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Old 14 October 2013, 11:10 AM
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Default I need recommendations about going to Vienna

...in a week or so.
Snopesters being a well-travelled lot, some of you have probably been, so: recommendations for activities/eating? Stuff I should probably not bother with?
General snippets?

I think we will like most of the food, it's narrowing it down that is more of an issue. Obviously I have guidebooks and Internet and know at least one person there, but it is as well to glean as much as possible before going.
Ta!
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Old 14 October 2013, 05:40 PM
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I was there last year, but I'm rubbish at giving people advice on what to do - usually I only spend a couple of days or so in each place, and in that time it's usually obvious which are the "main tourist attractions" to go to.

There are absolutely loads of museums and galleries in Vienna - it would probably take several days just to go round all of those, so have a look at the museum quarter and pick the ones you're interested in. One of the artists to look out for is Klimt - a lot of his famous stuff is in this gallery, and he also decorated the walls in some of the other museums. That gallery has an excellent Schiele collection, too.

The Schönbrunn Palace is worth a visit, and it's right next to the zoo so you can do both in the same day - depending how you feel about zoos. Vienna has a pretty famous one though, and I thought it was good. Watch out for the rooms with the bats...

Foodwise I tend to just get hungry and then go somewhere that I pass. It's probably not a great place for vegetarians, but the Wienerschnitzel tended to be pretty good and you get big stodgy portions. There was a fairly decent restaurant in the zoo, actually.

If you get bored in Vienna you can take a boat trip down the Danube to Bratislava - it's only a couple of hours in the fast ferry so you can make a day trip. Or depending how long you're there, you could even get a hydrofoil to Budapest. I did that in the other direction, and it was great. My only regret was that my camera batteries ran out. It's not a day trip though, so probably outside your scope.
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Old 14 October 2013, 07:35 PM
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You know, I was thinking 'I bet Richard W's been, he goes everywhere.' Thankyou!

Most of the big touristy attractions we will at least sample- we'll be there for National Day, when apparently a lot of museums/palaces are open free, but that might mean there are more visitors than usual. Schönbrunn and the zoo are on the list, as well as bits of the Hofberg (the Schatzkammer particularly) and Belvedere. I like the idea of seeing somewhere else's natural history museum (like how the London one has Lyme Bay fossils, for example; the potential to see a different country's geology.)

We are rationing museums though, after being in York in July and running out of days and usable feet before we'd seen all the ones we wanted. Granted, feet will be less of a problem with the very comprehensive city transport.

Originally we were thinking of using it as a base to visit several nearby countries, but will probably have to nix that for this holiday. We can always go back once we've got the big obvious attractions out of the way. (I have this half-baked idea about exploring some family history-related sites, but that'll have to wait until someone works out where they are.) I will definitely look into the hydrofoil for a future visit, I'd like to try Budapest.
We're there for a week, but I like small cities and generally don't get bored in one place, so there should be plenty.

Foodwise, we like German/Austrian/Central and South-Eastern European stuff, and often have some variation of it at home, so we're good- most of the things I'm looking forward to troughing are ones I've only eaten my versions of, so it'll be interesting to see how those compare to the source materials. I'm hearing not to bother with the Official Hotel Sacher Sachertorte, for instance, the knockoffs are better.

One thing I'm unsure about- I can dress up like the fanciest nong ever (and will be, 'cos my parents want 'a nice picture' ), but SO pretty much exclusively wears shorts year-round. He'll be taking some (black) jeans at least, but should he take a more formal outfit in case we end up somewhere with a dress code? I'm clueless about judging things like this and it's the sort of issue that worries me, more than flights or language issues or getting lost.

Also related to packing: I'm expecting it to be drier than here but probably a similar temperature, correct?
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Old 14 October 2013, 07:43 PM
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I think it was October last year that I went, and the weather was fine - sunny and warm and dry. I don't know how reliable that is.

I can't comment on formal clothes... I wear the same sort of clothes everywhere - usually jeans (tending towards black too), a button-up shirt with a collar and proper shoes. If I ever did any ironing it would probably count as "smart casual" although I hate that descriptor. Either way, that combination seems to be appropriate for pretty much anything you're likely to do while on holiday.

(eta) Here's a link to my photos - you can see what the weather was like at least. I forgot the Venus of Willendorf in the Natural History museum - my photos of it are rubbish, but I had to add them because it was one of those things I'd not known I was going to see in that museum; I just walked into the room and there were the signs for it. I hadn't realised how cool I would find it - every now and then something unexpected like that happens and it's amazing. (Like when one of the incidental side stops on a bus trip to the Dead Sea I took in Jordan turned out to be to see the Madaba Map, which I'd not even realised was in Jordan and it had never occurred to me that I might see in reality.) But you'll probably find completely different things to be amazing...

Last edited by Richard W; 14 October 2013 at 08:02 PM.
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Old 14 October 2013, 07:52 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pudding Crawl View Post
...in a week or so.
Snopesters being a well-travelled lot, some of you have probably been, so: recommendations for activities/eating? Stuff I should probably not bother with?
General snippets?

I think we will like most of the food, it's narrowing it down that is more of an issue. Obviously I have guidebooks and Internet and know at least one person there, but it is as well to glean as much as possible before going.
Ta!
This all depends, Vienna, Austria or Vienna, Virginia?
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  #6  
Old 14 October 2013, 08:03 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Richard W View Post
I think it was October last year that I went, and the weather was fine - sunny and warm and dry. I don't know how reliable that is.
That'd be ideal strolling weather. I'm no good at cold weather so around the end of October I start digging out my heavy winter layers- I was hoping it'd be a bit warmer due to not having the weirdly penetrating damp cold that we have to put up with.
I will advise SO to take a proper shirt.

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This all depends, Vienna, Austria or Vienna, Virginia?
Depends- does the Virginia version have a horrifying museum housed in a former madhouse?
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Old 14 October 2013, 08:21 PM
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Originally Posted by Richard W View Post
IThe Schönbrunn Palace is worth a visit, and it's right next to the zoo so you can do both in the same day - depending how you feel about zoos. Vienna has a pretty famous one though, and I thought it was good.
I second that, the palace is beautiful and the zoo is pretty and clean. It's the closest I've been ever been to a whole litter of meerkat pups, playing in the sun, and I seem to remember some very exuberant tigers pouncing on a ball in a pool.

Quote:
If you get bored in Vienna you can take a boat trip down the Danube to Bratislava - it's only a couple of hours in the fast ferry so you can make a day trip. Or depending how long you're there, you could even get a hydrofoil to Budapest.
Szentendre is another Hungarian town on the Danube, very close to Budapest. It's a medieval village full of artists and cobblestone passages that lead to outlooks and antique shops. The wine museum there has delicious food. If I had to choose between an afternoon in Budapest or Szentendre, I'd pick the latter.
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Originally Posted by Pudding Crawl View Post
I'm no good at cold weather so around the end of October I start digging out my heavy winter layers- I was hoping it'd be a bit warmer due to not having the weirdly penetrating damp cold that we have to put up with.
Oct is beautiful in that part of the world, but do bring something warm. Unfortunately it can get chilly some years.


ETA-Sorry, just saw that you'll be sticking to Vienna.

Last edited by Little Pink Pill; 14 October 2013 at 08:27 PM.
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  #8  
Old 14 October 2013, 08:24 PM
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Originally Posted by Pudding Crawl View Post
Depends- does the Virginia version have a horrifying museum housed in a former madhouse?
Not in Vienna, but nearby there's 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue - oh, wait, you said 'former.' Never mind.
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  #9  
Old 14 October 2013, 09:16 PM
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Not nearly horrifying enough, ATNM.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Little Pink Pill View Post
Oct is beautiful in that part of the world, but do bring something warm. Unfortunately it can get chilly some years.
I am taking several of my most OTT coats.
Thanks for the Szentendre plug, even if we don't manage Hungary this time it's nice to have places stored up for future visits. Maybe I will have managed to absorb some Hungarian by then (I'm trying, but it won't stick... I keep getting lost in all the various letter O's.)
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Old 15 October 2013, 12:49 AM
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Maybe I will have managed to absorb some Hungarian by then (I'm trying, but it won't stick... I keep getting lost in all the various letter O's.)
Don't forget the U's. Or the infixes. Or the vowel agreement. Or the penultimate syllable inflection for questions...
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Old 15 October 2013, 04:10 PM
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Eeep. I am nowhere near there yet, having to go back every couple of pages to re-check the alphabet.
I will stay here among these comparatively cosy and welcoming German dative verbs.
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Old 15 October 2013, 05:11 PM
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At least Hungarians themselves are generally cozy and encouraging with people who are willing to attempt their crazy language, and when all else fails, you can usually find someone under 30 who speaks a little English.

Back to Vienna, the Spanish Riding School is often open for people to go in and watch the morning exercise session for their Lipizzaner stallions. The horses are beautiful and it's set to music. There are also full performances of The Ballet of the White Stallions.
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Old 15 October 2013, 10:41 PM
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I've been to Vienna twice. Here are some of my recommendations:

- the Lipizzaner Stallions, because they are beautiful and famous.
- Dr Sigmund Freud's office/museum. It is very interesting to see how some of the major leaps in psychology were borne from this humble apartment.
- The Military Museum. I went there because I am in the military, but is it more than military stuff. It is the educating about the rise and fall of the Austro-Hungarian Empire.
- the Marktstrasse, or market street. Things will be getting pretty there and there is always something worthwhile to buy.
- take in a Mozart concert. It is the one thing I could not schedule in during either of my visits and it is the one thing I regret not doing in Vienna.
- eat, eat, eat. Vienna has many, many namesake foods. Wienerschnitzel, types of sausages, cakes and pastries. Yuuuummmmmyyyyyy!

The architecture is fantastic, the people warm and friendly, and to top it all off, it is not as expensive as I feared.

It is my favourite city in Europe (with Helsinki and London coming closely behind). I hope you really enjoy yourself.
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Old 16 October 2013, 11:38 AM
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I think we will give the Riding School a miss, and this is where I start to sound peculiar, for the sake of everyone else in the audience. I find dressage, or any type of very strict, choreographed horse movement, very very comical; set to formal music, it'd be unbearable. Something about those long gangly horselimbs being all neat and controlled tickles me. I don't want to risk a public gigglefit for 14E.

Thanks, UEL! I think the Military Museum (or something like it) is on the list. At any rate I will eat up anything even tentatively connected to Central European or HRE/Austrio-Hungarian history ("...famous for NFBSK-all! Yes, all they did was slowly collapse, like a flan in a cupboard.")

I have not been to Helsinki yet... in fact my international travel has so far included no non-UK capitals. Not good enough. London has its uses; I suppose I don't think of it as that much of an international attraction as much as somewhere I go to do or see this, or where so-and-so lives. I like it a lot more than I used to, but it probably loses its cosmopolitan glamour when it's only 2 hours away on the cheap train. Sometimes I wish I were based in another country so I could have a better capital.
It'll be interesting to compare the Tube (which I generally like) with the Wiener Linien, though.
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Old 17 October 2013, 12:07 PM
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Originally Posted by Richard W View Post
I was there last year, but I'm rubbish at giving people advice on what to do - usually I only spend a couple of days or so in each place, and in that time it's usually obvious which are the "main tourist attractions" to go to.
Or avoid.

Anyway, in my opinion the central European kitchen is worth a detour (others might not agree) so happy eating and drinking! As for myself I'm going to check it out in Prague over the weekend.
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