Tag Archives | vienna

Two Days in Vienna

It must be said: two days is not long enough to see Vienna.   There are so many things to do in Vienna!  Vienna food, history and charm offer traveling couples adventure at every turn.  One could spend an entire lifetime as a student of Vienna.  For those of you looking for a two day itinerary for Vienna, here are our recommendations.

Vienna churchVienna:  An Overview

Our first recommendation upon arrival is to get a quick feel for the city.  We typically recommend the hop on and hop off buses when we see a city for the first time.  We ran into a problem with this in Vienna.  All of Vienna looks the same.   There is no Eiffel tower, No arc de Triumph to help with memory points.   We found a great solution on our last trip to Vienna:

Instead of the bus, we recommend an Iphone app called Gretl Goes.  Using Gretl’s handy app you can hone in on a quick walking tour that gives you a much deeper intro into what you will be seeing.  Vienna is one of the easiest cities to traverse on foot.  The metro and bus system is really second to none.  Armed with the maps and insights of this handy app, you will become a Vienna pro in no time.

Are you into WWII?  Take her WWII walking tour and hit the high points in roughly 3 hours.   (We are begging Gretl to make a WWI tour!)

If you are a foodie, skip to the gourmet walking tour.  It includes visits to the Kipfelhaus the birthplace of the Croissant, a pop in at the Sacher café and what food tour would be complete without a visit to the Naschmarket.  The foodie tour ends in our fave gelato joint in all of Austria, Zanoni & Zanoni.  Grab some lunch in a café and your gelato and get moving!  We only have two days!

Schonbrunn Palace

Once you have your bearings, lets dive into the must see of Vienna.  Your afternoon will be spent at the imperial summer residence: Schönbrunn Palace.   When you purchase your tickets, make sure and pick up a helpful Schonbrunn Palace map.  Schonbrunn ranks right up there with Versailles, Fountianbleau and Dolamache.  It is simply stunning and thus a must see for any visit to Vienna.   The humble abode boasts 1,440 rooms!  You could easily spend two days seeing the mansion and strolling the gardens.  A complete afternoon will offer you the highlights and are a great primer on the Hapsburg Dynasty and a little Austrian history.  We recommend that you take the helpful audio guided tour of inside the palace followed by some wandering in the parks.

 

Oldest restaurant in EuropeDinner: Griechenbeisl (The Greek Inn)

Dinner for your first night in Vienna will be at an establishment that opened in 1447!  America hadn’t been discovered by the western world yet!  The Griechenbeisl caters to tourist for the most part now, but the food is actually really good.  On the evening we dined there a piano player churned out some great tunes and the wait staff were very attentive.  We highly recommend the filet of beef with green beans.   The prices are affordable and the portions sizable.

The Spanish Riding School

Since you are only in Vienna for short time, we recommend seeing things that are uniquely Viennese.  The Lipizzaner Stallions of the famed Spanish Riding School fits that bill.  Seeing an evening Lipizzaner performance is quite expensive for those of us that are “Euro-challenged”.  A much more affordable option is viewing the practice session held in the morning.  It is open to the general public for a reasonable fee, check their website for specifics.  We do recommend that you get there early.  The early birds get the best seats. http://www.srs.at/en/  Hit the gift store on the way out and get your brood some Spanish Riding School swag.

King's crown

The Imperial Treasury

Just down the road from the stables is the Imperial Treasury.  This impressive collection of state offers the highlights of both the Hapsburg and the Holy Roman Empires.    Highlights of the museum include:  the crown of the Holy Roman Empire,  the Holy Grail (yes, it could be that one), as well as Napoleon II’s crib.  There are also vestments of royalty, gaudy jewel encrusted gloves, and historical arms and armaments.  We would skip visiting the royal apartment tour.  The Schönbrunn Palace tour you took yesterday is better organized and frankly more impressive.  Keep moving!

family statueZentralfriedhof (The Central Cemetery)

For your last afternoon in Vienna, we recommend that you visit some of Vienna’s best and well know composers and musicians.  No, we are not sending you to a concert.  We are sending you to their final resting place.  This last stop is a bit morbid, but for us it was one of the most interesting stops in Vienna:  the Vienna Central Cemetery.  We did an entire post about our visit there:  Vienna’s Zentralfriedhof: the Intersection of Beauty and Remembrance.  Visiting the central cemetery is a lesson is history as well as a Viennese tradition.

Trattoria da Angelo

This recommendation is going to sound a little strange…but hear us out.  We are going to send you to a Italian Trattoria in Vienna.  The Trattoria Da Angelo is a wonderful little (there are only a handful of tables) place just behind St. Stephens Cathedral.  The fare is southern Italian with really good seafood dishes.  The scampi dish is to die for!    The best part is that it is owned by a great couple!

Enjoy your visit to Vienna!

 

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Vienna’s Zentralfriedhof: the Intersection of Beauty and Remembrance

Finding a place that strikes you on two levels is rare, finding a place that appeals to the eye, soul and mind is exceptional.  The Vienna Central Cemetery (Zentralfriedhof), located just outside Vienna, Austria  is one of those special places.  Traveling as a couple, we enjoy visiting cemeteries.  We can see you shaking your head….I know, we are strange.   We enjoy celebrating those that have gone before us.  We love learning what contributions our ancestors made to mankind and paying tribute to their lives.  Most importantly, visiting sites like these gives us a chance for self-introspection.    We want to explore one of the most intriguing cemetery we have ever visited.

Lets begin our tour of the Zentralfriedhof!

Dr. Karl Lueger

The Dr. Karl Lueger Gedächtniskirche

The Eye

Beauty is truly in the eye of the beholder.  Once you enter the main gate, what a beauty to behold!  The cemetery is in a park like setting with 2.5 square kms of manicured fields of grass, flowers and shrubbery.  To help you find your way around, the entire cemetery is divided up into sectors.  There are helpful free maps of the sectors at the main gate of entry.  Lanes, sections, and paths are marked clearly, so finding the headstone you are seeking is fairly simple.  Paved and gravel lined paths take you to different sectors within the cemetery.  Our visit was in early spring, walks were free of snow.

Our visit to the Zentralfriedhof held a surprising first for us.  At the heart of the cemetery is the Dr. Karl Lueger Church.   This wonderful shrine, built on the eve of WWI in 1910, is designed in the Art Deco style.  Trust us, we have been in a number of churches of all shapes and sizes, but this one is truly unique. We had never stepped foot into an art deco church or cathedral.  As you enter the nave your eyes are drawn up by the stately lines to the dramatic blue cupola.  The woodwork and glass inside the church is truly impressive.  The pews, alter and of course the glass are the result of master craftsmanship.

Dome of Vienna Central Cemetery church

The Dr. Karl Lueger-Gedächtniskirche Dome

Unique Tombstones

As you stroll through the endless tombstones, you take in the beauty and the art of the stone work.  Each stone is a work of art.  The Viennese take great pride in the construction and adornment of their burial sites.  Some of the elaborate tributes include chubby cherubs,  weeping nymphs, and marble and granite of every flavor.   Noteworthy physicists and chemists have their marquee chemical compound or formulas engraved on their stones!

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s Memorial

The Mind

While you are taking in the beauty of the Zentralfriedhof, hone in on some of the names chiseled into the stone.  At every turn in the cemetery, you come face to face with the names of artists, geniuses, villains, and poets.  Visiting the cemetery is a wonderful academic exercise!  At your feet lie some of the greatest minds in history.

Some of the notable permanent residents include:

Ludwig van Beethoven (1770–1827), composer

Johannes Brahms (1833–1897), composer

Ludwig Boltzmann ( 1844-1906), Physicist. His famous equation on entropy is engraved on his memorial stone.

Richard Réti (1889–1929), chess grandmaster

Franz Schubert (1797–1828), composer

Johann Strauss (1825–1899), composer

Siegfried Marcus (1831–1898), invented the modern automobile

Kurt Waldheim (1918–2007), UN Secretary-General

Mercedes Jellinek (1889-1929), the inspiration for Mercedes Benz

Falco (1957–1998), rock singer

Mozart?-Nope.  There is a monument dedicated to him, but his grave is a bit of a mystery.

Did Mike really dance the Waltz on the ‘Waltz King’ Johann Strauss II’s grave?  YES!

Ludvig Von Beethoven

Ludvig Von Beethoven

The Soul

For the Fighting Couple, visiting this sacred spot is incredibly inspirational.  One cannot but question your own existence by visiting places like these.  You see the finite dates on the stones: born on such and such and Died on this date.  There is a finality about reading these stones.  Then you reflect on how much they accomplished during their sojourn on earth. It is so refreshing to connect the generations to see the impact one person had on humanity, both positive and negative.   A visit such as this makes you question your own mission, asking questions: “What have I accomplished?  Why am I here?” While these difficult questions are challenging to answer, the process is inspiring.  You walk out of the cemetery with a renewed sense of purpose and perspective (and a hunger for some Viennese  sachertorte.)

One of the most intriguing things about the layout of the cemetery is that it includes sections dedicated to different religious, political and social groups.  It is a melting pot of human history.  Sections include: Protestant, Orthodox (Russian, Greek, Bulgarian and Coptic), Catholic as well as two Jewish sections.   There is also a sizable Muslim section.  Zentralfriedhof is also home to the first Buddhist cemetery in all of Europe.  Most recently, a section was dedicated to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, the Mormons.  We were struck by inclusive nature of the cemetery.

How to get there:

With Vienna’s amazingly easy to use public transportation system, getting out to the cemetery is simple.  From the city center take the suburban railway (Vienna S-Bahn) to the Zentralfriedhof stop.  Just outside the main gates there are a number of flower vendors.

Vienna Cemetery directions

Click on map for larger view.

Address:

Gate 2 (Main entrance):  Simmeringer Hauptstraße 234 , 1110 Vienna

*You may drive into the cemetery with your car at a cost of EUR 2.20 (except on 1 November (All Saints Day) when no traffic is permitted).

The dedicated bus line for the cemetery (number 11) runs every half an hour from 9 am to 3:30 pm, and also at 4 pm and 4:30 pm on Saturdays.

Hours:

Click Here

Prices:

Entry to the cemetery is free, but you can rent an audio guide, by providing a valid photo ID and paying a rental fee of EUR 7.00 at the main gate.

Website:

www.friedhoefewien.at

 

We need to offer a hearty thanks to the Austrian Tourism Board for assisting with our visit.  Their help made the visit possible.  Danke!

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