Sunday, September 16, 2012

Vienna Austria

The most exciting reason for staying away was my lovely visit to Vienna for the European Respiratory Congress. So you will bear with me as the next few post shall feature pictures from Vienna and the exciting ( for me at least) things I saw and did and experience.
Here's what I've learnt:
1. Please bring an umbrella foldable preferably when you visit around Sept. It rains and you'll get wet and cold easily. Don't bring a big umbrella cos you will have to leave it outside when you visit musuems and palaces. ( Unless you don't have a major problem with doing that and are not forgetful in the least.)

2. Getting about in Vienna is easy. The tube trains are very efficient and maps labelled clearly. Nobody rushes for the tube mainly because they're eifficient and if you miss one, just wait and another will arrive shortly. The doors do not open automatically when you reach a station, you will ( depending on how new the tube is ) either have to press a little button or pull a lever to open the doors.

3. Unlike Ireland and London, they're not big on black tights. Now I'm not sure what it'll be like in winter but in Sept, everybody should they choose to wear tights prefer flesh coloured stockings. Not many people wear jeans and unless you're an American tourist try and avoid wearing a cap..and sneakers. Nobody is shoddily dressed in town.

4. Austrians are quiet and polite folks. They do not raise their voices nor talk loudly to each other or shout across the road to get the attention of someone.

5. If you're intending to catch an opera at the very famous opera house, and there are no tickets left in the official office, do not be disheartened. Just outside the building, there will be some people selling tickets available for the night's performance. For a good experience of how old opera houses are, you may want to get tickets on the floors above. Best to avoid if you REALLY want to watch the opera and you are scared of heights. The path leading to your seats ( should you choose the higher floors) are narrow and super steep and you have to crane your neck throughout the performance to catch the people singing. The do have a digital board in front of you with translation of the opera to English which is nice and handy.

6.The main part of town centers around Stephansdom which is Vienna's cathedral. Mozart's house is a few minutes walk from the cathedral. If you remember he used to work at the cathedral then you can imagine how lucky he was to have lived so close to his place of work. Shops around Mozart's house sell older things and there are a few nice cafes. This part reminded me of Galway Ireland and Dublin as well where the shops are tiny but well stocked and everything smells of old architecture.

7. The other part of town Graben and Kärntner Straße are interesting streets where you will want to take pictures of everything that moves.You will find Zara, Loccitane, Humanic, Espirit, Accessorize, Monsoon and other bigger shops there. Interspersed with ice cream parlours. ( Very handy that!) The Longchamps are a faction of the price we pay for it in Malaysia. I was tempted to get 5-6 but restrained myself. Desigual appeared cheaper too which shows how much things are taxed in Malaysia.

8. Aida which is the name of a coffee place is pretty big in Vienna. They serve very nice coffee and cakes. I managed to grab one such cake and a cup of coffee on my last day there.

9. All souvenir shops sell Mozart themed chocolates. They're pretty proud of him. There are the usual 'I love Vienna" T shirts but the colours are limited.  You can get Vienna umbrellas as well so if you're thinking of buying one then don't pack one of your own when you travel there.

10. The musuem quarter is surreal. Once you get out of the tube station and walk about the place you'll be in awe of the architecture and you'll have to pinch yourself just to be sure you're not in a dream. My visit there was marred by the rain and wind and I had a devil-of-a-time hanging on to my rather expensive umbrella bought on the first day there.

And now....for some pictures and anecdotes.

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