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Wednesday, August 15, 2012


Eva's apartment turned out to be at the outskirts of Vienna, away from any U-Bahn station, but with a tram line serving the big street that was 20 minutes walk from the apartment. The tram ran every 6-7 minutes, but unfortunately, it was impossible to predict how often the modern tram would run, versus the old-style one. The baby backpack would pose no problem on the old trams, but the Chariot required the new style tram. Once we connected to the U-Bahn, the entire city would be easily accessible, so it was no big deal. Unlike an U-Bahn station, however, the trams don't sell tickets, so you'd have to buy them from a tobacco-shop or train station before you tried to use them. In reality, if you screw up and forget to buy the ticket, it's unlikely that you'll be checked: I never saw a conductor during our stay in Vienna.
From Europe 2012 Selects
We visited the near by Lainzer Tiergarten. It's huge, including restaurants, playgrounds, and there was no way we could walk all of it. Downtown Vienna looked a lot like other big cities, and I found it unremarkable. We did find time to attend a concert, but discovered that the city's music hall and the tourist concerts are completely different. That's not a bad thing: if you're not a classical music fan, the challenging pieces are less interesting than what the tourist concerts get you. These musicians pretty much play every day and so are quite practiced. On the other hand, if you want true classical music, you'll want to do your research and buy tickets in advance.
From Europe 2012 Selects
We visited Schloss Schonbrunn, which was close to where we stayed, and adjacent to the zoo. We also visited the Hofburg, which shared a ticket with the Schonbrunn. While the gardens were beautiful, the days were extremely warm, so we could not spend too much time inside. The indoor museums, unfortunately, were also not air conditioned, and while better than being outside, after a while would also get very stuffy.
From Europe 2012 Selects
By the time we got around to visiting Schloss Belvedere, we were pretty much museum'd out, and chose to spend our time walking around outside enjoying the gardens rather than visiting the inside. We thought about doing a Danube river tour, but the reviews were so poor that we thought better of it.

My impressions overall of Vienna is that it's a nice town, but much smaller than Munich and with less variety. On the other hand, it's quite a lot cheaper, and has easy access to Hungary. We did find what our taxi driver claimed was the best ice cream shop in Vienna: the gelato at Schwendenplatz. With the delicious Hazelnut ice cream, it was excellent and worth multiple visits, especially if visiting Vienna during the warm days of summer.


bawa said...

We liked Budapest, did a lot of walking in the different areas of the city.
Not too fond of the Imperial architecture of Vienna, but we did visit the cemetery where a lot of the grand old composers are buried.

What the kids enjoyed most were the Vienna woods, in the hills around Vienna which belong to the city. Took a bus part way up, walked a long arc and then walked down through some vineyards and farms down to Vienna itself.

Piaw Na said...

The woods were nice, but not to my very spoiled Bay Area standards. :-)