Vienna: Must see and do

Well by now you’ll know that in Vienna you simply *must* drink lots of the excellent coffee, and eat copious amounts of cake and sausages. But what to do in between meal times?

We had such an amazing holiday in Vienna, and although a LOT of it was spent at the amazing Christmas Markets (half the reason for us going in honesty!) I think we did pretty well at soaking up what this gorgeous city has to offer….and here is what I’d recommend you do too….

You can’t really get away from Mozart in Vienna, although it’s not quite as Mozart-crazy as Salzburg! The beautiful statue of the composer in the Burrgarten is well worth a look, although you may have to fight through hoards of school trippers to get your photo!

I love the way you can see Vienna’s Gothic masterpiece, the Stephansdom cathedral from so far away, yet it sort of creeps up on you as you discover it up close. One side of the roof is decorated with a rather on-trend chevron tile design, whilst the other bears the Austrian eagle. Inside though is the real surprise, as we found it lit up in a rather crazy tie-dye effect!

The guide books said that if you only go to see one palace in Vienna, make it the Schloss Shonbrunn. And it is certainly worth the short U-bahn trip out of the city. The audio guided tour will take you through the palace’s tumultuous history and gives you an insight into the lives of its many occupants, including the famous Habsburgs.

The palace also boasts incredible grounds, including various themed gardens, fountains, a labyrinth and maze, and a stunning gloriette….the climb up to which is well worth the effort when you turn around to see the whole of Vienna before you.

And as if that’s not enough, your combined ticket will also let you into the palace’s own zoo, the fascinating Wustenhaus (desert house) and the breathtaking Palmenhaus (Palm house) which is actually a replica of the one in our very own Kew Gardens!

Vienna is home to the world’s first Lomography shop, and so a pilgrimage to its vast photo wall was a must for this analogue-lover. It also has a great little gift shop and the rest of the Museum Quarter in which it resides is worth a visit too.

We found out about the Globe museum by chance, and hadn’t planned it into our schedule at all, but as soon as we knew it existed we couldn’t miss it! The museum far exceeded our expectations, and not only houses some of the most visually impressive and historically important  globes in the world (including an entire room featuring globes from private collections) but also teaches you the history of globe manufacture using clever interactive exhibits….I had no idea it would be so interesting! A combined ticket also lets you into the Papyrus museum and the fascinating Esperanto museum!

Vienna is so famed for its musical history that it would be rude to visit without experiencing some live music. We opted for a rather touristy package at the Kursalon in the Stadtpark…..a sort of a variety show featuring chamber music, ballet and opera, this was the perfect taster and had everyone toe tapping along to the familiar tunes of some of Vienna’s greatest inhabitants.

And whilst we’re on music…..Vienna’s answer to the Hollywood walk of fame is great fun, with golden stars featuring famous composers’ names stretching from the Staatsoper, all the way under the U-Bahn station tunnels.

And whilst you’re there, take a look at the charmingly funny Opera loos! In London we have cockney cash machines, but in Vienna there is a public toilet where you can listen to opera! Love it!

I could also argue that no trip to Vienna would be complete without a good fix of Klimt either, and the Secession museum is a great place to get a feel for the artist. Home to his masterpiece the Beethoven Frieze, the building itself is just as impressive, with its owl motifs and Medusa heads over the door!

And just over the road is the colourful Naschmarkt, the city’s largest and most popular farmers’ market.

I personally couldn’t let the opportunity to visit an iconic Bond film scene pass me by, and so we took a bit of a walk over to the Wurstelprater Amusement Park (actually the world’s oldest amuseument park!) to see the Riesenrad…..those of you who are as fond of Bond as I will recognise the Ferris wheel and the sliding glass doors below from The Living Daylights. The 65m wheel also featured in the film The Third Man, as well as cult classic Sunrise.

Vienna really is one of those cities though that you can just amble around all day, and although we crammed in lots, I’d happily return again (in the summer perhaps) to simply soak up some of the lovely atmosphere there.

Ems x

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Plans for the weekend…..

After my little trip to Paris, and walking for miles and miles adventuring, the last thing on my mind at this moment is more of the same! Still, I know that after a good sleep, I’ll be ready for action again and wanting to cram as many things as possible into the weekend!

This Saturday sees my ‘official’ birthday celebration (same as the Queen!), with a big picnic in my secret garden with a lovely bunch of friends…. so that will just leave Sunday to fill up with fun. Here are some of the things I’m shortlisting…..

Treasure

Treasure is London’s ‘visionary’ jewellery show, and will be showcasing some of the most beautiful, exciting and vibrant contemporary jewellery in the UK this weekend. Held at the stunning Somerset House, this year’s show will be the largest event of this year’s Jewellery Week, and offers a unique opportunity to meet designers, view their collections and buy some of the very best jewellery design the UK and Europe has to offer. It’s open on Saturday and Sunday from 10am to 6pm. Tickets are from £10 and available here.

Anifandis Dimitrios

David Nash at Kew: A Natural Gallery

UK sculptor David Nash is exhibiting his work at Kew Gardens until March 2012, showcasing many of his sculptures, installations, drawings and film in place throughout the Gardens, glasshouses and exhibition spaces. In addition, Nash is also working at Kew to create new pieces using trees from the Gardens that have come to the end of their natural life, adding these pieces to the exhibition in October. It’s the perfect setting to thoughtfully present his work, which spans 40 years and shows his deep understanding of the properties of trees. Tickets are £14.50 for adults, whilst children under 17 get in free!

David Nash, Black Sphere at Kew Gardens

Spitalfields Music Summer Festival

Some of 
East London’s most iconic venues open their doors to host a fabulous range of classical and contemporary music, family activities, and special tours. Bringing together world class artists and locals alike, the festival draws inspiration from the creative hub of East London, with the aim of bringing people together, changing perspectives and engaging body, emotions and intellect. Tickets vary in price, but you can find out how to book here and there’s a map of the events here….

Spitalfields Music Summer Festival

The Shoreditch Vintage Fair

This Saturday 16th, The Shoreditch Vintage Fair is back and tempting us with 40 stalls of mens and ladies vintage fashion. There will also be a vintage tea room, and beauty parlour hosted by Lipstick and Curls. Entry is £2 on the door.

Shoreditch Vintage Fair

The Monocle Country Fayre

This event is a uniquely global take on the English tradition, complete with market stalls, face painting, a mini zoo, Allpress coffee and more!…… There will be games of tombola, guess the button and pirate hunting, as well as prizes donated by Lufthansa, Krug and Ralph Lauren! The marvelous Trio Manouche are playing at 12pm too. It’s free to get in, but donations are welcome in aid of The Committee to Protect Journalists. It’s open from 11.00 – 17.00 on Saturday and Sunday. 

 The Trooping of the Colour

Although The Queen was born on 21 April, it has long been the tradition to celebrate her ‘official’ birthday publicly in the summer, in order to benefit from the better weather! Trooping the Colour is carried out by fully trained and operational troops from the Household Division (Foot Guards and Household Cavalry) on Horse Guards Parade in Whitehall, watched by members of the Royal Family, invited guests and members of the public. Tickets are allocated to public via a ballot and of course are all now gone, but you can still turn up at the Mall to see events from 11am, culminating in a fly past at 1pm.

Trooping the Colour

Enjoy your weekend!

Ems x