Vienna: Summer and Winter

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1.) Walk through Stadtpark, with its statues of Beethoven, Mahler, Strauß, among others, and then continue through the winding streets of the Innere Stadt, the First District that was until the mid 19th century surrounded by Vienna’s city walls.Bilder 400

2.) Go to a concert at the Kursalon.  Johann Strauß (both father and son) conducted there.

3.) Visit Schönbrunn, the summer imperial palace built by Empress Maria Theresia, for its gardens.  Walk up to the Gloriette (there is a little train available to take you up as well) and admire the view of both Schönbrunn and the city center in the distance.  Note that some of the flowers are arranged in the red-white-red of the Austrian flag.

4.) The Wienerwald, the Vienna Woods, gave inspiration to Beethoven (the “Pastoral” symphony), Johann Strauß (son) wrote his “Tales from the Vienna Woods” in three-quarter time, and they inspired several of Schubert’s songs.  In Mayerling in 1899, Crown Prince Rudolf shot his mistress and then himself.  Today, the Vienna Woods are easily reachable by tram (the name the Viennese give their streetcars).  Bilder 414Stop at a Heuriger (wine tavern) in Grinzing, and continue to the Kahlenberg or the Leopoldsberg (both mountains are within the borders of the city). You can hike from Grinzing to Kahlenberg in just an hour.  Or go to the Cobenzl, a ledge of the Kahlenberg where, in his own words, “the secret of dreams was revealed to Dr. Sigmund Freud” during his stays at the Belle Vue Hotel (no longer in existence).


1.) Go to a concert at the Musikverein, one of the world’s greatest concert halls, at Bösendorferstraße 12 behind the Hotel Imperial (if you are lucky, the Wiener Philharmoniker will be in town).DSC_2897 Vienna is also known for the imposing Opera house on the Opernring (where else?). For lighter fare, try the Volksoper, where recent productions included My Fair Lady and operettas such as The Merry Widow.

2.) Go to a Christkindlmarkt (Christmas market) from late November through Christmas.  There are several in the city, including one at the Rathaus (city hall) and another at Schloß Schönbrunn.

3.) Take a ride in a Fiaker, a horse-drawn carriage, starting at the Hofburg (Imperial Palace).  Bilder 472Dress warmly; but the driver will provide blankets.  Consider bringing liquid warmth as well.

4.)  Attend the New Year’s Concert (Neujahrskonzert) in 2011. 60,000 people vie for the 3000 tickets available for what are actually three concerts.  The dress rehearsal takes place on the December 30th, followed by the New Year’s Eve concert.  The big event takes place the morning of January 1st.  You can register for the drawing for tickets to the 2011 concert here.

Click here to continue to Page 3What to Eat in Vienna and a Virtual Tour of the Stadtpark

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