SIGHTS in Vienna:
Those who live close by never move any more. And those who don't, come from all over the city to relax in one of the most beautiful parks in Vienna. In the Augarten every one finds a place. Even the two huge flak towers from World War II have been integrated and made themselves indispensable. The runners run around, the slackliners balance between the trees, while a few more senior park lovers meet for a Boccia game. The hits this summer are already taking shape: Advanced Frisbee and Viking Chess. If you don't know what that is just ask a park inhabitant, they tend to be rather communicative. After the whatever-it-is match you can return the favour with a beer, spritzer or icecream, which the Awawa-Beisel, also called Bunkerei, provides. And when it doesn't happen to be summer? Then the Bunkerei offers punches. And the Augarten itself is beautiful in every season. Tip for families: For the little ones there is a children's pool and countless playgrounds.
Long live the central cemetery? the song by the Austropop legend Wolfgang Ambros hits the nail on the head. Admittedly, the quote is so Tuesday, but it really is one of the most beautiful places in the capital. If you like cemeteries in general, you have to take a walk there, in order to get some of the morbid charm of Vienna. Three million - some of them famous - names have been chiselled in stone, thus Vienna counts more dead than living inhabitants. With a list about who's been put to rest where, you can start on a vivid grave tour, in search for Mozart, Beethoven and Falco in sometimes quite sumptuous gravesites, as well as the Presidential Vault with the remains of Dr. Karl Renner and Thomas Klestil. Well worth seeing is also the Jewish part of the cemetery, the resting place for Buddhists and the phenomenal Art Nouveau church by Otto Wagner. Tip: You either resign yourself to only seeing parts of the cemetery, or you go to the most favourite sites with the bus line 11.
If you haven't been to the theatre in Vienna you've missed something. The most elegant is located at the ring road, directly opposite to the City Hall. The Burgtheater has a long tradition, yet it is known as one of the most modern stages in the German-speaking world. The repertoire includes international classics and contemporary works, much of it from the rich tradition of Austrian plays. On the small stage, the Kasino, it even gets a bit more zeitgeisty and progressive: Young, courageous directors and playwrights have a platform that is no less professional than Mother Burg. Although some in the theatre city like to pretend that theatre is a pleasure for high society only, it's not at all the case: The audience is a colourful mix, and an unofficial dress code is at place - if at all - in the boxes. Tip: Going to the cinema is probably more expensive than a visit to the Burgtheater, since one hour before the start the remaining tickets are sold for half the price. Works most of the time.
SHOPPING in Vienna:
It seems that it got a little tight in Nathalie Perstich's shop in the Schleifmühlgasse, between kitchen and cookbook collection. Thus she opened another one in the middle of the first district. Just as in the original Babette's, there are loads of cookbooks. But the exuberant selection of unusual spices from all over the world is new. There is reason to doubt that the Naschmarkt can compete with that: 70 spices are kept in the mysterious spice chest. They are offered in bulk, plain or mixed by hand into great concoctions. Would you like to have the luxury spice of all? Then you should try the legendary, because extremely rare Kampot Pepper from Cambodia. Hungry? Then wait for lunch. Soups, curries and savoury pastries are prepared with the spices on offer; maybe that will facilitate your choice a bit.
Be a good girl
Sometimes you just hit on the perfect mix. The guys and girls from Be a good Girl have certainly hit it, managing to keep a perfect balance between shop, event location and hairdresser. Some labels on the shelves are well-known or even hip, such as Freitag, Erfolg, Levi's or Trippen. Others are among the newcomers, which makes them just as interesting: König Walter, Paula.Paul or House of Done. Never heard of them? Then off to the Westbahnstraße! Attention: If you have a tendency to exaggerate, you won't find your way out without a new haircut, a few CDs, books and a completely new outfit. Tipp: There are also several events and presentations. Announcements and dates are on the homepage.
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.
EAT in Vienna:
The Palmenhaus is such a nice place that it easily manages the balancing act between tourist trap and local hot spot. It's existed since the turn of the century, and a look at the glass-steel construction alone is worth the visit. Now parts of the building have been remodelled by the architect duo Eichinger-Knechtl and were modernized in the true sense of the word. The palm trees and the view over the enchanting Burggarten have remained. Try to find a spot on the terrace or at the Brunnenbar (at park level). You can spend wonderful summer nights there, tastefully set to music by Viennese DJs. Plus: Great cuisine, great cocktails.
Matthias Euler-Rolle was the youngest radio host in Austria and grew to fame through the channel Ö3. Today he is programme director of the soul radio station Superfly.fm. And owner of a bar. At the end of November 2012 he opened his own bar called Puff in the Girardigasse in the sixth Viennese district. Everything happened quietly, almost secretly. It's a cool joint, used to be known under the name Girardi Club where easy girls welcomed their guests. Today this is different. The bar was designed by the Viennese Walking-Chair design studio and you sit under light objects made of PET bottles and sip cocktails that do not know frippery and affectations. The bar has the first Gimlet machine in the city which stands directly on the counter.
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:
The Pension Nossek is often booked up months in advance, and that's understandable. If you happen to know a nicer and more charming hotel, please let us know. The family run establishment is more than 100 years old, and it's clear to see: stucco ceilings, parquet floors and Vienna period furniture create a very special atmosphere. Prices are relatively favourable, which is surprising given its location. The Pension Nossek is located directly at the moat in the first district, from some rooms your can even see the posh shopping street. There are a colourful mix of guests, ranging from the university professor to the backpacker. Doubles start at 115 euros at night.
Wombats: The Base
It doesn't get cheaper than this. Nevertheless, the Wombats was recently voted the cleanest hotel in the world. Those two characteristics make it the perfect place for people who don't intend to spend much time in their hotel anyway. The Base has had its base in the 15th district since 1999. Since its concept has been so successful, The Lounge followed in the Mariahilferstraße. In 2011, The Naschmarkt will be opened. The flair is typical of a well-kept, no-frills hostel: Friendly staff, sociable guests, simple rooms. Absolute highlight is the beautiful sun terrace. And if you can't stand a stranger snoring next to you, you don't have to. In the Wombats you can rent a double, where you don't even have to share the bath and toilet with your new friends. Doubles start at 50 euros, and a night in the dormitory at 12 euros.
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.