So, you’ve had a taste of Schönbrunn Palace, a swim on top of the city and enjoyed the heights of Prater Park. If you missed it, check here.
Now for the seriously cultured side of Vienna.
Head first to the Museums Quartier, or MQ as it’s known to the locals. A hub of Museums surround an enclave of cafes and comfy hang out spots within a gorgeous courtyard. This place is always energetic and inspiring.
Official photography from MQ site http://www.mqw.at/de/presse/pressefotos/das-mq/
To fuel the next few hours of looking at art, its imperative to indulge in good coffee. I’m sure that’s why MQ has so many funky cafes, the better to fortify yourself for artistic discoveries!
Artistic Prep time in the Leopold Cafe…good to go!!
The Leopold Museum is currently housing a magnificent exhibition of Schiele & Klimt, two big names of the Vienna Secession art movement. An artist friend of mine (http://sarahmasson.com.au/) was in town recently so it was the perfect excuse to finally check out the famous works.
Klimts art is pretty unavoidable in Vienna – he’s a hometown sensation, born and raised in the 14th District of Vienna. Consequently, all souvenir shops are plastered with cheap reproductions of his most famous paintings.
Pretty sure he never envisioned his work on Tins of Tea
The exhibition in the Leopold is a fascinating exploration of Klimt & Schiele’s lives, well worth spending a few hours exploring. Personally, the Schiele piece ‘Couple Embracing’ was my favourite, with Klimts ‘Life and Death’ a close second. If paintings aren’t your thing , MQ also has museums dedicated to Dance, Architecture, Musical Theatre, Modern Art and even a KinderMuseum for children.
After such a stretch of time inside, you’ll be in need of some sunshine & fresh air – head to the skies my friends. There is a wonderful rooftop cafe about 5 minutes walk from MQ where you can see across the entire Ringstrasse of Vienna. Dachboden comes with views over some of Vienna’s most famous monuments: the Natural & Art History Museums, the Rathaus, the spire of St Stephans, Hundertwassers’ Heating Tower, the WWII era Flak Towers…
Stunning blue skies not guaranteed daily!
The bar itself is very comfy, lots of cosy couches, big communal benches, the terrace is glorious (if you can get a seat) and they serve excellent local cocktails – try the Kaiser Spritz or a Hugo!
The first of many family rooftop reunions – even Dad is stoked!
From here you can round out the cultural day with a wander into the city centre, known as the 1st District. Stop by the historical Hofburg Palace en route for the must-have photo opportunity. The Hofburg was the winter palace and seat of power for the Habsburg dynasty, and the modern day President of Austria still has his residence here. Its grand, imposing and still as stunning today as when the Kaiser was in power
Spot the symbol of Imperial Austria up top – the double headed Eagle holding a crown
Maria Theresa – mother of modern Austria & Marie Antoinette – will give you her benediction on the way by
Then get up close with some statues, fountains and spectacular architecture in the 1st District
...looking at this view all day must be exhausting for him…
The 1st district is full of historical buildings, cobbled streets and ‘Fiaker’, the traditional horse & carriages of Vienna . Wandering up little alleys is the best way to find hidden treasure bookshops, cafe’s and artisan stores. More about my favourite stops to come in a future post! Wrapping up your short weekend in Vienna with a leisurely stroll through the historical centre is the best way to soak up the spirit of a city hundreds of years in the making.
Like clockwork of course, the minute I pledge to write weekly, our internet up and dies for a good few weeks. Part of our personal financial crisis but also mostly part of ridiculous service by our internet provide. Thus, we were thrust into a home of no wifi. Only when its gone do you realise your dependancy.
I tried to deny it for the first two days, pretending I was enjoying “being disconnected” and really soaking up the joys of having “more time to ourselves”. Truth? Once the weekend was done, it just got annoying and I became a surreptitious internet rat at work, feeding on morsels I could sneak while no-one was standing behind my desk. I’ll admit it, I’m a Facebook dependant – I won”t say addict, because I survive with just a morning and evening fix, but realistically its my main source of news, gossip and connection with home. Being overseas gives me a good excuse anyway! So this is just a quick update to apologise for breaking a pledge to write more and to let you know the next few days we’ll be playing catch up with photo’s, stories and more thoughts on life in Wien as an expat. The good news is, the sun is here, FINALLY and I cannot wait to get cracking with summer fun!!
Meanwhile a few old summer photo’s to build the anticipation of the glory of a European Summer!! This is what it means to me….cannot wait!!
View over Mondsee Lake – our favourite stop en route to Tirol
Sunset in Crete
Cliff bars in Croatia
Winter is here. I know, I know i’ve been saying that for weeks but NOW I have evidence of snow and legitimate weather reports to back me up!! We were in Innsbruck for the first snowfall in Tyrol this weekend – so gorgeous, so exciting. Its here, its happening and I am completely unprepared.
Essentially, i’m not trained for a European winter. Last winter in Söll I was happy to get by on my H&M basic bits and pieces and a jacket sent from home. Fortunately my employer was providing my ski gear as uniform, so in the village no one really cared what anyone was wearing, all that mattered was dry socks, warm gloves and whether you could wear your ski boots into the next bar (you always could…aaahhh the life of the ski bum).
This year is a bit different. I’ve got the chance to rebuild my wardrobe from scratch, and this time ’round I feel the need for decent fabrics, a cut that fits, outfits instead of just clothes. Pretentious? Maybe, but after 2 years of wearing whatever wrinkled least in my beloved backpack, I can justify the desire for something a little more ‘pulled together’. Either that or I’m just getting old and picky! The question is, how does one do this when its freezing? Devoid of inspiration, I took to the streets to find out.
Mariahilfer Strasse, or as the locals call it ‘the Mahu’ is home to all your big name brands, H&M, Zara, Mango, Peek&Cloppenburg, the works. Do you know what I found on my search for warmth and comfort in style? Floaty tops. Light blazers. Short dresses. Breezy shirts. What the hell??!! Were these European women so acclimatised to the cold that they didn’t need layers? The theme was the same in every shop – one or two chunky knit jumpers available, which have the unfortunate side affect of making me look like a potato sack, and racks and racks of light clothing. I didn’t get it. I’m clearly too used to the Melbourne weather-wear which is; warm jacket, warm jumpers and layers upon layers. The reason for this is you never know if a day starts out cold, if it could get to 24 degrees and sunny at midday and pissing rain and 10 degrees by 5pm, so you layer up!! Here however is a different attitude. After a few days of confusion and surreptitiously spying on women all around the city, on the train and in cafe’s I figured it out. They don’t need to layer. Once the cold hit properly the temperatures in all inside buildings, vehicles and spaces ratcheted up by 5-10 degrees. So outside its freezing, but inside its positively balmy.
The key it seems, is that you can wear a perfectly light, trendy, fabulous outfit as one layer and create the necessary warmth with one staple warm winter jacket (long cut is a necessity) and winter accessories. Once you’re inside a building, layers peel off to reveal the fashion plate beneath. Tah-dah!!
This may seem obvious now, but I spent a good week trying to nut out how to keep warm (I am TERRIFIED of the bleak cold winter everyone keeps describing) so this revelation was a breakthrough. My fashion inspiration now compiled, I’m hoping that when I get work and have some spare cash I can get my winter fashion on. Check some ideas out here: http://pinterest.com/carlyehulls/style-inspiration
Or, if you have any suggestions please feel free to comment!! I clearly need the help as a winter fashion newbie =)