Austria is a beautiful country in Europe. It has amazing and beautiful landscape with its lush green valleys and snow covered mountain tops. The people of Austria are hardworking, law abiding and disciplined. Central and local governments which are elected on democratic basis and run very effectively for the people. This has made Austria a wonderful country for the natives and visitors alike. In the past 4 years the capital city Vienna has been voted the 3rd best city in the world and the first best city in Europe to live in. Vienna is full of tranquillity and happiness.
Austria is situated in central Europe even though it s considered a western European country. The beautiful city of Vienna is the capital city of Austria. The country sits on a stretch of the Alps mountain range. Naturally due to the difference in altitude, there is varied climate in different parts of the country. Generally the climate in main population centres is kind of balanced. During winter it is always cold with snow falls and freezing temperatures. And in summer time the weather is mostly warm without becoming very hot. However, it is still very unpredictable. In summer season, some days are sunny and sometimes humid. Generally it is felt that there is no need for domestic air-conditioning. And indeed many homes have not installed air-conditioning units. But when it becomes hot, everyone rushes out to buy electric fans. Many times as, no sooner one thinks about buying a fan, the weather changes and becomes cold. For this reason people are always prepared to wear warmer clothing and carry an umbrella.
Often students arrive in Austria without mastering the German language which is spoken in Austria. It is highly recommended that students do everything possible to become fluent in German language before starting their University course in Austria. Even with adequate level of German language, students who arrive in Austria will still face a challenge due to the fact that they have learnt the German language outside German speaking countries. And therefore they are not used to native pronunciation of the words. This leads to difficulties in being understood by Austrians or understanding what is being said by the natives. Fortunately the majority of Austrians speak English and if one knows English, one can manage to communicate well for the day to day needs. However, it is very important that everyone learns the German language as soon as possible for being able to communicate at all levels in Austria and to integrate quickly in the Austrian society and culture. The financial need of students varies according to their lifestyle. Accommodation generally is not cheap. However prices for food and clothes are reasonable. A student must pay €55 per month for social insurance. The cost of using public transport is €31 which allows the comprehensive use of buses, Metro, Tram and train.
Food culture and restaurants.
In my country people mostly have a big breakfast with other members of their family. And for the other main meals of the day rice is an inseparable aspect of the food. In Vienna you often see who is having a small sandwich for breakfast. And for lunch and dinner they don’t have rice. The food culture of Austria is very different to that of Iran. If you are not a vegetarian, you must try to eat Schnitzel which is a national dish of the country. Schnitzel is made with thin layers of young beef and some restaurants schnitzel is made from chicken or other meats. Another dishes you always find on the menu is Goulash which is similar to taskabab and is made from chunks of beef cooked in paprika sauce. Knudel is another popular dish similar to pirashki made from potato paste and flour made in to the shape of an envelope filled with sour or sweet fillings.
The Viennese people like other Austrians love to have sweets as desert. Apple strudel is irresistible. Palaschinken which is like a thin pan cake with sweet fillings such as jam. In summer times when markets are full of varied and colourful fruit, marilon knudel or Apricot knudel is the most popular desert id Austrian restaurants. In autumn which is the season of pumpkin and mushrooms, dishes such as Irish omlet made from mushroom or pumpkin soup are sold in restaurants. In early November Saint Martin day is marked with eating Goose dishes. During the Christmas festivities fish dishes are eaten.
For the Viennese lunch is very important. And the restaurants often have special menu for lunch time (Mittagsmenu) which often offer a soup, salad and a main dish for reasonable price. Generally the restaurants in Vienna are busy at lunch time. Most Viennese have breakfast at home. However, for the weekend or public holidays people often have breakfast in restaurants or cafes which are often full of customers. Naskmarkt which is the main food market of Vienna is very popular for weekend breakfast. In most restaurants especially in tourist areas English language menus are available. Most restaurants have dish of the day normally written on a backboard, on the wall or in the menu. This is generally the best food that particular restaurants has on offer on that day. Often dish of the day is not mentioned in English menu. So, it is best to always ask the waiter what the dish of the day is. The restaurants normally charge for bread even if they have placed a basket of bread on the table without your request. Tipping the waiters is normal which is around 10% of the bill. To taste other countries dishes in Vienna, you need to look to Gurtel. In the area foreign food was introduced to the citizens since many years ago. German, French, Italian, Chinese, Indian, Turkish, Iranian, middle eastern and other types of food are available in the Gurtel area. Nashmarkt the main food market is located in the Gurtel area. There are so many varies and interesting eating places in Nashmakt that it not easy to decide which one to try. Summer stage is a popular eating place on the banks of the river Danube. Here during the summer months evenings from 5 PM till 1 AM many types of food and drink are on offer and most evening it is packed with people. The most popular stand up fast food are Frankfurters and other sausages sold in kiosks located at every intersection. Some people like the Vurstel and others prefer Bosna which has onion and spices or Vurstel containing cheese.
The cheapest fast food which may cost as little as €1 is to buy a sandwich in a super market. In these super markets a variety of meat, cheese, salads and other sandwich fillings are on offer. The sandwich is made on demand with fillings of the customers choice. The customer can even ask the supermarket attendant to fill the sandwich with food up to a specified cost. The freshness and cleanliness of food preparation is normally much better is super markets than is kiosks. Another cheap way of eating is to use the wonderful bakeries found in every neighbourhood. Here you will find a wonderful variety of things to eat such as bread, cinnamon bread, pizza and sandwiches at low cost. Tea, coffee and other non alcoholic drinks are also sold in bakeries which allow customers to eat at stand up tables. There is also a very popular chain of restaurants called Wienerwald. Its speciality is roast chicken even though they sell other dishes as well. Soup costs between €3 to €4. a full meal will cost around €15.
In Austria most people meet and socialise in restaurants and tables are often occupied for a ling time. In summer times most restaurants have outside tables which makes for a special atmosphere. Tables are full with people eating, drinking and chatting.
In Austrian culture, meeting in restaurants and cafes play an important role in the society. It brings different types of people together for exchange of ideas and debate which has enables the enrichment of the Austrian culture.
One of the most amazing and wonderful aspects of Vienna is its comprehensive public transport. One can very comfortably get by without the need for a car. A wide range of inter linked transport networks including bus, Metro, tram, local and national train is in place allowing access to all parts of the city. One can never use transport delay as an excuse for being late. The transport service is available in frequent regular intervals, is quick and always in-time. Tickets are available as single, return, daily weekly, monthly and yearly formats. Students under 26 years of age are entitled to discount. They can obtain discount cards from specific metro stations. There are mobile device applications which given the start and destination of a journey present the best and fasted route involving all public modes of transport giving departure and arrival times.
One of the best things about shopping in Vienna is that there are sales in shops and stores all the time. One can always find sales items in shops and purchase all kinds of furniture, food and clothes relatively cheaply. Shopping in Vienna can sometimes be overwhelming. There are all kinds of products with all kinds of prices. There are famous brands with luxury stores with astronomical prices and at the other end there are flee markets selling used items in Saturday markets. In Vienna like any other cities are more common sense shops and stores. These are found mainly in off beat roads. Some times you find stores selling local souvenirs such as porcelain items, hand made dolls and leather and metallic ornaments. The main shopping areas of Vienna are Mariahilfer strasse, Josefstatter strasse, Koolmakt, Karnter strasse and neubaw gasse. Shopping hours are generally Monday to Friday 9 AM to 6 PM, Thursday closing time is 7:30 PM and Saturdays closing time is 5 PM. By law ther should be no trading on Sundays, but normally a few shops in each area are open for business on Sundays. One of the striking differences between Iranian and Austrian shopping trends is that in Iran all the shops are open from early morning till late in the evening. Most people do their shopping at around 7 PM. But In Austria all the shops are closed by 7 PM. After this time all shops are closed and the shop keeprs and staff prefer to spend time at home with family or coffee shops with friends.
Vienna’s famous streets.
One of the most street of Vienna is Mariahilfer strasse. This street is lined up with green patches and mature trees. There are shops, stores, coffee shops and restaurants all along the street. With its wide pavements, limited traffic and busy with people which gives it a special atmosphere. Josefstatter strasse is one of the oldest streets of Vienna. Here you find all kinds of shops from Jewelery stores, modern furniture, to second hand clothes shops and old music records. Brunnenmarkt is also one of the oldest and most traditional open market shopping area. Here they sell mainly fruit and vegetable, cheese and meet products. Brunenmakt is popular with tourists even though they may not buy and of the products. Koolmarkt is an attractive shopping area full of luxury and glittering stores which even if one can not afford it is worth looking at. However there are still useful shops in this area. The store Fritag & Bernt specialises in detailed maps. In here tourists can find the most detailed and accurate maps of Vienna and other cities of the world. This store is open Monday to Friday 9 till 7 and Saturdays till 6. The nearest Metro station for koolmarkt is Herrengasse which is on line U3. The market is on bus route 2A and 3A. An interesting street on Vienna is Neubau gasse. Here there are all kinds of weird and wonderful shops selling hunting equipment and second hand clothes. However, one of the famous shoe shops in viella calle Schoh is in Neubau gasse. It sells both men and women’s shoes including famous brands. Shoeh is opens its doors at mid day Tuesday to Saturday and closes at 5 PM.
One of the best experiences I have had in Vienna is finding friends who are from different countries and different cultures. It is extremely exciting when you find a new friend with a different religion, culture, nationality and language. I have found that may countries which are geographically far apart have the same or similar cultures. In my experience having friends from different races is a sign of being social and indicates that there is a common religion amongst us decency.
English lessons classes are the first place one finds interesting friends. Many of them have not mastered the English language. But after a few lessons, one can communicate in broken German and with the help of hand gestures.
Areas of Vienna.
The beautiful city of Vienna is divided in to 23 districts. The biggest one is district 10 and the smallest is district 6. The most beautiful one is district 19 which contains woodlands. The newest districts are 21 and 23. Districts 6, 7, 8 & 9 are popular to live in because they are near the city centre. Regardless of which district one lives in, its is possible to easily reach areas with indoor and outdoor sports facilities. And with the fantastic public transport across Vienna, there are hardly any obstacles for moving around the city.
What to see in Vienna.
Vienna has got many historical and beautifully designed buildings. For this reason it is a very popular tourist city. It is almost always full of tourists from around the world. The beautiful and historic shunbrunn palace has magnificent royal reception rooms. They are more beautiful than the Kaiser royal apartments at Hofburg. The palace was started by Kaiser Mathius who built it around a water spring which he found while hunting. In 1637 AD, Kaiser Ferdinand the second completed the building of the palace. In the war with Turkey the castle was destroyed. But later Kaiser Leopold the first built another palace on the site. When Maria Theresa took iver the building, she decided to make it the official royal residence. She enlarged the buildings In 1918 the last Kaiser of the Hapsburg dynasty relinquished his duties in the shunbrunn castle. There are 1441 rooms in the castle. But tourists can view only 40 of them. For visiting the castle there are 2 options. Option one is the Grand Tour which includes the 40 rooms including the quarters of Frans Josef and his wife Elisabeth and the work quartets of Maria Theresa and her husband Frans Stefan. The second option is the Imperial tour which allows viewing of only 22 rooms including the work quarters of Maria Theresa and her husband Frans Stefan. Both these tours have electronic hand held devices for guiding the visitors. But the grand tour includes an actual tour guide.
Due to the large number of visitors, tickets state the start of the tour which most times allows time to visit the beautiful gardens of the palace. The pinnacle of the beauty of the palace is the Gallery. Near the Gallery is the room where during Maria Theresa times secret government meeting took place. There is also a room known as the million room for which Maria Theresa spent a million on it. In this room there are miniature artworks which were made by Iranian artists. In 1779 Josef the second opened the gardens to be visited by the people. During 1772 and 1780 the Neptune fountains and Glorite were added to the gardens.
Stefan Plaz is the heart of the historic centre of Vienna. It is a square connecting the most important and populated connecting streets in the centre of the city. The church of saint Stephen (Stafans kirsche) is in Stefans Plaz and is one of the most beautiful and visited attractions of Vienna. This is the best place for starting a tour of Vienna’s attractions. Throughout the year there are always street entertainers amusing the public in Stefans plaz. There are ample number of coffee shops and eating places along the square.
For amusement and rides, Proterturm is an exciting place to visit. It has a wing which is 117 metres long and is the longest swing in the world.
The famous Prater amusement park in Vienna is free. And one has to pay for some of the rides. It is the best place for outdooe excitement and fun.
Bellvedere is one of the most beautiful baroque palaces. This palace was made for Price Eugene Soavvi who beat the advance of the Ottoman army and wad declared a hero. This palace has 2 areas. One is the Unters Bellvedere built between 1714 and 1716. The second is Uber Bellvedere built aftre Eugene’s victory during 1721 to 1723.
Ring strasse or as the Viennese say Das Ring is a wide boulevard containing large trees. It runs along a large part of the old Vienna. Here there are magnificent architectural buildings. Walking along the Ring one gets a good sense of European architecture. Most of the buildings along the Ring were built by Frans Josef the first. The initial buildings were built in the sixteenth century. But Frans Joseph in 1857 decided to demolish and rebuild the magnificent buildings illustrating the wealth of the Habsburg dynasty. The buildings were subsequently added to. But due to the start of the first world war some parts were never completed. The most important part of the Ring is a 2 kilometre stretch between the University and the Opera house. It is highly recommended to walk this 2 mile stretch and get a good feel for its beauty. It is possible to cycle along here or even go thru it on the tram.
In Vienna all the popular festival events take place in front of the town hall building (rathaus plaz). Every year from end of January till end of August free concerts, movie evenings, open markets and other forms of entertainment are organised. It is recommended to go to these events early to be able to have a good view.
Festivals in Vienna.
Festivals are live museums with colourful dances. within which the beauty of tradition and cultures of the world are presented. For a visitor festivals are the best way of getting to know the city. In these festivals in different methods of entertainment such as music, dance, colour, food or games and farm animals the essence of the city are celebrated. There are carnivals and street parties and celebration of the Easter in all cities and towns of Vienna. The peak of these carnivals is in February. On the last Thursday of the carnival season there is a special program held in the Opera house attended with the most famous and distinguished politicians, economists, artists and personalities.
Vienna like most large cities of the world holds a marathon run race with large participation from the public. The race is run in the month of May. Duna insel (Danube Island) fest in the month of January has the largest open air music festival which makes it the most colourful man-made Island of the world. During the 3 days of the festival, by the side of the river Danube thousands of music performances are presented. The Island is full of restaurants, bars, cafes, cycling tracks, boat rides a water park, a sports arena a climbing park and a lot of green open spaces. At the start of January there is the festival of one night of music. All night long in 60 spots in Vienna bands play music. This festival is open to public free of charge.
After the Dona Insel festival, the body painting art festival has created a lot of excitement. On 16th of January the Impulse tens festival is one of the largest moder dance festivals held in Salzburg?
In summary, during the summer months the fields and hills of Viella all full of the sound of music. The Viennese make a special point of celebrating the (Silvester) new year. The town hall installs large floodlights beaming colourful rays of light in to the sky. A fireworks display is performed when the new year starts. The centre of the city is full with people celebrating the new year. Couples do the Walz dance during this time.
I am in Vienna since 5 months and I should learn German as well as possible because I want to go to University. Learning Deutsch is very important for me.
Deutsch Akademie is one of the best language institution in Vienna where you quicklu feel at home and always receive the individual attention you deserve.
I was fortunate to know them on the internet and signed up for their courses.
Deutschs friendly and professional staff and teachers have a passion in their best throughout the courses and as soon as students encounter any problem at any stage ,they will be solved perfectly by teachers.
By keeping their classes small(max 10 students per class),they are able to offer a high level of personalalised tuition, allowing students to attend in all activities and learn quickly.
Their young experienced teachers teach based on the best known books and language materials of the world and you will not meet any cancellation of sessions.
If you have been learning German language in other institutions, to register in Deutsch Akademie you will be examined by an oral and written test and once your level of knowledge is determined, you will be registered.
To sum up, if you live in Austria and want to speak German like a German ,this institution is highly recommended.
Wish you luck in this journey