Right from the beginning, when we entered the airport of Vienna, I had to realize that some things do change. The old small, a bit shabby airport had turned into a modern, much bigger one. When we arrived at the Südbahnhof … there wasn’t a Südbahnof anymore but instead a huge construction area. But something survived: the old “Südbahnhof” sign found a new place above the entrance of the WienMuseum (as we later found out), where it is perfectly integrated in the 50s architecture of the building. We there visited the absolutely interesting exhibition about the Vienna Werkbundsiedlung 1932, a model housing estate, where artists, architects and designers intended to present new modern ways of living.
And then there are a lot of things that didn’t change in Vienna: the pompous city center, the crowds of tourists, the omnipresence of Fiaker, Mozartkugeln, various kinds of Würstel and Melange.
Of course we drank a lot of Melange coffees, f.e.x in one of my favourite Viennese coffee houses Café Diglas, but as well in the famous but these days just too touristy Café Hawelka. We didn’t leave out Topfenstrudel and Sachertorte as well…
Of course – yes, I am a foodie – we went for stroll over the famous Naschmarkt where the oriental food trend can’t be overlooked. In fact, in three days my personal food stats looked like this falafel:Schnitzel – 3:0. But although I didn’t eat a Schnitzel, this doesn’ t mean I missed out Viennese cuisine.
A good place for great simple and authentic food is the 2nd district Leopoldstadt, a tip we got from a local Viennese. At the “Gasthaus Schöne Perle“ as well as at the “Am Nordpol 3“ we ate (too much) local Austrian and Bohemian dishes like Kärnter Kasnocken (filled cheese pasta), Blunsen (black pudding), Liwanzen with Powidl and Topfen (kind of pancakes with plum butter and curd cheese) and Susitorte (riiich chocolate cake). And we enjoyed Austrian wine and a great atmosphere in the middle of a totally mixed public.
Good food and culture can be found, too, at one of my still favourite places of Vienna – the Museumsquartier. Breakfast, lunch, coffee or dinner – you have the choice: Kantine, Halle or MQ Daily. All of them are good choices in my opinion.
Besides some nice little shops you can find as well the two big museums MUMOK (Museum of Modern Art) and Leopold Museum there, which we both visited. While the fluorescent tubes art of Dan Falvin (MUMOK) didn’t really disclose itself to me, the Jugendstil (art noveau) section in the Leopold was more my cup of tea. Of course we couldn’t let out the house of the Viennese Sezession – the union of Austrian artists that seperated in 1897 from the conservative Association of Austrian Artists. Their motto: “Der Zeit ihre Kunst. Der Kunst ihre Freiheit.” (“To every age its art. To art its freedom.”)
Although I had lived in Vienna for quite a while, I had never been to the famous Prater – apparently the oldest amusement park in the world. So this had to be made up. As I imagined it to be, it was a trip to the morbid and depressing Vienna, a walk through time-worn facades, old fashioned fun rides, where you can feel the charme of long gone times, when fathers went on sundays to the Prater with their kids where they got some cotton candy or a Würstel and were allowed to have one ride on the merry-go-round.
Last, but not least some notes on hotels in Vienna. It took me some time to find a hotel that met my expectations, but luckily time doesn’t stand still in Vienna, too. With “Hotel Daniel” we found our hotel: hip straightforward design, relaxed atmosphere, nice stuff, fair prices. Fully recommended!
Although we didn’t stay at the equally newly opened “25hours Hotel Vienna” this seams to be a great alternative as well if your looking for a young, modern design hotel. It has a retro style sky bar/cafe with balcony included, called “Dachboden“, which is open not only for hotel guests. There we enjoyed – besides some Melanges – the relaxed, cozy atmosphere and a superb view over the city. With a cocktail in your hand this must be perfect on a summer evening as well!
So, good bye Vienna for this time, see you again … perhaps in six years?