Thursday, June 30, 2011


Current work: Rome-set Riva
Listening to: Mozart
Reading: next on TBR

Well, this is really turning out to be a nice week. Originally we weren’t going away this summer, but DH has suddenly decided we are. So we have a very nice research trip lined up for Vienna. (Might be my chocolatier book – there just so happens to be a chocolate museum in Vienna – but Vienna also has links to another book I’ve wanted to write for a while on a different subject. And yes, I know I'm being a tease. It's still at the bubble stage.)

I’m all excited now. As there’s an inset day tomorrow (i.e. teacher training day - no school), will see if I can persuade daughter to come book shopping with me. We need to get the Rough Guide, the AA Citypack and a German phrasebook to jog my memory. It’s almost dreißig jahre since I did German at school. LOL, I can remember the important things, such as how to order Kaffee und Kuchen. Und die Praline, natürlich – as it’s my chocolatier book, we need to visit several Konditorei, nein? Um, we are going to have to do SO much walking, because I could be seriously bad on the carb front…

Did have a teensy panic moment when our normal boarding kennels couldn’t fit Emodog in, but luckily the kennels where he was born has a space for him and they’re looking forward to seeing him. (He, however, won't be looking forward to seeing them because it means we will be deserting him for almost a week. He will probably sulk for the rest of the summer now, sigh.)

As for me – well, I’ve been too distracted and overexcited to work. Must settle down and get nose back to grindstone now.


Kim said...

Vienna is beautiful - I was there for a week at the end of May and loved it. Great food - try a Kasekrainer hot dog (cheesy sausage) from one of the street stalls just off the Graben/KarntnerStrasse, a melange at cafe central, ice-cream at Zanoni & Zanoni, sachertorte at Hotel Sacher of course too!

Top tip for a nice friendly pub/restaurant with great value food is the Centimeter chain - a good one is on Lenaugasse near the Rathaus (2 plates of their schnitzel will feed 3 adults no problem and cost about €8/plate). The Salm Brau brewery restaurant by the Belvedere is also great (and I don't drink alcohol!).

Coffee, cake and museums are pretty expensive - around €3.70 is standard for a melange in the city centre and not much less for cake! Almdudler is the local lemonade style drink and is lovely (but buy from supermarkets rather than street food stalls, v expensive) There is a big supermarket (Billa) right in the centre of the city on Singerstrasse - if you stand with Stefansdom on your left and Karntnerstrasse on your right, with Cafe Aida in front of you, Singerstrasse is the road that goes straight ahead and Billa is just past McDonalds. Manner Schnitten (choc wafers) are delicious and the Manner chocolate factory has an outlet shop not far out of town - on Wilhelminenstrasse in Ottakring - easy to get to but doesn't open at weekends or late in the afternoon! Cheapest place to buy Mozartkugeln and they also stock more than the shop in the city centre, as well as cheap bags of seconds.

In the city centre, if you need the loo most places will charge - but pop into the Swarovski store on Karntnerstrasse and go to the basement for amazing toilets which are free - and check out the taps!

The Russian monument in town has an enormous fountain in front that is lit up in different colours at night. The morning training at the Spanish riding school is much cheaper than the performances - but not hugely exciting as they only bring in 4 horses at a time and change them every half hour. Interesting insight but I think I'd have rather seen a perfomance! If you do go to the training go early to get a seat on the lower tier, you can't see much at all from the top balcony although you can move between levels.

If you go to Schoenbrunn, don't be fooled at the ticket office into buying a ticket for the Gloriette and the gardens - anyone can go into the gardens (the tickets allow you into the small Crown Prince's Garden and the tiny maze) and only one tiny part of the Gloriette is restricted to ticketholders. Worth climbing the hill to the Gloriette though, the view of the city is amazing.

I got taken with a friends business colleagues (they were at a conference) to a heuriger in Perchtoldsdorf - quite a way out of the city but a really pretty village - that was taken by the Turks during the Siege of Vienna - and a great way of experiencing proper Austrian food rather than the tourist heuriger in the city. Only problem is they don't have websites and they aren't always open!

The city's parks are great, Stadtpark has the Strauss statue and floral clock, the Volksgarten has a beautiful rose garden (and there were ducklings in one of the ponds at the end of May), the Burggarten is great for kicking back with an ice cream (branch of Zanoni on the other side of the ringstrasse to the gates) and has the Mozart statue.
Didn't have too many probs with my v rusty A-Level German, but most people can speak English and will do despite your best efforts in German - just remember Gruss Gott is the preferred greeting and cream is Schlag rather than Sahne and you should be fine!

Have a great time - I'm very jealous as I can't wait to go back!

Jeff Rivera said...

It sounded like everything that happened to you in Vienna turned out suprisingly fun yet unexpected :P

India said...

Oooh, your excitement is infectious Kate - I'm smiling now. Would you like to borrow one 16 year old soon-to-be-German-A-level-student to take with you? She's cheap to feed (although surrounded by all those chocolate shops that might change...)

Kim, that kind of info is so invaluable. You don't know Picardie too by any chance do you?!

Kim said...

Jeff - I hadn't done too much research on Vienna - I spent the first part of the week babysitting for the friends I was with who were at a conference, so I didn't really have many expectations. And I had an absolutely brilliant time, everything was beautiful and because I hadn't known what to expect everything I got to do was, as you say, a very pleasant surprise! The friends I went with have been several times before though, so that probably helped.

India - sadly not, but I hope you have a great holiday anyway!

Kate Hardy said...

Kim - thank you SO much for taking the time to give me such brilliant information. That's all great stuff and I've printed it off to add to my guidebook info :) Sounds as if you had a fantastic time in Vienna :o)

Jeff - I'd agree with you, sounds as if Kim had a brilliant time!

India - teenager, cheap to feed??? Oh, yes, you have a girl ;o) (We've had the conversation about how quickly boys can munch their way through the fridge!) Have a lovely time in Picardie (which sounds SO romantic)