Danke und Auf wiedersehen Vienna

Vienna was for us a huge delightful surprise.  A well-preserved, clean city with ample, clean, reliable public transport that was reasonably affordable.

Vienna was more expensive than we anticipated but not as expensive as other capital cities such as London or Paris — however I feel that we got what we paid for.

If you are a museum buff there are ticket schemes that allow you to pay in advance and get some discounts on most entry tickets. These would be well worth paying for as almost all of the major attractions charge for entry = allow 15/20 euros a head for adults — more if you want a guided tour.

Eating out is also expensive in comparison with Lisbon and the rest of Portugal and we found it hard to find authentic Austrian Cuisine — allow at least 50 Euros a head per meal — not including wine or dessert.

There is no such thing as a quick coffee — however their coffee confections and alternatives like herbal iced tea are to die for.  These two at The Medusa left no change from 12 euros.

Mr P has iced cappuccino, I have iced lychee and lavender tea — both were amazing and were the height of our culinary experiences here.

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Vienna by Fiaker and the Baron

Mr P loves horses.  He is with horses the way I am with cats — luckily, he has enough common sense to know that, at present, owning even one would be untenable.  We had hoped to go to the famous riding school while we were here but knew in advance that they close for six weeks in the summer and the stallions are moved to a summer camp where they rest from their daily rigors and get some “R & R.” They also get to service suitable mares to provide the next generation of stars.

So instead of watching the horses being put through their paces I decided to offer Mr P his horse fix in the form of a horse and carriage ride around Vienna. I have to say that in the balmy sunshine the whole experience was most delightful.

We chose our carriage with care. Most of them are veteran, if not antique, and offer seats of varying comfort. As most of the inner city is cobbled, and we are both prone to the odd back ache now and then, we looked for a carriage that had well padded seats. Mr P was also keen on choosing one that was drawn by healthy looking horses who were well-groomed. we also wanted someone who looked as though they had made an effort — no jeans and T-shirt for us!

There are standard fares/charges in operation — these were 40 euros for 20 minutes, 80 euros for 45 minutes and 120 euros for 90 minutes.  You also have the option to hire for the day or half day.  Note this charge is for the carriage itself — not per person.  Most carriages will sit four people — sometimes a 5th can sit up front with the driver.  Some only sit two.

Let me introduce you to Wolfgang Fasching or Georg Fasching — otherwise known as the “Fiaker Baron” — our driver for the next 45 minutes.

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Vienna on Foot: Stephansplatz to the Albertina

The center of Vienna is a grand place. It has large pedestrian areas, it is clean and tidy, plenty of provision for litter and reasonable public seating.  They have some problems with pigeons but not as much as I expected.  They did have one problem for us and that was lack of directions.  You would get one direction and then nothing!

This is a visual journey of our walkabout — to get the best from Vienna as a sightseer — you have to look up!

Looking back at St Stephen’s Cathedral:

Continue reading → Vienna on Foot: Stephansplatz to the Albertina