

Let’s hope it stays this way after today’s elections. As for now, I am cheering the ‘red’ party.

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Categories: Uncategorized

Graffiti as it’s supposed to

Being the biggest graffiti-zone in town, the Donaukanal in Vienna has a totaly different look and feel than the spotless inner city. I love to walk alongside the canal, where graffiti-artists are allowed to experiment freely.

The contrast couldn’t be bigger. Whereas the inner city is supertidy, the shores of the Donaukanal are covered with graffiti, decorated with dented trash cans and floating garbage. But in this case, the Viennese don’t mind. Cause here, it’s supposed to look that way.

However, that didn’t stop a 30-year old vandal with a lack of creativity from tagging his name all over town. He ruined some great pieces of (graffiti-) art by doing so. It took the police a few months to arrest him and nowadays you see his tag everywhere you go. This July ‘Puber’ was sentenced to fourteen months imprisonment. Hardest challenge for the public prosecutor was to prove the scribblings were actually his.

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Categories: news

Schloss Schönbrunn: world’s biggest doll’s house

One cannot leave Vienna without having seen Schloss Schönbrunn, the famous palace of the Habsburgs. It’s gold-coloured interior with chandeliers and fresco’s is so ‘over the top’, you feel like you’re walking in world’s biggest doll’s house.

Once entered the gates of Schloss Schönbrunn, it’s impossible nót to be impressed by the look of the gigantic palace and it’s huge gardens where every grass haulm has the exact same length. All this fortune couldn’t satisfy every Habsburger though. Elisabeth, the ‘hyped’ empress of Austria better known as ‘Sisi’, used to mock her servants and fled most of the time abroad. The audiotour also mentioned her obsession with her appearance and figure, but apparently the Austrians prefer to avoid the word ‘anorexia’.

Officially, it’s not allowed to make pictures inside the palace. I sort of did, but just to show you how many people visit Schloss Schönbrunn. It didn’t bother me though. You can buy your ticket at a ticketmachine, for which you don’t have to stand in line. And the queue at the entrance moves quite fast. The gardens you can visit for free.

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Schloss Schönbrunn, Schönbrunner Schlossstrasse 47 (13th district, Hietzing)

More about the Habsburgs

 

 

Categories: Parks, things to visit

Banana beer at the Filmfestival

They make the best schnitzels, but when it comes to their drinking habits, the Viennese have a peculiar taste. The Ottakringer banana beer doesn’t taste that bad though, as I discovered at the Filmfestival.

Each summer the Wiener Rathausplatz turns into an open-air cinema where you can watch concerts, films and opera’s on a huge screen and eat at more than twenty eateries. The atmosphere is just great and I visit the Rathausplatz at least once a week. I love the smells of traditional Austrian käsespätzle, Thai noodles and Indian lamb curry and everybody seems so happy while drinking their ‘Gespritzter Weißwein‘: white wine mixed with water. Although relatively cheap, I don’t think I’ll ever get used to the taste of the favorite drink of many Viennese. The only good thing about it, is that you can drink it all evening without getting drunk.

Of course, no party without beer. Vienna even has its own brewery: the Ottakringer Brauerei. Also with their beers, the Viennese like to mix things up. The popular Radler beer, a mixture of beer and lemonade, tastes like Fanta lemon to me. But the Banane-Weißbier  with a tiny bit banana nectar is not bad at all. Plus, you get to drink it with a straw.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Filmfestival Wiener Rathausplatz (1st district, Innere Stadt)

 

 

 

Categories: amusement

22-carat gold in Rathaus

Vienna has plenty beautiful historical buildings to visit, but if you have to pick one, definitely take the guided tour through the ‘Rathaus’. The ceilings of the City Hall are actually covered with 22-carat gold leaf rosettes.

It’s more impressive than the Staatsoper and even more beautiful than the Parlement. The ‘Rathaus’ in Vienna looks more like a castle than a City Hall, with its golden-leaf ceilings and the huge chandelier in the room where the members of the City Council convene. The chandelier has a diameter of five metres and 213 lights. Because the heat from its lamps transformed the Council Chamber into a sauna, it was decided in the 1960’s to pull up the chandelier by one metre.

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Guided tour City Hall, Rathausplatz (1st district, Innere Stadt)

Categories: amusement, Innere Stadt

Best ‘Stehplatz’ at Mozart’s Requiem

Because the Viennese feel that everybody should listen to Mozart, they invented ‘Stehplätze‘. But if you’re lucky, you can still sit and enjoy a breathtaking Requiem from one of the first rows.

In the capital of classical music, everybody – either rich or poor – is able to experience classical concerts, opera’s and operettes (light opera’s). Thanks to the Stehplätze, if you don’t mind getting tired feet, you can see the opera for only € 4 euro.

Tonight I bought a Stehplatz  for Mozart’s Requiem in the beautiful Karlskirche. The cheapest seats costed € 28 euro, but the concert would only last an hour and a standing room ticket was just € 12 euro. I was happy to discover that, from there, I still had a great view at the stage. But just before the concert startet, the man who sold me the ticket ‘smuggled’ me and the other ‘Stehplätzers‘ to one of the first rows in front of the choir! Since it was my first actual concert in Vienna, I don’t know yet whether this is common, but it makes sense if a concert is not sold out. It was an unexpected gift.

More classical concerts in Vienna: www.viennaticketoffice.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Karlskirche (Karlsplatz, 1st district)

Categories: Concerts

Back to the future in Bellaria Kino

If you like going to the movies, but hate it if everybody around you is loudly chewing popcorn or dropping their m&m’s, you should visit the Bellaria Kino. It’s more than going to the cinema, it’s like traveling back in time.

Founded in 1911, the Bellaria Kino is one of Vienna’s oldest movietheaters. Even most visitors looked like they were born that year and are probably regular costumers here. The movietheater is so old fashioned, it doesn’t even have a website. It does have a popcornmaker though, but when I was there, it wasn’t being used.

The theater itself is quite long and narrow and the screen is not too big, so you’d rather not sit in the back. But you have a perfect view from the first ten rows. Most people preferred to sit in the middle, so me and my fellow student Magda had an ideal spot just in front of the moviescreen.

A ticket costs € 7 euro. Cash only, of course.

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Bellaria Kino, Museumstraße 3 (1st district, Innere Stadt)

 

Afterwards, we walked to Karlsplatz to have a beer in front of an even older monument, the majestic Karlskirche. I hope to see the inside very soon.

 

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Categories: amusement

‘Streetslaughter’ in Vienna: 1700 cops vs 19 squatters

Even in a city where everybody patiently waits for the traffic light to turn green before crossing the streets (while no car in sight), there’s trouble now and then. In those cases, police troops do the job.

So it costs a million euro, and the free newspaper Österreich calls it ‘one of the biggest streetslaughters in the history of Vienna'; but hey, at least they got the message.

Monday a group of nineteen squatters were kicked out of a building they lived in for the last two years. Initially they were invited by the landlord himself, who wanted to chase away the last occupants, some eldery people who refused to move out of the building he wanted to renovate and sell for a large sum of money. He thought the squatters might do the trick. Unfortunately for him, they chose sides with the eldery people.

To make a long story short, yesterday all nineteen ‘punkers’ were evicted from the building, with the help of 1700 policemen, a policehelicopter, an armoured car and a watercanon.

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With special thanks to my fellow student Jordan, with whom I had lunch today at the Filmfestival at Rathausplatz (1st district, Innere Stadt)

Categories: news

Wiener Prater’s unexpected charm

It’s ugly, it’s shabby, it’s outdated. Wiener Prater, world’s oldest amusement park, has an unexpected charm to it.

Looking for a bench to eat my Indian take-away-curry, my curiosity led me to Wiener Prater, or ‘Wurstelprater’, how the gigantic fair is originally called. Cause you don’t have to buy a ticket at the entrance, I walked straight through the gate where I passed ‘Big Fat Kebap’, heard both Mozart and DJ Tiësto echoing through the speakers and watched a family buy tickets for ‘Hotel Psycho’.

Five minutes later, while eating my lukewarm curry on a quiet green lawn somewhere outside, I realised I forgot to take a picture from ‘the gate to hell’, that was supposed to be the headline for this blog article. But when I came back, I got really intrigued by the beauty of forgotten glory and couldn’t stop taking pictures.

 

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Wiener Prater (2nd district, Leopoldstadt)

Categories: Leopoldstadt

Books and Kaffee Latte

The best discoveries are done by accident. That also counts for ‘Phil’ in Vienna. Here, you can buy books, music and sit down for a Kaffee Latte with soy milk.

Phil is a typical place where young and creative people like to go to. Most of them were between twenty and forty years old, so I felt at home immediately, relaxing on a leather couch from the seventies, surrounded by books and ordering a Kaffee Latte with soy milk (hard to get in traditional coffeehouses).

 

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The tea and food is mostly organic, but don’t expect big meals though; the ‘burger’ I ordered, turned out to be a small sandwich with cheese and ham. But you don’t come to Phil for the grand food. You come here to talk with friends, drink (good) coffee or herb tea, read a book, work on your laptop and to get inspirered.

 

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Phil, Gumpendorfer Straße 10-12 (6th district, Mariahilf)

Categories: cafés

Citybike Vienna: cheap, fast and easy!

Although Vienna has a perfect public transport system, I think biking is the best and nicest way to get to know a new city. With Citybike, you can bike across the city for free!

Being a Dutchie, I cannot survive without a bike. Also, I don’t want to spend more money than necessary. For people like me, God invented Citybike. It’s easy, fast and supercheap!

Once you’ve registered with your creditcard, you pay € 1 euro one-time only. After that, you can get (and return) a bike at more than 100 biking stations in Vienna! The first hour is free of charge and considering the fact that you can bike across the city in half an hour, you never have to pay for anything, unless you want to bike longer. The second hour you will be charged € 1 euro, the third hour € 2 euro etc. You always have to return the bike at a station.

Vienna is very safe for bikers. But, there are a few things you want to know before using Citybike. These tips might come in handy :

– Before blindly picking a number on the screen, check out the best looking bike. The saddle height isn’t always that easily adjustable and not every bike has gears. The second gear doesn’t always work though. If you want to be safe, take a bike without gears. Besides that, they’re comfortable bikes, with super brakes and properly inflated tires.

– The bikes have no locks, so you cannot just park them on the streets, or leave them unguarded. You can only park them at a Citybike station.

– GET THE FLYER with all the Citybike stations and don’t lose it! You don’t want to risk searching for a Citybike station while the clock is ticking. You’ll find the flyers at most stations. Take two, just in case. If you have internet on your phone, you can download the app, or this one for Android.

– You also need to know where the second nearest station is, in case the station you want to return your bike to, is FULL. This happens occasionally and kinda sucks, but because there are so many stations, you’ll probably find another one within five minutes. The apps show you how many free boxes and bikes there are at the several stations.

Once you’re prepared, you’ll be happy! If not, you can always use the superb public transport in Vienna.

www.citybikewien.at citybike2

Categories: transport

Schnitzel take away

Don’t feel like Thai, sushi or pizza today? Get yourself a schnitzel take away!

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(Novaragasse, 2nd district, Leopoldstadt)

Categories: Food

Best working spots: Café Prückel

My football-friends were right about Café Prückel; I’ve definitely found one of my favorite working spots for this summer. I decided to celebrate this newest discovery with my first Viennese Apfelstrudel!

It’s light, it’s spacious but ‘gemütlich’ and quiet at the same time, there’s (free) wifi ánd more Apfelstrudel than a girl can desire. And even better, Café Prückel is popular with the locals.

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The Apfelstrudel was a bit to sweet for my taste though, next time I’m gonna try another ‘Torte’. With 35 degrees outside I’m sweating all the calories out anyway. A friend warned me about the hot Viennese summers, but I don’t really mind the high temperatures. It feels like I’m on holiday.

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Café Prückel, Stubenring 24 (1st district, Innere Stadt).

Categories: Coffeehouse, Innere Stadt

‘Elfmeter’ victory at Cafe Toni

Tonight I watched the Dutch football team win the quarter-finals in Cafe Toni at the Servitengasse. I learned two essential German words: abseits (offside) and Elfmeter (penalty). Also, I hope to have found a good, typical Viennese coffeehouse to work.

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Four Viennese guys were so kind to adopt me and I had a great evening. I asked them if they know a nice, traditional Viennese coffeeplace, cause the famous Café Central was a little disappointing, like expected. A lot of famous writers and composers used to meet up here, but nowadays it’s crowded with tourists.

Café Prückel at the Stubenring  was their advice. I’m gonna check it out tomorrow!

Café Toni, Servittengasse 19 (9th district, Alsergrund)

Categories: Alsergrund, Districts

Know your district: Alsergrund, part 1

This evening I went for a little walk in my neighbourhood Alsergrund, the 9th ‘Bezirk’. The district feels quite relaxed and because of the students who live here, there are enough bars, restaurants and shops.

Vienna has more than twenty districts. ‘Bezirk’ 1 is the historical centre and Alsergrund lies next to it.

Vienna's districts

It’s one of the smaller districts that hosts the main building of the University of Vienna, as well as the student campus. Since I’m quite busy working, I haven’t seen much from the district since my arrival last Tuesday. I haven’t seen many students either. But from whát I have seen, the atmosphere here seems quite balanced. The street I live in, is elegant and quiet with aristocratic houses and hardly any traffic. But just around the corner there is this lovely square with a beautiful and typical Austrian church, the ‘Servitenkirche’, and a few nice bars and restaurants. Today I sat down at one of them, called Luxor, and had my first ‘Viennese’ Italian cappuccino.

Next to me, there was this older man, I think around 70 years old, who looked like a professor or writer wearing a tidy suit and reading the newspaper. I was surprised to see the same person ordering like five huge beers within an hour and wobbeling home afterwards.

Luxor, Grünentorgasse 19b (9th district, Alsergrund)

 

Categories: Alsergrund, Districts