Imperial Vienna and more ...

Who I am
Martí Micolau

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Vienna, as a destination of choice for a trip, was an idea that had been in our minds for a while. This summer, finally, we wanted to take the whim off! As usual, everything starts with the online flight search, and looking at the various sites, we immediately verified that Wizzair was making the best offers. Time 10 minutes and we had already? booked two return flights, about a month before departure, scheduled for 24 July. To save a little? on the trip,? pi? whether or not this is the advisable time for an early purchase.
From there, we proceed with the search for accommodation. For our preference, a small, cheap and comfortable apartment? always the best option compared to 15 meters in a hotel room but this? a decision that everyone evaluates independently. ? We sift? the search engines of accommodation facilities are pretty good, and we opt for a two-room apartment near the center; especially just two minutes from the metro stop. On the other hand, public transport works very well in Austria and as often happens if you leave Italy and go north, they are definitely more? on time.
At this point, considering the range of opportunities? that the City? Imperiale offers, and considering that we would have 5 scarce days left (essentially 3 whole days), we made fun of choosing a small program that would give us an indicative idea of ​​what we preferred to visit and when to do it. Do I check online if there are city cards that combine more? tourist sites, considerably reducing the expense and I immediately stumble upon the Vienna Pass and the Viena City Card. As far as I'm concerned, at least one of the two is not allowed. do without, if l? intention? to experience the city? as it should. Let's see together what are the main differences.
The Vienna Pass? it has been formulated in different versions for: 1, 2, 3 or 6 days; also on the official site you can? also add an additional 24, 48 or 72 hour pass for public transport. Does the card have a not very low cost? 107,10? for 3 days - but the large number of attractions in which it allows FREE access must be considered. The savings, at the end of the fair, are certainly considerable. Which undoubtedly justifies its purchase. It allows access to many museums and attractions, only by showing it at the cashier. In some, even skipping the line. For example, you have included hop-on hop-off on City Sightseeing buses as often as you like, Habsburg sites, a boat ride, several folklore trains, Madame Tussauds wax museum, an experience visual-tasting in a famous cellar, the Ferris wheel, a wide selection of museum exhibitions and much more. Basically it includes multiple experiences, for a total of about 60, which allows you to indulge yourself where and how you want, while not being able to? to take advantage of all of them (at least, not in 3 days). An upstream choice must be made, in my opinion. But nothing prevents you from wandering without the slightest organization and entering where your instincts show you.
If the first option is not suitable for you, an? Alternative? that of the Vienna City Card. It exists in two variants: Red? allows free access to public transport - and Bianca, with unlimited use of the Big Bus panoramic bus. Both are inclusive of around 210 discount coupons. It has a cost certainly more? accessible with the Vienna Pass (the Red for 3 days: 29?) but does not include any free access. It obviously depends on the type of holiday you decide to set up.
A tip: the 72-hour ticket and the weekly pass from Wiener Linien, the Viennese transport company, both have the same price: € 17,10. The first has validity? from the validation for the following 72 hours; while the subscription? active from midnight on Monday to 9:00 on Monday? following. In our case, the subscription? perfect state; purchased directly on the official app and fully exploited. I advise you to put it in the budget why? the controllers, as it should be, do their duty.

1 day

Scheduled departure from Rome Fiumicino for Tuesday? July 24th at 14.25pm. On days like these, it's better to be foresight and leave early. It was not a day of extremely heavy traffic, but at the end of July, unexpected events must be avoided.
Finally the plane takes off, albeit almost an hour late. And this risked messing up our plans, making us experience the first moments after landing with a certain breathlessness, considering that we found the office in the center of the Vienna Pass open for a whisker. Eh s ?: why? in this beautiful city, almost all shops close around 18pm. So forget about entering a shop at sunset, like in Italy. Fortunately, many supermarkets are an exception and several remain open until 19.30 or half an hour longer. late (very rare, beyond that time).
A step back: before actually reaching Vienna-town, we got off at the airport around 17pm, we look for the infamous automatic machine where we can buy tickets for the S7 light metro, a highly recommended way to reach the Austrian capital. In fact, who already has? the season ticket or the ticket for a single journey (2,40?), you only have to add the 1,80 ticket? for the suburban area, what for? it is purchased exclusively at the automatic ticket machines. Two of them are located to the right of the passenger exit, on the sides of the OBB (suburban trains) office, right near the entrance to the Flughafen Wien Bahnhof train station.
After a certain queue and some difficulties? to understand which was the right choice, we arrive at the dock. Shortly after, we get on board. About one passes every 30 minutes.
We then change a couple of meters and arrive at the Opernpassage, where the office to collect the Vienna Passes is located. He took, as mentioned above, by a hair, thanks to the kindness of the two girls present. We could have gone back the next day, but it would have wasted good time.
At that point, we set off on foot in the direction of the Tourist-info, inside which you can find all sorts of maps and pliant, even in Italian. In addition to some original souvenirs. And where some very well-trained employees provided valuable information on how to organize our vacation.
The next destination was our apartment. Just the time of check-in and you go out again to do the shopping (once again at the last minute) and direct us to the Prater park, just one metro stop away.
The Ferris wheel ? for many the symbol of the city? - has a certain effect. What? like all the attractions of the amusement park adjacent to it (I read they were two hundred and fifty!) but the first evening we limited ourselves to a reconnaissance ride, since the next morning we would have a loooong day waiting for us.

2 day

Wednesday? July 25. What? as planned, we take the U4 metro towards the Sch? nbrunn Palace, a wonderful Hapsburg summer residence. We arrive around 10:30 and as suggested in the Vienna Pass guide, we go to the ticket office to get the tickets for the Grand Tour, the Prince's Garden and the Orangerie Garden.
Does the tour of the Palace tell us well? from? a few minutes (but don't count on it on weekends), cos? let's go directly to do the Grand Tour which includes 40 of the 1441 rooms of the castle!
Walking in those rooms, furnished and set up still as when they kept the secrets of emperors and empresses, certainly creates a certain effect. The audio guide helps make us dream.
After about an hour, we go out and crossing the immense garden, we head towards the Serra delle Palme, built in 1882. There you can admire Mediterranean, tropical and subtropical plants. Such a greenhouse? the "P? extended, as well as the last of its kind, left in Europe.
Then a quick jump to the Desert Experience. A site where chameleons, various birds and iguanas practically moved between our feet. And obviously the flora was not native either. Fun, despite the 40 degrees and above which it was necessary to maintain the internal temperature.
Released and returned to a more climate? acceptable, we head to the zoo, built in 1752. The first and therefore the most? ancient world! The animals do not stay in narrow spaces but in very large areas, complete with hidden dens. Not ? therefore always possible to see them all, as there? happened in the case of the lion (glimpsed from some holes) and the polar bear. But? that's right. It would take almost a day to find out in full: we don't have it. Still having enough time, there? granted to appreciate many creatures of all kinds. I point out the many fountains of fresh drinking water, scattered throughout the park.
From this source, the emperor Matthias who discovered it gave the area its name. Schon (er) Brunn = beautiful source.
Only later, over the centuries, the Royal Palace was built and expanded.
At the exit of the Tiergarten Zoo, the very steep climb that leads to the Gloriette Belvedere awaits us. Gi? tired enough, to face the ascent of the hill on foot, up to the spectacular terrace, isn't it? it was by no means an easy walk; but arrived at the top, I must say what? worth it. As the photos taken from there testify. The view of all the surrounding greenery and a large slice of Vienna repays the trek.
At that point, to go and visit the Carriage Museum which is quite far from the Belvedere, we decide to take the train, which is also included in the Card, like everything else. A pleasant journey of about half an hour through the woods and the narrow streets of the park, with the guide narrating anecdotes, alternating between the various languages ​​also Italian.
Here too we arrive a few minutes after closing. They let us in but they warn us about the time available to us: are they tax, as I said, for? we must rightly respect the timetables.
You will find a great variety there? of means of locomotion, once pulled by horses. ? It is possible to admire even the mini-carriages of the princes and the imperial hearse, the one used for the last earthly journey of all the members of the imperial family, including the famous Sissi and her husband Francesco Giuseppe. You can also appreciate the first car of the same family and a formula 1 car, owned by Ferdinando d? Habsburg: the Formula Renault 1.6.
With the tickets they had provided us in the morning, we decide to go and see the Prince's Garden and the Orangerie. In the second we even witnessed an unexpected concert of violin, clarinet and piano. What to say: two well-kept and unusual places.
Could we then skip the maze? These are essentially 3 labyrinthine structures for children and? Kids? a little grown up. The two for adults, to be honest: not a very easy solution. Details, all in all, but we have used them since? it was included in the Vienna Pass.
It is now almost 19 pm. We wandered for 9 long hours in Sch? Nbrunn. An experience that we will take away with us. Really intense and varied. A curiosity: to be able to offer the park in the well-kept state in which we could see it, not one or two are needed, but? 90 gardeners!
Tired but still active, we decide to go for a tour of the Schlumberger Sparkling Wine Cellars, which are literally on the opposite side of the city? but reachable by metro in about 20 minutes. We begin the underground guided tour. Inside there are huge brick and wooden vats and a beautiful wine fountain. Here, even today, a nectar similar to sparkling wine is produced, whose bottles - thousands of bottles? they are left quiet and ordered to age. Before going out, ? a small tasting is planned. And I must say that we certainly enjoyed it. Who wants, can? also buy, at affordable prices. We advise you to bring a long-sleeved shirt; can be useful in that coolness.
Considering we made thirty, let's make thirty-one. We decide to eat a bite around, why? passing through the accommodation, we would not have more? found the strength to go out. We then headed to the Donauturm or Danube Tower. From the metro stop c ?? to walk quite a bit. The park is not? completely illuminated and on the way back, he was very surprised to meet mothers with prams who were walking peacefully in the darkness. Obviously: or are they more? unconscious that in Italy, or? pi? likely - security in Vienna? considerably greater than in the boot. Guys, the elevator goes up at a speed? dizzying, up the 252 meters of the structure. C ?? almost the same effect as taking off a plane. Not to mention the breathtaking 360 degree view from the panoramic terrace. Did we arrive during sunset and the show? it was really great.
We return to the base, where we enjoy our well deserved rest.

3 day

Thursday? July 26. Let's start once again. Comfortable and still with a good part of the fatigue of the previous day. Objective: city center. Since you don't? too late, we manage to attend the exercise of the Spanish Summer Riding School at the Hofburg Palace, scheduled every day at 11am. Weren't you impressed:? an hour of trot and gallop of beautiful white Lipizzan horses. The show to which? desirable to attend? the one that takes place in winter.
As soon as we leave, we find on our right the entrance to the Gala Hall of the National Library, and we decide to visit it. Inside, in strict baroque style and oval shape,? containing a fairytale library with many ancient volumes (7,4 million pieces). Noteworthy are the large frescoes, especially in the entrance wing and on the dome; the imperial statues and the ancient globes. There are also several books stolen from Jews during the Second World War. Do you test that the Austrian government does? promised to return to the legitimate heirs as soon as possible.
Short frugal lunch break and then off again, in the direction of the Imperial Apartments, the Sissi Museum and the Silverware Museum.
In the last of these, the royal dishes used by the Habsburgs during family lunches but also on special occasions are preserved. There are also very valuable pieces, donated by kings of distant lands.
You go to the Sissi Museum and unfortunately not here? can take pictures, cos? as we were also prevented from the grand tour of Sch? nbrunn. It must be said that the story of the empress, isn't it? that roses and flowers told in the films with Romy Schneider. Her ? it was a hard and difficult existence, of a woman who, in many ways, felt she was in a sort of golden cage. Always controlled, burdened with responsibility, anxieties and inner struggles until the day of her assassination by an Italian anarchist, Luigi Lucheni. According to many, his release.
A path that the preparations, the raw tales of the audio guide, the reconstructions, the clothes and the reproductions of the jewels, have allowed to live with intense participation. Here too a curiosity: it would seem that the princess has gone down in history with the name of Sissi due to a mistake of interpretation. The abbreviation with which Elisabeth was signed, seems to be the most? logical? Lisi ?. Wrongly considered Sisi due to a? L? very sinuous and then transformed into the Italian Sissi.
Later we also visit the Imperial Treasury, where period clothes and jewels of the various dynasties are kept. We find treasures of all shapes and sizes, including pure gold crowns, set with precious stones of all kinds. ? there is even an obsidian stick that the nomenclature indicates as? Unicorn horn? of the sixteenth century.
We then go to the Capuchin Crypt, which encloses the monumental tombs and imperial remains within its walls. There you will find sarcophagi and chests, for the most part placed side by side. This anomalous sequence of sepulchres in the dim light also created a strange sensation in us. The only monumental tombs isolated from the others and placed in a different room are those of Francesco Giuseppe, with his wife Sissi on one side, with whom he was always very much in love, and on the other side, the only son who committed suicide. : Rodolfo.
We are pleasantly tired. It is about to start to rain and we take a Hop-on Hop-off that takes us around the Red Line, allowing us to appreciate the Ringstrasse (the central city ring) from above. We go down near the house and decide to rest a bit.
After dinner, we go for a ride on the Prater Ferris wheel. During the week c ?? certainly fewer people, so we have to wait for an acceptable timing. At the weekend, I suppose that to access this attraction you have to arm yourself with holy patience. We note that some cabins of the wheel can be rented for a romantic candlelit dinner or for business meetings. We do not ask for the price, but I believe that a few tens of euros are not enough. Round ? slow and relaxing, from the top you can? see the immense surrounding garden? once a Habsburg hunting lodge? but also historic Vienna and the playground, completely illuminated by bright lights and colors.
After another busy day, we return to the apartment to recover energy.

4 day

Friday? July 27. First stop of the day: the Sigmund Freud Museum. Inside there are some objects and furniture donated by their daughter Anna to the foundation that manages it, including the hat, the bag, the waiting room and the study. Freud in reality? empty it? when he was forced to flee to London, as a persecuted Jew, taking with him? also the famous bed, symbol of psychoanalysis. When we left, the queue outside the apartment (limited access) was substantial. Arrive early enough? it was a good decision.
We then went to the nearby Palazzo Pasqualati, one of the houses where Beethoven's genius lived and composed unmistakable melodies during his stay in Vienna (including the opera Fidelio; the Fourth, Fifth, Seventh and Eighth Symphony). There are several photos, some scores written by the musician, various news about him.
We go to the MAK Museum of Contemporary Art. Permanent exhibitions can be found here, including one on Baroque Rococ? Style furnishings; the exhibition on the Asian world (Japanese, Chinese and Korean); another on the carpets of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. As for the temporary exhibitions, the one on the 300 years of Viennese porcelain and the projects of the architect Gustav Peichl should be noted. ? It was then really nice to wear Google Glass and move in 3D in the context of the? Magic Garden? of Klimt, through a particular experience of reality? virtual created and created by the filmmaker Frederick Baker. The attraction is part of the commemorations of the 100 years (1918-2018) from the death of the 4 pi? famous artists of Viennese Modernism: Gustav Klimt, Egon Schiele, Otto Wagner and Koloman Moser:? Vienna, between beauty and abyss ?. The temporary exhibition at level 1, dedicated to the architecture of Otto Wagner, also fits into this context. Also evocative is the atmosphere created by the play of lights, sheets and shadows that in an alternation of chairs, stools, armchairs and benches with particular forges, stands out in a dreamlike setting. Another strong point of the museum site, the MAK DESIGN LAB, a laboratory full of eccentric experiences that certainly does not leave you indifferent to the artistic experiments that find expression there. Among these, the futuristic reworking of everyday foods and objects, whose purpose is reinvented to become something to think about. There is also the collection of industrial textile products made during the Habsburg Empire and the exhibition of the 100 best Austro-German posters of 2017. of the works kept inside, the museum building itself is architecturally relevant.
At this point we return again to the center of Vienna, to visit the Stephansdom and Mozart's house. Saint Stephen ? a fantastic gothic cathedral. Gigantic. You can decide to reach the two bell towers, the catacombs or the treasure museum. Unfortunately, we lacked time. The roof of this mammoth religious structure? been decorated with almost 250.000 polychrome tiles representing the coats of arms of Austria, of the city? and the Habsburgs.
The home of Mozart, the only one that has survived intact to this day of those in which the musician lived,? even on 3 floors for a total of 1000 square meters: on the first, he had established his residence, in a decidedly elegant style. Continuing the tour, there are then some scores (here he composed? Le Nozze di Figaro?), The violins he used, his dress and historical material of different nature.
It's time for a shopping break, to choose some souvenirs to give to relatives and friends. Take away this dutiful station of the cross, running towards the City Cruise, planned on an internal canal of the Danube. One hour of navigation, for complete river relaxation. All around you can see clean and well-kept lawns, with frequent establishments set up to enjoy the sun and relax by the river.
Can't? miss the stop at the Hotel Sacher, to taste the legendary Sachertort, what here? was invented in 1832, filled with apricot jam and covered with dark chocolate glaze. Served with a dollop of cream, is it?. 7,10 per serving. But we really needed it.
So let's go to the Albertina Museum. We arrive at a little more? of an hour from closing but to visit it well, it would take more? time. ? rich in works of the highest artistic value. It should definitely be seen by anyone who loves the genre.
It hosts one of the most? important collections of classical modernist painting from Europe, testified by the impressionist paintings by Monet, Degas, Cezanne and Modigliani; as well? from the Pointillist works of Signac. There are many other masterpieces by German expressionists such as Wacker, Hofer and Sedlacek. Among the greatest exponents of Austrian art, we find Kokoschka and Egger-Lienz. Can you? lose in front of the works of Russian avant-garde authors such as Chagall and the numerous paintings by Picasso; from his first cubist paintings up to the works of the 40s. All signed by his unmistakable and characteristic style.
The review on architecture is rich in drawings, with projects, sketches and selected studies that come from the large collection of over 40.000 pieces by Albertina herself, including creations by Canaletto, Otto Wagner, Francesco Barromini, Salomon Kleiner and many others .
Moreover, having been this palace Habsburg residence for more? of 100 years, there? It is possible to visit a wing with 20 rooms furnished and restored in period style, among which stand out magnificent chandeliers, finely decorated ceramic stoves and wall coverings that make you breathe once again the magnificence of one of the oldest families. long-lived in Europe (over 6 centuries of reign). Here you can finally take your pictures as a reminder of the Austro-Hungarian Empire.
In 2018? there is a temporary exhibition that celebrates the eighty-fifth birthday of Florentina Pakosta: an artist who portrays the expressions and language of the male body in a satirical and unconventional way.
In my opinion, there are at least two other noteworthy temporary exhibitions: the photography of the Austrian Alfred Seiland with about 80 of his best entrancing polychrome works and the other dedicated to the artists of the second half. of the th century, including Andy Warhol.
Among the museums we had to give up for reasons of time, I cite Leopold (Klimt, Schiele, Heidi Horten) and that of Natural History: the most? large in size for all of Austria.
There is just enough time for a nostalgic stroll in the Prater. And we do not miss it. Another relaxing walk in this place is always nice.
Then you buy your return tickets. Having a valid pass for the urban area, you just need the supplement of € 1,80, which can be purchased at one of the automatic ticket machines near the metro. Setting as the starting point? Out of town? and as destination Flughafen-Wien Bahnhof, which? the airport stop, the game? done.

5 day

Saturday 28th July. Last hours before returning to Italy. We leave with the suitcases in tow; stamp the supplementary ticket and head towards the metro to take the S7 again, in the opposite direction from the outward journey. In a little more? 30 minutes back to the airport. Last security checks and take off for Rome.
Goodbye magical Vienna, we will return to be able to finish visiting everything that we have not been able to see in these few days and to appreciate again how much already? ? remained in our heart.

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