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Thursday, July 22, 2010

A day in Vienna

I know the title of this post probably sounds like the name of a Strauss Waltz.  But it''s actually a unit of time... a cultural/educational opportunity... a window through which, in a few weeks, my family and I will pass. 

In the not too distant future (IY"H),  Zahava and I will be flying with our kids to the US.  The way the flight connection and scheduling worked out, we will have a full day (8:30 in the morning until 8:00 in the evening), stopover in Vienna during which we can leave the airport and explore the city.

So we need your help in deciding what to do with this small gift we've been given.

What would you do with a full day in Vienna?  What tourist attractions, cultural touchstones, must-see attractions would you recommend we take in while we are there?

Top three suggestions (maybe more... we'll see), will receive a picture post card from there.

Posted by David Bogner on July 22, 2010 | Permalink

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Naschmarkt - A huge outdoor flea marketplace and it's Vienna's most prominent.

Posted by: Dean | Jul 22, 2010 1:20:07 PM

I know it's sorts cheating, but why not go where others have tread and came back to tell the tales of whether it's worth it or not? My trusted suggestion of what to do without being sorry:

http://www.tripadvisor.com/Attractions-g190454-Activities-Vienna.html

Posted by: J K | Jul 22, 2010 3:00:00 PM

I know it's sorts cheating, but why not go where others have tread and came back to tell the tales of whether it's worth it or not? My trusted suggestion of what to do without being sorry:

http://www.tripadvisor.com/Attractions-g190454-Activities-Vienna.html

Posted by: J K | Jul 22, 2010 3:00:00 PM

I know it's sorts cheating, but why not go where others have tread and came back to tell the tales of whether it's worth it or not? My trusted suggestion of what to do without being sorry:

http://www.tripadvisor.com/Attractions-g190454-Activities-Vienna.html

Posted by: J K | Jul 22, 2010 3:00:00 PM

I know it's sorts cheating, but why not go where others have tread and came back to tell the tales of whether it's worth it or not? My trusted suggestion of what to do without being sorry:

http://www.tripadvisor.com/Attractions-g190454-Activities-Vienna.html

Posted by: J K | Jul 22, 2010 3:00:01 PM

Freud's house/museum but many years ago I was there and thought it was very interesting.

Posted by: IMA2FOUR7 | Jul 22, 2010 3:26:31 PM

The world's oldest zoo is in Vienna.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tiergarten_Sch%C3%B6nbrunn

Posted by: Jethro | Jul 22, 2010 3:38:39 PM

... and for the apiarist, pollinators of a different color (many different colors, actually), The Vienna Butterfly House
http://www.schmetterlinghaus.at/

Posted by: Jethro | Jul 22, 2010 3:42:10 PM

Head for the central Synagogue in the Seitenstettergasse. There are lots of nice cafés around that area and you can get the bus back to the airport from Schwedenplatz (where you can eat the bst ice cream in the world).

Posted by: Alan | Jul 22, 2010 4:13:19 PM

Go to the Schonbrunn palace-
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sch%C3%B6nbrunn_Palace
See how the Habsburg monarchs lived, and end it with a spectacular view of Vienna. The Tiergarten is on its grounds.

Posted by: babyrabbi | Jul 22, 2010 4:20:27 PM

Go to the Schonbrunn palace-
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sch%C3%B6nbrunn_Palace
See how the Habsburg monarchs lived, and end it with a spectacular view of Vienna. The Tiergarten is on its grounds.

Posted by: babyrabbi | Jul 22, 2010 4:20:29 PM

If it is a hot day go to the Kapuzinergruft (Kapuziner Crypt). That is where the bodies of the Habsburger are laid - it is cool in there. That is the advise of my (Austrian) brother in law when I asked him the same question. I'll go to Vienna myself for the first time begin of August. So I appreciate that you set up this thread!

Posted by: Kurt | Jul 22, 2010 4:50:34 PM

Many years ago I lost in a 1 in 10 chance drawing to spend a 3 day weekend in Vienna. So you will experience something I have never had the pleasure.

Posted by: Ed | Jul 22, 2010 5:02:12 PM

I have no idea which cafe/bakery produces the best example but I think you have to eat Sacher Torte.

Posted by: Esther | Jul 22, 2010 5:40:51 PM

I have no idea which cafe/bakery produces the best example but I think you have to eat Sacher Torte.

Posted by: Esther | Jul 22, 2010 5:40:52 PM

For Sacher Torte, go to the Hotel Sacher. It's still there.

Posted by: Jordan Hirsch | Jul 22, 2010 6:22:39 PM

For Sacher Torte, go to the Hotel Sacher. It's still there.

Posted by: Jordan Hirsch | Jul 22, 2010 6:22:39 PM

For Sacher Torte, go to the Hotel Sacher. It's still there.

Posted by: Jordan Hirsch | Jul 22, 2010 6:22:39 PM

I think it is time to go dancing- get all done up in 17th Century garb for a Viennese Waltz- take pictures- bring back photo Friday.

Posted by: Jack | Jul 22, 2010 6:40:13 PM

Never been there myself, but it seems to me that a musician wouldn't have too much trouble finding something to do in Vienna. Enjoy!

Posted by: psachya | Jul 22, 2010 7:43:17 PM

the museums quarter is nice to watch people and have coffee but don't miss the Leopold museum if there is any chance you like Schiele or Klimt...
http://www.leopoldmuseum.org/index_en.html

Schoenbrunn is nice and don't miss the Palm House
http://www.schoenbrunn.at/en/things-to-know/tour-through-the-park.html

Have a good time

Posted by: Heike | Jul 22, 2010 10:19:01 PM

You HAVE to go to the Jewish Museum - it is one of the best I have ever been in (just off Graben). Take a tour of the Opera House (you get to go onstage and see all the amazing gizmos they have for moving the floor / scenery etc), then take a tram around The Ring. They announce stops as you go, so you can hop on and off. Then just stroll around the main centre and enjoy coffee. The best blog to get some ideas from is http://merisi.blogspot.com/ "Vienna for Beginners"
Oh, and don't bother with Sachertorte - it is really over-rated and EXPENSIVE. The Kunsthistorische Museum is fantastic and has Titian / Bruegel / Holbein etc. Then there is Klimt etc etc. You will have a blast.

Posted by: Kiwi Noa | Jul 22, 2010 10:26:03 PM

You HAVE to go to the Jewish Museum - it is one of the best I have ever been in (just off Graben). Take a tour of the Opera House (you get to go onstage and see all the amazing gizmos they have for moving the floor / scenery etc), then take a tram around The Ring. They announce stops as you go, so you can hop on and off. Then just stroll around the main centre and enjoy coffee. The best blog to get some ideas from is http://merisi.blogspot.com/ "Vienna for Beginners"
Oh, and don't bother with Sachertorte - it is really over-rated and EXPENSIVE. The Kunsthistorische Museum is fantastic and has Titian / Bruegel / Holbein etc. Then there is Klimt etc etc. You will have a blast.

Posted by: Kiwi Noa | Jul 22, 2010 10:26:03 PM

You HAVE to go to the Jewish Museum - it is one of the best I have ever been in (just off Graben). Take a tour of the Opera House (you get to go onstage and see all the amazing gizmos they have for moving the floor / scenery etc), then take a tram around The Ring. They announce stops as you go, so you can hop on and off. Then just stroll around the main centre and enjoy coffee. The best blog to get some ideas from is http://merisi.blogspot.com/ "Vienna for Beginners"
Oh, and don't bother with Sachertorte - it is really over-rated and EXPENSIVE. The Kunsthistorische Museum is fantastic and has Titian / Bruegel / Holbein etc. Then there is Klimt etc etc. You will have a blast.

Posted by: Kiwi Noa | Jul 22, 2010 10:26:03 PM

Schonnbrun

Posted by: Sarah | Jul 22, 2010 10:58:08 PM

Go to Schonbrunn in the morning. Then take a walk/tram around the ringstrasse (probably has a different name), in other words take a walk around the center of town. There is a kosher restaurant called "Alef Alef" in Vienna (on Seitenstettengasse, right near Judengasse) that I've been to last year or the year before. Then in the afternoon, consider going to the Prater park for a bit before heading back to the airport.

One time I was in Vienna with my grandparents. They showed me their house that was confiscated from them and later subdivided into 4 apartments. They showed me where they did their shopping at the open air market, right nearby was the place where my grandfather was first beat up by the brown shirts (or whatever they called themselves in Austria at the time). He showed me the exact spot as it was seared into his memory (as were many other things). And they also showed me happy things. One thing that surprised me is that the antique stores all has tons of clearly Jewish items on display. Years later, I noticed the same thing in Graz.

Posted by: Mark | Jul 22, 2010 11:25:07 PM

Nesiyah Tova! Please let us know if you are visiting Uncle Shmiel :)

Posted by: Aharon | Jul 23, 2010 12:23:45 AM

Well, if it were us we'd visit the old family house on the Ringstrasse, but that doesn't apply here. But you could take the Ring Tram which goes around and around and shows you all the sights there.

Posted by: Tzipporah | Jul 23, 2010 1:29:30 AM

Don't know anything about Vienna, but in my experience, and speaking personally, I'd rather do one thing thoroughly and well than 3 things in a hurry. M just sayn.

Posted by: Wry Mouth | Jul 23, 2010 2:45:56 AM

If you've read up on the city, the ring tram is a nice choice. I loved going out to Schoenbrunn, but maybe it's because it was the first big palace I even went to and was a 12 year old girl at the time. (There was also an exhibit of the crown jewels at the Treasury, I believe, which I also LOVED. Same caveat.)

Do try some pastry, even if it is something that looks (and probably is) yummier than the Sacher torte.

I found some parts of the Jewish Museum interesting. My husband didn't like it. He said it was so many precious things crammed in one space with no sense of honoring them. He said it felt too much like the museum the Nazis wanted to build had they completed their plans. I imagine you will know how such a museum might resonate with you and yours.

Wishing you safe and enjoyable travels!

Posted by: Gisele | Jul 23, 2010 4:54:37 AM

Schönbrunn Palace is definitely a good choice (and that aforementioned zoo is right there, in the park belonging to the palace). If that wasn't enough palace for you, there is Belvedere Palace. If you like animals, go see the Lipizzaner Horses (and their being trained for those famous dressage shows), it's called the "Spanish Riding School". If you are interested in really grand cathedrals, see Stefans Dom (St. Stephen Cathedral), which is centrally located. The Ringstrasse (in English: Ring Boulevard) is probably too long to do in full (4 km), but see some nice section of it.
Having a typical Viennese coffee (i.e. with "Schlagober", also known as whipped cream) is a must, but see if you can get that in a kosher place: that way you take your coffee with a pastry, which is the only way to have coffee in Vienna.

Posted by: Sal | Jul 23, 2010 5:22:33 AM

I agree with many earlier posts and would suggest you find your way to the Jewish Museum. Tucked away atop the main floors is an exhibit of Judaica pulled together from the tiny villages across Eastern Europe lost to the Nazis. In fact, I detail the treasures that are hidden away in this recent posting ... http://norgrebnief.blogspot.com/2010/06/museum-offers-glimpse-into-world.html

Posted by: Ron | Jul 23, 2010 9:19:32 AM

My own personal suggestion would be to hit the Hotel Sacher - or Demel's Konditorei - for a slice of Sachertorte. But for a better read on what Vienna has to offer, I will confer with Elder Daughter, who is in Vienna even as I write these words.

How weird is that? Yesterday I was in Washington, D.C., where Elder Daughter lives... but I could not visit her, for she was in Vienna, where you will be going (b'li ayin ha-ra) in a few days.

Any chance you'll be stopping in Atlanta? Just thought I'd ask...

Posted by: Elisson | Jul 23, 2010 3:18:29 PM

Never mind Vienna, where in the US will you be?

Posted by: Drew | Jul 23, 2010 4:16:06 PM

Find out whether any regular reader lives there. Get a personified guided tour of Vienna from him/her and share a meal together before you take off again.

Posted by: Ilana-Davita | Jul 23, 2010 5:47:13 PM

Prance around the "strasses" singing "How do you solve a problem like Maria?" in falsetto voices.

Posted by: Baila | Jul 23, 2010 5:55:15 PM

Just make sure it's not on a Monday. We had a similar layover a few years ago in Frankfurt, with all sorts of great plans. Except, who knew everything was closed on a Monday? And the weather was cold and rainy, so we didn't even have the clothing to just wander around outside in Frankfurt. We wound up sleeping on the floor of the airport, instead. Fun.

I have no suggestions, but there seem to be a lot here. Hope you come up with a wonderful, fun itinerary!

Posted by: Alissa | Jul 23, 2010 6:04:55 PM

From my daughter, Erin, who was in Vienna a couple of years ago...:"they might like to sign up for a walking tour. There are all
kinds of them that are themed to various elements to be found in Vienna such as Mozart, Art of the Secession, and the Jewish quarter. I think the tour office is on the Kohlmarkt (if I'm remembering correctly) or you might be
able to sign up at the airport..."

Have fun...and kol hakovod

Jack

Posted by: Jack Columbus | Jul 24, 2010 8:09:48 PM

Sorry the Ring Tram does not exist anymore. There is a Tram for tourists that goes around the Ring and shows all the beautiful buildings or you take the regular tram and have to change several times-which should not be a Problem as every stop shows something worth seeing.
For one day go to the city walk around and enjoy the most beautiful buildings. Have Coffee and cake! If you want to check a bit into the jewish community go to karmeliterplatz 2. Distr. just off the city. Or see schloss schoenbrunn and the zoo.

Posted by: Viennetian | Jul 26, 2010 8:35:15 AM

St Stephans Dom has a tower that is reachable by a long spiral staircase that might be fun for Yonah (and good exercise for the adults!) From the top you can look out over the entire city.

Posted by: Lisa | Jul 26, 2010 11:27:52 PM

Don't miss Demel's cafe whatever else you do. It's not only full of the most wonderful cakes you'll ever eat, but it's like walking straight into Vienna in the 1890s. Absolutely beautiful place and the service is to match; the Hotel Sacher is just a posh Hotel cafe. I'm not so keen on Sachertorte, but you'll see that there are vast numbers of even more alluring cream and other cake choices for you at Demel's, plus the coffees and chocolates topped with whipped cream are not like anything you will get anywhere else. Far preferable in my view to chugging round the Schonbrunn and other such worthy cultural citadels. The Naschmarkt is great, I'd certainly include that. I'd also go look at Sigmund Freud's original consulting room. He took most of his stuff with him to London, but it's been reconstructed more or less as he had it. Another chance to sample the Vienna of his time.

Posted by: Judy | Jul 28, 2010 1:31:33 AM

If you haven't seen the movie "The Third Man" I would recommend that you watch it. Then take the "Third Man" walking tour which will take you through the locations used in the city. I've been to Vienna only twice, each time for one day. The first time I went I took the tour, the second time I went I tried to retrace my own steps. I enjoyed it immensely! By the way, you can pick up the Sacher Torte in the Duty-Free Shop at the Airport on your way to your next destination.

Posted by: Ed | Sep 19, 2010 4:08:50 PM

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