SHOPPING in Vienna:
In this case vintage doesn't mean that the stuff has been worn before, that it looks ragged or smells of moth balls. It rather feels like a please-touch museum of past fashion. The collection consists of selected pieces from the years between 1880 and 1980 - anything more recent than that you will look for in vain. The owners of the boutique have got such a good touch for beautiful things that the Flo has become world famous: Stella McCarney, Marc Jacobs and Kate Moss have been here to look for glamorous garments from the 1920s, New Look from the 1950s or whacky designer pieces from the 1980s. The shop also has traditional costume, headdresses and extravagant jewels.
When cold, rains and storms make for challenging weather, there is nothing nicer than to slip into a piece of knitting art by designer Sibylle Bauer-Schmidt. In the tailor's workshop next to the shop you can buy the exceptional yet wearable. The skirts, jackets, coats and sweaters radiate from colourful elegance and tasteful creativity. The knitted fabrics, from which Sibylle Bauer-Schmidt produces her fashion, are produced exclusively for Sibylle Bauer-Schmidt. If you shop here you purchase a piece of her passion and a potential favourite.
Disaster Clothing has become an institution in the Neubaugasse. Any one, whether teenager or a bit more mature, will find something here, provided they're looking for something cool. Pieces by established labels, such as Custo Barcelona, Desigual, Amarillo Limon and Skunk Funk are on display next to young Austrian designers such as Elke Freytag, lila, Maronski, Dejan, and Esca. The standards include Freeman T. Porter, Kyuichi fairtrade and biocotton Jeans. You always find something, because there is always something different to choose from in the DC, and always in limited edition. The shop complements and changes its stock every two weeks, so feel free to stop by more often than once.
SIGHTS in Vienna:
It is the biggest museum of contemporary art in Central Europe. And Vienna's greatest. The MUMOK is always worth a visit, if only for its architecture. And inside it's just as impressive, since the curators can draw from an extensive collection and present interesting focal points. There are five levels with works by Pablo Picasso, Nam June Paik, Andy Warhol and Günter Brus, ranging from Pop Art to Photorealism and from Fluxus to New Realism. The collection on the Viennese Actionism is a must.
The Museum District is a cult for the Viennese: In the summer you sit on the Enzis (colourful open-air furniture to stretch out on), sip take-out drinks and listen to the DJs. In the winter it's time to take in culture in one of the museums or muse about which of the great restaurants or cafés to go to this time? Take in the street life: 60,000 sqm art and lifestyle are waiting for you! The architecture of the museums is phenomenal: The most modern buildings were combined gracefully with baroque originals. At the square you find the Vienna Art Gallery, which houses many events, the Museum of Modern Art and the Rudolf Leopold Collection. Beyond the three big ones near the square there are also several smaller cultural institutions that are even more exciting, such as the Austrian Museum of Architecture (www.azw.at) or the Tanzquartier (dance house - www.tqw.at). The little ones find cultural happiness in the Jungle Children's Theatre or the Children's Museum. If you are looking for unusual souvenirs, this is also the right place for you: Many small shops sell knickknacks for back home. Our tip. Sit down in one of the cafés and watch people!
When the schedule is tight and you need to get moving, we suggest combining your morning jog with a sightseeing tour: Just run around the ring road and admire the magnificent buildings. Shortly after the start you pass the parliament building: Pallas Athena is turning her back to the parliament, maybe not a wise decision. Then you move on to the Rathausplatz, with City Hall and Burgtheater, then on to the University at the Schottentor, passed the Bourse, the Urania, and the MAK (Museum of Applied Arts). Along the chic Kärnterring you reach the Opera. If you need more action still, you can turn into a park on the way. The Volksgarten, the Stadtpark or the Burggarten are possibilities. Tip: The round also works with the tram (you have to change lines) or a rented City Bike.
EAT in Vienna:
The secret to success is an open one: In the Figlmüller the Schnitzels are always a little bigger, a little thinner and a little crunchier than elsewhere. No wonder, since the Schnitzel etiquette is considered to be a genuine piece of professional ethics: The meat must be from the saddle of the pig and is pounded to 34 cm. The coating has to be made with Kaisersemmel breadcrumbs only. After that the Schnitzel goes through 3 different frying pans that are all filled with oil heated to different temperatures, before it finally ends up on your plate. Bon appetite! Beware: There are several Figlmüllers in Vienna. You'll do best in the parent house at the Wollzeile.
It is rumoured that not even in Italy you can get a pizza so wonderful like the one that comes out of the oven at Maria's Pizzeria. Up until 8 p.m. the eatery belongs to the children, who watch intently what the pizza baker is doing. Starting at 9 p.m. the adults take over, and only those with reservations. The young owner has lived in Naples. Upon her return she just imported a piece of Italy to Vienna, in a literal sense: The flour and tomato sauce come directly from bella Italia, the rest from local farmers. For dessert there's Panna Cotta in all variations imaginable as well as bitter espresso. The furnishing? Just as straightforward as the menu, and that is simply perfect.
On level ground?
In a way it is unnecessary to recommend this restaurant: When you see the little Biedermeier house at the Spittelberg, you won't want to go passed it anyhow. The restaurant is just as enchanting as it is simple; the only thing where one has over-egged the pudding is with the name. It serves Viennese cuisine, rather down-to-earth and simple yet tasty. The drinks are regional, too: Most wines and also the liquors are from Austria. We don't know whether or not Nestroy would come eat here. But you should, in any event!
STAY in Vienna:
Vienna upgrades to a luxury hotel city. Park Hyatt, Kempinksi and Four Seasons are on their way, and already at the end of August the Ritz-Carlton Vienna has opened in prominent location on the Viennese Ringstraße. Originally the luxury chain Shangri-La planned a hotel at this very spot. But these plans dematerialised again and instead the federal capital got 202 luxurious rooms, a gourmet restaurant and the first Guerlain Spa in Austria - thanks to Ritz-Carlton. All this is located in four historical buildings under monumental protection from the 19th century. The original wall cladding and the ceiling frescoes therefore remained the same. The kitchen of the restaurant Dstrikt is run by celebrity chef Wini Brugger whose Indochine21 is located right across the street - how convenient! Also non-hotel guests can dine at the restaurant and reach restaurant and bar through a separate entrance. However, you need a special invitation for the Chef's Table which will jumble up the hotel kitchen with its eight seats. A big fuss has been made about the rooftop bar Atmosphere: the view over Vienna is only permitted until 9.30 pm - because of potential disturbances of the peace.
Wine aficionados will feel understood in the Hotel Rathaus: It renders homage to the Austrian vintners, having named every single room after one of the vinous local heroes. Forty rooms and one loft suite, that reflects the diversity of the Austrian wine culture, and of course there are top quality samples in the minibar. Organized tours include wine trips to Vienna's surrounding areas, and if you don't want to leave the hotel you can join the in-house wine tasting events and presentations. The rooms have an individualistic flair and are furnished in a pleasant, modern design. A night in a double starts at 160,- euros.
Luxury hotels represent a multitude of lifestyles and living spheres. One version is a modern, contemporary design paired with vintage. Another one is traditional luxury with precious materials and the flair of bygone times. That's what Kempinski in Moscow represents. And rightly so. After all, Kempinski, founded in 1897, is the oldest luxury hotel group in Europe. The Nikol'skaya welcomes its guests after six years of renovation in several buildings around the corner of Nikol'skaya Street and the Lubyanka square. In the style of the Belle Époque: opulently adorned with marble and dark oak wood, red velvet and beige wallpapers, golden décor and crystal chandeliers. Already in the lobby the hotel alludes to the times of ocean steamers, when people clad in pearls and fur sipped champagne from crystal flutes. But you can still do so - in the Kempinski lobby, lounging on art déco furniture under a colourful glass cone. That's good old luxury, redefined!