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Vienna

Airport

A taxi is a perfectly reasonable option in this city but see comments on CAT below.

Hotels

The Mercure on Fleischmarket is a reasonable choice as a buisness hotel - not 5 star but I had no complaints. At the other end of the buisness hotel spectrum is the Imperial Riding School Hotel on Ungargasse a very impressive old building - slightly out of the way but an underground station is nearby.

Shopping

Verlag Militaria is a specialist militaria publishing house based in Vienna. They produce large illustrated volumes on WW1 subjects in Engish and German. The major booksellers stock both language versions as does one of the tourist souvenir shops in the small covered arcade leading to the Hoffburg complex - I found them open to a little haggling !

Loden

If you are looking for the classic loden coat visit Loden Plankl in Michaelplatz - a refined and traditional shop - something akin to a Jermyn St tailor. Numerous options for mens overcoat exhist including the hunters version with an 'action back' cut for shooting. Whilst there visit the Michaelerkirche - once the palace church. For a typical hat try one of the Nagy Hutte shops.

Restaurants and bars

Hotel Sacher - Apparently once the hub of extra-marital affairs for the great and the good in Vienna - now renowned for its famously rich chocolate cake - the shop sells and indeed ships 'sacher torte' - expensive even before the rise of the euro.. but excellent cake! A couple of years ago I was taken to Novelli Bacaro and Cucina on a corporate outing - if you are entertaining clients, I would strongly suggest you use this place near the Hoffburg Complex. Dinner is preceeded by wine tasting working down the extensive list to one of the geatest Brunellos I have tried. I was accompanied by a wine buff friend who was in heaven !

Coffee Houses - continuing with the cake theme - equally populated by tourists and locals and busy - expect to wait for a table, I would visit the Cafe Central near the Hofburg complex on Herrengasse and the Cafe Landtman near the University, Burg theatre and Neus Rathaus - Dr-Karl? Lueger-Ring? allows you to linger as long as you wish which makes these venues useful in foul weather.

Daniel Moser is a very fashionable coffe house/ bar near the corner of Fleischmarket and Rotenturm - keep an eye out for this small gem.

For late night drinking try the sophisticated and cool Sky Bar - hidden at the top of a shopping mall reached by an external elevator - Kartnerstasse near Stephansdom.

Sightseeing

Army History Museum - Heeresgeschichtliches Museum - Arsenal Ghegastrasse - much like its Belgian and French equivalent, it contains the car and blood stained uniform in which Franz Ferdinand was shot - an old school museum with a vast collection of model boats and a tank park. the building itself is spectacular - audio guides available - free entry for children. Beware the underground map confusing - you cant change at Sudtiroler Platz - go direct on blue line to Sudbanhof and walk through the adjacent park. Returning to the city centre, go via the Belvedere palace gardens (free) for some spectacular photograph opportunities. You will end up at the Opera House via the embassy and buisness disctrict which themselves have striking architecture.

Winter Riding School - even a non-equestrian should visit - I went during the informal morning exercise which is peformed to music and in traditional costume.

I came across the Dominikanerkirche Postgasse 4 when looking for somewhere to take shelter from the freezing rain -even if churches aren't your thing, the gold leaf wil take your breath away.

Transport

I used the hop on tourist bus to find my way around the city - recommended


The Mercure mentioned above remains a favourite of mine but this year the street noise was more noticable until the early hours, I suspect because of the good weather.

The prices have gone up everywhere - I will list some examples below:

Sacher torte for 3, 2 soft drinks and a pot of tea 30 euros in the Hotel Sacher. Top tip - Sacher torte in the airport shops is SIGNIFICANTLY more expensive - dont even contemplate leaving shopping until the last minute. Non- branded sacher torte also alot cheaper in th e numerous chocolate sops = plenty on Wollzelle, Fleiscmarket and a very good one very close to the rear of Peterskirche church.

Cake for 2, three botles of water and a cup of tea 19-30 euros in Oberlaa Konditorei on Seilergasse. The usual selection of Austrian cakes but somewhat lacking in atmosphere. The nearby supermarket on Neuer Market a useful find

500cc beer, 1 apple juice and 1 orange juice 11 euros in the Griechenbeisl on Fleischmarket - approaching Fleischmarket from the cathedral take the right turn and the beer garden is apparent after 25m - a pleasant haven as it is surrounded by hedges.

Restaurants

The Staff at Purstner on Riemegrasse are very helpful and the portions enormous. Try the pork and dumpling with sauercraut. Dinner for 3 with two large beers 50 euros.

Beim Czaak is a small, simple family run place on Postgasse - corner of Fleischmarket. Dinner for 3 - 40euro. The Haus Scnitzel at 11-90 is excellent.

Close to the Mercure hotel is the outstanding Italian ice-cream shop Zanoli and Zanoli - a single cone is 2.5 euros but two are enough for three. The tiramasu and yoghurt orange ice creams are worth sampling. Almost opposite the shop is a quieter side street with a fountain and impressive clock wher you can escape the crowds.

Transport

Use the CAT transfer from the airport to the city - children are free and adults pay 10 euros - it takes 16 minutes and stops at Wien Mitte south of the ringroad. Be aware this area is not well documented on tourist maps. Just head north until you reach somewhere on the map !10 minute walk from the Mercure Hotel.

Trams

1-10 for children and 2-20 for adults. We caught the no 1 tram from outside the Rathaus to Prater. The funfair is not signposted from the tram stop but head north and it is about 15 minutes away.
A sports area will appear on your left followed by a BMX bicycle track. The minature railway is on the right as you walk towards the fair.
The historic Ferris wheel is worth a ride for the views - 3-50 each. Some of the most terrifying fun-fair rides imaginable are also available.

At night I would use the underground opposite the fair entrance to avoid the walk through the park 1-80 one way - children free.


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