Author Archives: Joanna Ivanova

Heurigen day

Heurigen – tradition you HAVE to experience

Two weeks ago I didn’t know anything about Heurigen and look at me now – I am writing an article to recommend it. It was just love from first sight! I am person who definitely loves “dolce vita” and I can say that the Heurigen  is the Austrian version of this concept. In general this is lovely outdoor restaurant located in between vineyards, serving amazing local dishes and self produced wine. In Google you can find a lot of options but the best thing is still to get tips from the locals.

We were invited on a birthday party in Heurigen Hirt. There is a short way straight to the place but we prefer walking for like 1 hour through the vineyards. We took U4 to Spitalau and then the tram D to Nussdorf. It’s a small ex-village, nowadays Vienna district. The atmosphere over there is relaxed, the air is fresh and birds are singing. The road through the vineyards towards Heurigen is flat and easy for walking. All of the Heurigens are famous with delicious food they are serving so it’s very good for your body to get walk before and after it.

On your way through the vineyards you can see one part which is the celebrity dedicated one. A lot of famous people came here and left their blessings and good thoughts to the grapes.

Heurigen Hirt is located on very nice spot with stunning view to the city. You can order different type of red and white wine locally produced. The food list is short but more than satisfying. Both meat and vegetarian options. We tried the grilled vegetables, filled potato, bread and one very interesting soft cheese. You have to be careful, the prices are quite high but it’s worthy at least for once to try this experience – Heurigen visit!

 

 

Markets in Vienna

Markets culture

It’s really fascinating that in Vienna there is so strong and well developed market culture! You can definitely judge a city by it’s markets. Whenever you are fan of farmer and organic food or you love buying vintage clothes, Vienna has lot to offer. There are some residential markets (happening every Saturday) plus many others pop ups. I have already told you about my favorite vintage one – Flohmarkt. Today I want to share another two great markets in Vienna – Naschmarkt and Brunnenmarkt.

Naschmarkt

Naschmarkt is located right next to Flohmarkt which is great because you can combine them (although you will need quite a lot of time). It is easy accessible by U4, station Kettenbrückengasse.

On the Naschmarkt you can find stands with organic fruits and vegetables, beautiful flowers and plants and all kind of local home production. If you love honey and wine, this is certainly your place! There are also a lot of street food options like kebap, falafel and hummus. You can find also some clothes, accessories and home utensils. If you continue straight ahead you will enter in area with amazing variety of restaurants and bistros.

Brunnenmarkt

My personal favourite market for vegetables, fruits and herbs is Brunnenmarkt. It is easy accessible by U6, station Thaliastrasse. The market is very crowded and full with lovely aromas and flavours. The prices are certainly lower than Naschmarkt, maybe because the other one is more central. Trust me, it’s worthy  to go to Brunnenmarkt. The fruits and vegetables are quite fresh and on very reasonable prices. The choice is so big! You can also find raw meat, fish and eggs, mostly of them home made by small local farms. Around the market are located some very nice locals serving international cuisine. They are perfect for late Saturday brunch 🙂

Deutsch Akademy: the best choice for learning

Learning in Deutsch Academy

In my previous entry on this topic, I shared with you that I am very happy learning German language in Deutsch Academy. Today I want to get into more details about. I had two levels so far: A2.1 and A2.2 in two months April and May. In each we had different teacher and different classmates. At first I was bit stressed but not after long I realised that changing the context is always helpful! My contact with two different teachers gave me wider perspective and now I am really thankful that I met them both. Claudia and Vera, if you reading this: THANK YOU ladies, you rock it!

A2 level is very important and my advice to everyone is not to miss it and jump in B level. The fundament of German is definitely in A level!

Menschen book

Our Deutsch book and workbook is Menschen. I had A1 level back in Bulgaria with the same one and I really like it! Pair of books for each level costs 20 euro and you can buy it from the office right before the course beginning. Menschen is well developed and modern system for language learning. Every lesson has different topic, words and grammar. The vocabulary consist of great everyday use words, verbs and constructions.

Even I’m grown up, I’m really happy to learn with pictures and Menschen books are full of funny illustrations which are very helpful in better memorising. After every three lessons we had 45 minutes test to recap the knowledge. The test is divided in 3 parts: words, structure and communication. The same evaluation system is in the tests in workbook. If you have learned well the material then the test is not a problem at all. 🙂 Unfortunately one month is not enough to do ALL the exercises, but that’s also fine. I think is very useful for every student to do his/her own recap of the level.

Gartenbau kino

Kino experience in Vienna

Recently I had the chance to visit movie theatre for first time in Vienna. The word in Deutsch is the international “kino”. In the last years mostly of the salons are located in malls. It is comfortable yes, but it’s far away from authentic movie experience. My boyfriend knows my criteria and he surprised me with reservation in Gartenbau kino. This is an old school movie theatre, located in old building, refreshed by famous architect in 1960. It is very easy accessible by U3, station Stubentor. The cost of the ticket is 9 euro and the program is changing daily. We choose late projection at 20:30. Inside there is caffe bar for drinks and light snacks (no popcorn unfortunately). The sound system is amazing and the screen is so big! The entire salon is wide and spacious, with nice amphitheatre.

Isle of dogs

The movie we watched was the newest Wes Anderson – Isle of dogs. Honestly, this was one of the best shoots I have watched in last few years! It’s just amazing how good is done, it is a real masterpiece! The genre is stop motion animation with adorable characters, interesting story and beautiful details. Some of the most famous Hollywood actors are participating as voices: Edward Norton, Bill Murey, Scarlet Johanson. The language of the movie is English and Japanese plus subtitles in Deutsch. I don’t want to tell you the story so you can be intrigued to watch it but in few words, Isle of Dogs is telling about how strong is the relationship between human and dogs. Our 4 paws friends are loyal, intelligent and sensitive and we can rely on them in hard moments and situations.

After the movie you can have drinks in some of the many locals nearby or you can just walk through the beautiful Vienna city centre.

Trip to Slovenia part 2: Piran

Camp Lucija

Very near to the camping there is Mercator supermarket where you ca find all type of products you need on very reasonable prices. Very close to the camp there is also Pharmacy. Everything works till late – 8:30-9:00 in the evening. You have several options for beach in Lucija camp. The first one is on the platform at the end of the camping. There is enough space on it and the entering in the sea is quite easy thanks to stairs. Over there you can also find showers as well. If you prefer you can continue ahead where you enter zone with grass. There is also surf camp and bar for beer and drinks. The overall atmosphere is chill and easy.

 

Piran

Piran is another small village on Adriatica coast. It is 8 km from Lucija. You can take the bus from the big bus station across the camp. Station number 5, every 10 minutes, billet costs 1,20 euro in one direction. Don’t bring your pet with you – we had problem with this on the way back from Piran and we had to take a taxi. Between Camp Lucija and Piran is Portorose. This is the commercial and mainstream part of the region. We didn’t like it because we prefer more sophisticated and authentic places. BUT when you enter in Piran, you understand what really beautiful Adriatica village means! It’s stunning! I can compare it only with Amalfi and Positano! The harbour is small but perfectly organised, the architecture follows best mediterranean traditions, the people are smiley and positive. You can walk through the little streets and enjoy the maritime chill atmosphere. Oleanders, roses, olives and figs fill the air with divine smell. There is small beach with platform and stairs to the sea. You can also step to the top of the village and enjoy breath taking view to the port and the see. A lot of restaurants, bars and cafes fill up the small streets. You can find also some very nice small shops for handmade clothes and accessories. The prices are normal, but not cheap.

Trip to Slovenia

Long weekend destination: Slovenia

Austria is the country with the most bank holidays in Europe! This means that people have a lot of opportunities for short trips in nearby locations. Slovenia is a perfect choice for long weekend with family and friends. It’s five hours drive from Vienna.

Rent a car

If you don’t have own car you can rent one. We did it online in one of the biggest rent a car companies. The bad thing about this particular destination (Slovenia) is that you have to paid extra money. All the Balkan countries are in a list of “dangerous” ones and that’s why there is a fee. For country like Italy or France you don’t need to pay extra. The option for second driver is also extra paid. We (4 person plus dog) had great BMW from Thursday morning till Sunday afternoon for 280 euro, diesel included.

Camp Lucija

Our destination was Cam Lucija. The autobahn is more than perfect and fast and the driver can really enjoy the road. No extra documents or taxes are needed for crossing Slovenian border. Camp Lucija is located in perfect part of land on Adriatic sea. The beautiful blue colour of this sea is amazing and comparable only with Capri, Italy! Surrounded by olive trees and oleanders, the camping is really nice. On the one side is located little charming harbour for boats and yachts. You can feel the Mediterranean spirit – Italy is so closed to this place not only geographically but also in architecture, temper and language. Almost all the local people speaks fluent Italian. The camp is very clean and well maintained.

There are two sectors: more and less expensive. Honestly there is no dramatically difference so it’s up to you. For 3 nights we paid 90 euro in the less expensive zone. If you want to have electricity you can pay additionally and have it. We used only solar energy (coming from two four sided solar batteries) during our stay …. (to be continued).

Albertina

Visit Albertina

In Vienna are located one of the best galleries and museums in Europe! Here you can find rich cultural calendar with expositions of worldwide famous artists. Modern and contemporary artists and well known classic masters – every location has it’s very own mix of art exposing. One of the most significant and preferable art locations in town is Albertina. The beautiful building located in 1st district is home of beautiful resident collection and guest exhibitions.

Keith Haring exhibition

It’s worthy to go in Albertina till 24.06 to visit the exhibition of modern artist Keith Haring. He was friend with Andy Warhol, Grace Jones and many other important figures of the contra culture in USA in the 70/80s. Keith Haring is an artist with very well recognisable style and lot of energy – he loved to use every single possible place to draw on. New York subway, night clubs and graffiti walls were often his canvas. The current exhibition “Keith Haring , The Alphabet” follows the most important symbols and characters in his oeuvre in the years. The war in Vietnam, the American dream, the rising influence of mass media among masses. All of these topics you can find coded in Haring’s symbolistic figures of barking dog, red monkey and phallic shapes. One of the most iconic American images as Statue of Liberty, Mickey Mouse and Dollar sign $ are interpreted with controversial and meaning. All important messages that the artist is showing us, are blooming into vivid colours and hilarious scents.

Additional information

There are some another current exhibitions in Albertina. “Monet to Picasso” is  nice and short revue of these two masters. Another highlight is the photographic exhibition  “Director’s choice”. Part of the historical heritage of Albertina are the State rooms. They are showing typical Austro-Hungarian empire style of interior.

The regular entrance ticket price is 12,90 Euro. Albertina is easy accessible by U-Bahn – U1, U2, U4 (station: Karlsplatz/Oper), U3 (station: Stephansplatz).

Vienna is a dog friendly city!

Dogs are family

I am sure that all of you who has a dog will agree with me – dogs are much more than pets, they are family! No matter the breed or the size, all the dogs bring joy and make us better and more responsible humans. I brought my dog from Bulgaria. Her name is Romy and she is adopted, mix breed. Fun fact: I named her after the Austrian actress Romy Schneider even before I knew I will be living in Vienna!

Dog friendly city

When I became a dog owner, I start to notice so much more things around. For example in the country where I am coming from, Bulgaria, the streets are not very clean, with lot of trash spread on the ground. Well, except is not cool at all it was big problem for Romy eating all kind of stuff she finds. Here in Vienna is absolutely the opposite- it is so clean everywhere! The streets, the sidewalks, parks and gardens. There are also a lot of bins where you can throw your trash. Not only this BUT you can also find dispensers for free poop bags. Normally they are located in front of the dog playgrounds.

Rules

All of the great and positive things come with some rules also. It is really important to be strict in following the signs for where it is and where it is not allowed for dogs. Some areas are strictly prohibited, for example the gardens around historic monuments. In these cases it is preferably to pass quickly and with the dog on leash and with muzzle if possible. Other very important rule is when you are travelling with your 4 paws best friend in U Bahn. Then you have to buy one ticket for 1,20 euro, valid for one direction and the dog should wear a muzzle 100%.

Sports in Vienna: Squash

Sports in Vienna

For me Vienna has definitely strong sport vibe! You can see so many people jogging in the parks or cycling bike on the streets. The infrastructure of the city is very well organised and the streets are clean and maintained. There are also easy accessible open air fitnesses free of charge – all you need is motivation 🙂 If you decide to attend sport, requiring venue, the choice is also quite good: high level gyms, swimming pools and group classes and racket courts.

Squash

Squash is an English sport with long tradition. It can be played by 2 or 4 people,inside or outside, which makes it ideal to share moments with family and friends. Squash is intensive, elegant and fair. This sport really can make you sweat and what is better than that for keeping up the good shape!

Club Danube

When my boyfriend surprised me with a squash racket for Christmas, I was really “oh wow” because I have never played this sport before but somehow I knew that I am gonna like it:). Very soon after we started visiting Club Danube to play squash. I have to tell that since very first moment I loved the place! It has so old school atmosphere and is very easy accessible by U3, station Erdberg. This is the closest to our home, BUT there are another ones in Alt Erlaa, Alte Donau, Donauzentrum, Hütteldorf, Ottakring and Sportpark (http://www.clubdanube.at/).

The price for 30 minutes, Friday, Saturday and Sunday (the whole day) is only 8 euro! I am saying “only” because in the country where I am coming, Bulgaria, is 3 times more expensive.

The girls on the reception are really nice, it is very clean everywhere and the atmosphere brings you back in some German movie from the 70s 🙂

Bring your clean sport shoes, shorts and t-shirt. If you forger your bottle with water, don’t worry! In Club Danube they sell drinks, protein bars and light food.

 

 

Why I chose Deutsch Academy?

Learning Deutsch

When I came to Vienna, at the end of January 2018, I had passed A1 level Deutsch course in my country, Bulgaria. Learning the language was and it is my biggest priority. I think this is fundamental for the proper integration in the local community. During the first two months, I wanted to dedicate my time to recap of my A1 knowledge and to choose the best school to continue. I have made online research for Deutsch language courses and selected a short list of the best ones. My criteria was optimal time and duration, reasonable price and easy accessible location.

Deutsch Academy

When I visited for first time Deutsch Academy, I felt immediately the positive vibe of the place. The corridors were full with people from all around the world who want to learn German language. Even it was rush hour there was no stress or long waiting, everything happened quickly. The girls in the office are just amazing! I really loved how they do their job – with attention to every student and smile on the face. They speak perfect English so the communication is easy and smooth. When is your first time in the Deutsch Academy you should make an entry test so they can offer the most suitable level. I think the test is quite accurate, I have entered in A2.1 (which is perfectly fine after A1 in Bulgaria).

Details

The cost is 270 euro for one level (=one month). You can pay cash on the desk or via bank. The duration is 3h with 15 minutes break. There are different options for timing, I chose 11:45-14:45 (I feel my brain fresh in the middle of the day:) The groups are made of up to twelve people but my experience till now (2nd month) is that always finish less students. Location is one of the best possible in town – in front of the Opera. Easy accessible by U1, U2 and U4, station Karlsplatz.

Picnic am Donau

Picnic culture

The practice of  picnic, described by some sources as “an elegant meal eaten out-of-doors” has its roots back in the European culture. After the French Revolution in 1789, royal parks became open to public and picnicking became popular activity among newly enfranchised citizens. The reflection of Picnic in art is tremendously wide: from fine paintings (Manet) to Oscar winning movies (1955).

Nowadays, Vienna

I have to admit that I was really happy to discover that in Vienna there is strong and good-vibe picnic culture. A lot of people use every sunny day to chill in the numerous gardens and parks. Of  course, during the weekend is more busy, but honestly you can see a lot of people during weekdays too. Stadtpark, Schönbrunn, Prater, Belvedere, Donau – a lot of options for the people in Vienna.

Donaustadtbrücke

Loving all the mentioned options, I would like to start with area around Donau. This is the city part around Danube river with its belonging park. Both sides of river are great for picnic! You can choose depending on how much sun:shadow balance you prefer. The area is allowed for dogs and that makes the place, automatically better if you have a dog. The grass is soft and the ground is clean. On the one side of the river there are open air barbecues, they can be booked in advance. There are also easy accessible and clean toilets, which makes the area nice for ladies.

Location and tips

You can go easy am Donau for picnic  by U2, station Donaustadtbrücke. Few picnic expert tips: bring re-usable glasses and plates – this is not only eco friendly but also very beautiful and set-changing detail. Use portable cooling bags for keep your drinks fresh for longer. Prepare light and easy-eating finger food such as Julienne Carrots and Paprika, Tzatziki salad, Humus and Fladen Bread.