Category Archives: Die besten Wien-Tipps

Figlmüller – best schnitzel experience

So one can’t move to Vienna without trying their delicious marker – the Schnitzel. For this, we decided to go to one of the most recommended restaurants – Figlmüller, which you can find in the First District. Many people on tripadvisor were saying that it’s a great culinary experience and the best schnitzel in Vienna, so I had to try for myself.

First, we couldn’t find a table, but luckily they opened a second location just a few streets away from the original Figlmüller, so we had better luck there. Wollzeile and Bäckerstraße are the streets of the two restaurants. This traditional restaurant offers schnitzels for over 100 years and the ambiance is really lovely. Waiters are friendly and courteous, other guests seem to be enjoying themselves wholeheartedly and they have really good beer as well. We each ordered a Wiener Schnitzel, with a side dish of potato salad, but as soon as they brought it to the table, I could see that we could have easily split it. The schnitzel was the size of the plate, and I was told it isn’t even the biggest possible size that you can find in Vienna. Wow

It was really delicious, just enough crunch and rich meat, and was beautifully complimented by the potato salad, cranberry sauce and drinks. Of course, I had to take more than half of it to go, but this just meant that I enjoyed it later as well. My recommendation is – you have to try it for yourself.

What other good places for traditional food have you found in Vienna?

Haus des Meeres

This weekend we discovered Haus des Meeres, an Aqua Terra Zoo just up the street from where I live. It’s 9 floors full of various fish, underwater animals and some species of reptiles, birds, monkeys and even bats! It’s really cool if you have the chance to schedule your visit during feeding times – information for which you can find on their website- so you can experience firsthand how sharks, fish and alligators devour their food. Rawr!

 

I really loved the giant turtle that I’ve seen there – it was a first experience for me – and enjoyed the slow but elegant way they move and twirl amongst the water bubbles. The whole place is very well kept and the animals seem good taken care of.

Aside from the beautiful things that you get to see, there is also a cozy rooftop restaurant, with a spectacular view over Vienna. I spent the better part of an hour admiring the near and far buildings of this beautiful city that I have moved to.

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Café Sperl – an incursion in the past

Down the street from where I live, on Gumpendorfer Straße 11, you can find the famous Café Sperl. This traditional establishment is really old, founded in 1880, and you can feel the vintage atmosphere as soon as you set foot in. All the original furniture has been preserved, the tapisteries from olden ages, and a visit at Café Sperl is like a dive into the history of Vienna.

It is said to be the scenes of many artists and writers over the years, Franz Kafka for instance, and it has also been used for many scenes from movies. Here you can find traditional foods and drinks, including many varieties of local coffees and of course the famous Apfel Strudel. What do you say, would you be curious of such a traditional outing and incursion in the Viennese past? Let me know in the comments below.

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Pretty houses of Vienna

It was a day like any other and I was returning from shopping at the Nashmarkt, standing in line and waiting for the street light to turn green. I look up and suddenly see something that makes me smile: a house with intriguing flowery design, unlike any I’ve seen just laying around in a city.

Next to it was another beautiful house, this one with amazing golden finishings. I thought to myself “What a pretty city I moved to, where one can just encounter such houses on the street, on a regular day”.

I did a bit of research and it seems the flowery house is also called the Majolikahaus and they were both designed by Otto Wagner, an Austrian architect and urban planner who lived here in Vienna and contributed to many beautiful landmarks. Looking forward to seeing more!

the Schönbrunn Palace gardens – a thing of beauty

One of the most magical afternoons of this summer, while the weather still allowed it, was the visit to Schönbrunn Palace gardens. Since its opening in 1779, it has attracted and amazed tourists from all over the world. There is a unique beauty in the stillness of the grass statues which blends perfectly with the neatly cared for flower walkways.

The Botanic Garden is a thing of beauty and all the gardens were artistically designed by landscapists employed by the royal family, at one time or another. Over time, the park was extended and articulated by a maze of avenues, which intersects with walks and vistas, and is meant to be an external continuation of the beauty inside Schönbrunn Palace.

When spring comes and weather allows it again, I will definitely go back and explore some more, or maybe just spend hours on a lazy afternoon laying on a blanket, admiring the sites.

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My Favorite Places in Vienna – Donauinsel

I’ve been running regularly for more than 6 years now. When we moved to Vienna, one of my first things was to find a great place for running. I checked on-line, and three beautiful places were recommended. First was the Prater, which is wonderful, but too far from my home. The second was the Schönbrunn, but it is always packed with tourists. (Don’t misunderstand me, I like tourists, but running around them can be a bit tiring). The third place was the Donauinsel. It’s a very narrow (only 70-120 m), 21 km long island. At the first time I fall in love with it. (And I also started to run on an island on the Danube).

The Donauinsel is not a natural island, it is the part of the city’s flood protection system. The works started in 1972 and finished in 1988. The Neue Donau is practically a long swimming lake, not a river. If you are on the island, you see the difference between the color of the water on the left and the right side. It can also be seen on Google Maps. It is a recreational area with a lot of restaurants, a water park and various activities on the water (windsurfing and boat rentals are also available).
You can lay under the Sun and tan from late spring till early autumn or just have a drink in the grass while watching the water. You won’t be alone, don’t worry 🙂 There are always a lot of people.

For running, it can offer different distances, remember, it’s 21 km long so it’s only up to you! I usually start at the Neue Donau station at U6, then head to the south. I’ve already met rabbits, baby swans and ducks.

This weekend there is a huge, famous and FREE festival, don’t miss it! I will be there 🙂 www.donauinselfest.at

This Danube is really “blue”

 

Swans with their babies

Backup Options to Getting Around Wien

Getting around Wien is not usually a lot of sweat, thanks to the excellent public transport system here. Most residents and students in particular in the city are hooked on to the system to go about their tasks as much as millennials depend on their mobile phones for meaningful social interaction. Although the cost of the services is a bit on the higher side, commuters get to choose from the fast U bahns that trundle quickly through tunnels and over bridges to get you to your destination in a jiffy or Strassenbhans (trams) and buses that lumber through roads and make for a good alternative for those who want to look around at the beautiful city. However, its a large, complex network and every so once in a while, something does go wrong and while the highly competent staff at Wiener Liener get about to setting it right, we the people generally have to wait and watch.

It is quite interesting, that its exactly because the system is so reliable that so many Wieners are unprepared for transport system stoppages. Recently, I was stuck near Florisdorf for almost half an hour as a problem somewhere was forcing trains on both sides to use the same platform. Most other people around me had to just stand and wait as well and by the looks of it, some were being kept from important engagements. This got me thinking, what are the options that we have to deal with such black swan events?

The white knight arrives to save stranded passengers!

Students will more often than not lack the budget to buy their own vehicles and cycling is not everybody’s thing. Also, as much as one would fancy it, getting a boat and paddling your way though the Donau is not very practice. So what do we do when the good old lines do not function? Turns out, your phone can come in handy (yes! finally I know enough German to come up with some pun!). Here are some apps that can help you move around should the need arise.

  1. Uber: Although not as ubiquitous as in the US or some other markets, Uber seems to be a good option for commuters in the city. Functions exactly like in other places and the rates are reasonable (although rush hour price spikes can and will happen). Internet feedback over the app is generally positive, so just tap that app when you have to!
  2. Car2Go: A car rental app, Car2Go is an option for students with a valid driving license. Pick up a rental car from a close convenient location and use it. Internet reviews I came across for the service were a bit mixed.
  3. MyTaxi: A rather famous taxi hailing app in Europe, MyTaxi services are available in Wien and let you connect directly with taxis nearby. You can also pay for the ride using the app and have favorite drivers and other useful functions that make this a rather interesting option.

I do hope that readers will find the post useful. Please comment and let me know if you think something else should make it to the list!

Some popular indoor getaways in Wien

Although, we have had one nice sunny morning this past week, I thought I would play it safe this time around and stick to some indoor recreational avenues in Wien. Almost all the districts in the city have shopping centers and theaters, but some of them make for better evenings than others depending on your preferences. In making this list I have also prioritized places that are easier to access using the U Bahn network, so you may see some popular names missing.

  1. Lugner City: Among one of the most popular shopping destinations of the city, my first tryst with Lugner was way back in 2009, when I visited the center regularly to visit a really reasonably priced, all-you-can-eat restuarant, which has since shut shop (probably because of gluttonous clientele like me I imagine). However, the place is located close to the inner city (the station next to Westbahnhof on U6) and has a variety of shops, which feature good offers quite regularly and a great food court. Lugner City also has a kino for all you film buffs. Definitely a top destination to shop for some clothes and electronics! Do note that the place can get quite crowded in the weekends.

    Lugner City: Great choice of shops and activities

  2. Wien Mitte: Billed as the largest shopping center in the city, Wien Mitte is conveniently accessible by U, S and regional train networks. The place boasts of multiple supermarkets (some open even on Sundays), fast food, coffee houses, shops, restaurants and a multiplex. It does not matter if you are looking for books, hats, consumer durables or just a nice place to dine at, this center has it all.
  3. Millennium Shopping Center: Located in the lower floors of the Millennium Tower (next to Handelski Station on the U6), this is one of the quieter, more relaxing shopping areas that I have been to. Its right next to Neue Donau, so the view from most places within the center is spectacular. The place boasts of some upmarket coffee houses, a spacious and well maintained food court with a really good variety of cuisines to choose from. As with the other places listed above, this center has a multiplex thrown in as well. It also has a great recreational center for gaming and a disco.
  4. G3 Shopping Center: Located at quite a distance from the city, you will need to hop on to the U6 and go all the way to Florisdorf and catch a free shuttle that will take you to the G3 center. While the place is quite far from almost everything, it is quite popular with people looking to do their shopping on a budget. You find a number of brands selling clothes and other merchandise at good discounts and a few coffee shops when you want to take a break from the shopping. It also houses a couple of big supermarkets.

Hope you find the list useful! Please use the comments to add your suggestions to the list!

Lebede si o plimbare pe malul Dunarii

Pentru cei care locuiesc in Viena, este bine stiut ca pe malul Dunarii se gasesc mandre lebede gata de a fi admirate si fotografiate.

Cum traditia Craciunului este una imbelsugata, iar pe mesele romanilor se afla bucate care mai de care mai imbietoare si gustoase, corpul nostru se resimte si are nevoie de o plimbare asa ca… hop top si noi pe malul Dunarii la plimbare.

Vremea de astazi a fost una placuta, iar lebedele ne-au facut deliciul oferindu-ne un show garantat. Plimbari scurte, jucat intre ele, sau mici conflicte spre incantarea spectatorilor. Data viitoare voi sti sa iau putina mancare de acasa, iar succesul de a sta aproape de mine o sa fie unul garantat.

Daca esti in Viena in aceasta perioada, ai chef de aer curat si o scurta plimbare, profita de ocazie si fa o vizita lebedelor de la statia de metrou Handelskai.

Distractie placuta!

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History of Vienna – Part VI: The dawn of the modern era. Vienna under Emperor Franz Josef

For almost seventy years from 1848 to 1916, Vienna stood under the rule of Emperor Franz Josef. This period witnessed enormous transformations in the city’s appearance, its politics and its daily life. After the removal of the old walls and gates, the old enclosed city was able to expand. During the period of rapid industrial expansion after 1871, the “Ringstraße” was transformed into a magnificent boulevard with representative public buildings such as the State Opera, City Hall, Parliament, the Burghtheather and the palaces of the ambitious financial aristocracy.

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Parliament building

During this period, Vienna grew into a modern metropolis. For decades, the city resembled a giant construction site. Its appearance changes as old building were torn down and new ones sprang up in their air. The creation of new energy grids, as well as Otto Wagner’s design of a new local railway system, helped to modernize the city’s infrastructure. Among the stars to emerge from this epoch were Hans Makart, the “Prince of Painters” and Johann Strauss Jr., the “King of the Waltz”.

History of Vienna – Part V: Vienna around 1800. From the French Wars to the Congress of Vienna

The wars between Napoleonic France and the older monarchies transformed the face of Europe. Among other things, they brought about the disintegration of the Holy Roman Empire. In 1806, Franz II declared the latter dissolved, since 1804 he held the title “Emperor of Austria”. As a result, Vienna gained the status of imperial city of Austria, but it lost its importance as a center of German politics.

In 1805, the French army occupied Vienna for two months, while Napoleon resided in the Schönbrunn Palace. In 1809, the Viennese attempted to repeal another French assault, but after only a few hours, the city stood in flames and they were forced to surrender. It was on the battlefield between Aspern and Essling, today in the northeast of Vienna, where Napoleon suffered his first defeat. However, the French army soon reclaimed its military superiority at the Battle of Wagram. Before their withdrawal, Napoleon’s troops destroyed large sections of the city’s fortifications.

In place of the demolished bastions that had stood before the Imperial Palace, builders then erected the “Neues Burgtor” (Imperial Gate), the “Äußerer Burgplatz” (now Heldenplatz) and the “Burggarten” (Imperial Gardens).

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After Napoleon’s defeat, the rulers of Europe gathered at the “Congress of Vienna (1814-1815) to establish a new political order in Europe. Vienna became the centre of the European Restoration, which found its spokesman in the Austrian chancellor Matternich.