Theatres were part of the courtly life of the Hamsburgscapital for centuries, actually the theatre culture was formalised in the Baroque age. During the Baroque age the court started to collect costumes, decorations and other materials used for stage production. The collection grew and grew so in 1922 the state opened an archive in order to preserve it for the future. Soon after, in 1931, a Theatre Museum was first opened but soon closed in 1938 with the Anschluss. The museum was re-opened again only in 1975, this time in Palais Lobkowitz. The palace was acquired by the state and extesively refurbished in 2008, shining now in all of its Baroque splendour.
Lobkowitz palace have hosted the first performance of Beethoven's "Third Symphony", thus the main hall of the palace is called Eroica-Saal.
Think of a slightly thick pancake (in my opinion). Now think of that pancake with jam or chocolate sauce filling and roll it 2 or 3 times. Now add some powder sugar. You know what you've got? Palatschinke, and a very good one too!
Kaiserschmarrn is, as told by Michael (and correct me if I'm wrong), a mix of pancakes with berries or apple sauce or marmalade, basically whatever sweet you have lying around in your pantry or fridge. This dish goes as far as Imperial Austria, when the Emperor Franz Josef and Empress Sisi where served with this dish, Sissi didn't like it but Frans Josef did, which is why it's called what it's called. Schmarrn means "rubbish" and kaiser "emperor".
Silvester-Pfad is the name of the festivity in Vienna at New Years Eve, when all of the inner city of Vienna is full of different shows, food-stands and when you are able to dance in the streets ( IN CASE that you find enough place to do so !!) In front of the townhall / Rathaus you may get dancing-lessons for viennese-waltz, beginning at 02.00p.m. and at night you may dance there as well in the open air, another open-air-dance-floor will be on Graben.
Silvester-Pfad starts at 02.00p.m. and has an open end, although the official end is at 02.00a.m. - see the program and some pics at the web-link below !
Be aware of the fact that the city of Vienna will be terribly crowded that day, especially close to Stephansdom, where Bummerin, the biggest bell of Austria will ring at midnight !
Pfad is the expression for path and aqlong that path you will find the right place for your kind of music :
Boogie Woogie and Rock n’ Roll live will be at Lugeck
Samba & greek melodies will be at Freyung
Music of the 80s, 90s, and today will be am Hof
and so on...
Click here for the opening-times of Museums in Vienna at Dec. 31st !
Another "must" regarding local custom. Well, it's not cheap, but, if you can afford it, "once in a lifetime...".
This excerpt was taken from their own site:
"Experience the typical Viennese coffee house atmosphere at Café Sacher Wien and treat yourself to an Original Sacher-Torte and an Original Sacher Café. The Café Sacher at the Hotel Sacher is a glamorous meeting point for tourists and lovers of Austrian pastries alike. The Café Sacher is also home to the world’s most famous chocolate cake, the Original Sacher-Torte".
Just behnd the Opera.
Let me tell you the History taken from their own site:
"Everything began in the year 1.786 when confectionary assistant Ludwig Dehne from Wuerttemberg settled in Vienna.
He started selling frozen goods and very soon extended his production to candy, jam-filled doughnuts and Mardi Gras beignets as well as a variety of other bakery goods. And already several years after the founding, cavaliers held their trysts with beautiful Viennese women at Dehnes, enjoying the artfully formed and decorated sweets.
Ludwig Dehne's son August sold the shop in 1857 to his first assistant Christoph Demel".
So, you can discover how important and famous this Café is. You also can have lunch, snacks and see how the cakes are made (second pic).
- Fax: (+43) 1 535 17 17-26
Daily from 10.00 a.m. to 7.00 p.m .
In Wien, coffee drinking is really a cult.
Inside the city there are many coffee shops where people stop for a coffee, read news, chat, etc...
You can compare this cult like thea drinking in England.
So i really suggest to stop in one of those places and enjoy your coffee maybe with a sweet cake.
While driving betweeen Germany and Italy I happened upon a service oasis outside Hohenems on the E43. Before I was aware I was flagged down by an official looking gentlemen holding a small stop sign standing on the roadside.
He politely notified me that I was driving on Austrian roads without the proper permit. Surprised, I asked him to explain, which he did. About 200 meters before him I had crossed into Austria (now if there had been significant signs stating such I would have known, but it looked just like a dozen other service stops on the highway)and was now required to have a road permit. I said I wasn't 1) aware I had entered Ausria and 2) saw/knew nothing about a required road tax/toll/permit.
That mattered nothing to him and it would now cost me 120 Euros (~$160). He said there were signs in English as I approached the border which I later verified was not true.
But they had me, (and 4 other carloads at the time I was stopped, all unwitting tourists like myself). Either I pay their extorted 120 Euros or they impound my car, detain me and charge me 3000 Euros for not complying.
Nice place. Worst than a Georgian speed trap.
Now I may not have seen the signs leading to this fiasco but I could read the signs now. So I paid their grimy little tourist tax vowing never to return to their miseable little tourist trap and to tell whoever I meet what a petty and disingenuous place Austria is.
I will someday be offered an opportunity to extract recompense and I assure you it will be sweet.
So if you drive in that region, avoid Austria, and if you can't avoid it all together, figure out to purchase their toll pass for 7.70 Euros before they can robe you of much much more.
Switzerland BTW has a similar tax but they were very polite and accomodating allowing you to buy as you cross into Switzerland.
From the end of November until Christmas, Vienna also "means" Christkindlmarkt or Christmas markets . Small stalls full of hand crafted presents, Christmas tree decorations, sweets, hot punch, roasted chestnuts and waffles are found in many "corners" of the city: Karlsplatz, Rathaus, Schonbrunn, Maria Theresien Platz.
(Each one has its special character, but the nicest in my opinion is the one from Schonbrunn Palace)
I'm not sure what compels someone to wake up one morning and says "gee wouldn't it be a great career move to spray paint myself metallic silver and stand entirely still on a box in the center of Vienna" but there certainly are enough that I must assume that there's some money in the gig! Some of the ones we've seen in our travels have been quite good, well, at least in the sense that they can actually stand still until someone plunks a coin into their collection box. The ones we saw in Vienna on this particular day blinked and fidgeted and a few were even caught behind the church sneaking a smoke while in costume.
My impression is the Austrians are very industriuos people. They seem a very hard working culture. When we spotted this statue above a building on one of our many city walks we thought it was appropriate.
I'm used to doors that one of the train personnel opens for me when the train arrives at the platform by pressing a button, so it was interesting to see that in Vienna one had to open their door to get in or out of the subway trains, commuter train (S-bahn), trams, etc.
Fiakers and Vienna go together like a knife and a fork. The typical Vienna horse and wagon can be rented by visitors for a drive through town. Long time ago, this was the way of transport for the wealthier families, but in Vienna too it evolved a little like the first form of a taxi (cap) for the common public (still those who had quite some money to spend). Fiakers come in two main varieties. Open Fiakers (the original) and those with closed cabins.
Vienna has always attracted many tourists and they are welcomed in a very hospitable environment. It was here that I first saw information points that - at the drop of a coin - give you detailed information about what's right in front of you. The city has very good tourist information in all main tourist attractions. There is a whole army of volunteers that also offer you personal guided tours, so you can get in toouch with the true Austrian spirit in their magnificent capitol.
As being the capitol of a vast empire, Vienna was also the centre of art and literature for many centuries. Of course, music and dance are things we now immediately relate with the Austrian capitol, but did you know that Goethe also had a soft spot in his heart for Vienna. He lived and worked here for several years and though it were definately the most happiest thought a human being ever put down on paper, Goethe still can be mentioned as one of the first Germanic literate people in history.
In my "Things to do" Tips and the first of my "Off the beaten path" Tips are about churches (maybe so much, that it gets boring for some). Vienna used to be one of the capitols of the Roman Catholic Holy empire and stayed the Habsburgian capitol for many centuries after that. The Roman Catholic church had (and still has) a huge influence on Austria in general and Vienna in particular and here in this city of millions - unlike in many other European cities - still many people go to church every Sunday. Therefore these many churches still have their original function and no-one even dares to have the idea to give them another. For the better, as Vienna has and holds a collection of extraordinary beautiful churches.
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