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Vienna Update

Final updates before I leave Vienna…

vienna

Siting here finishing lunch, I thought I would give you a quick update on a couple of things that were not included in my main post on Vienna yesterday (http://luxuriousnomad.com/vienna-city-of-contrasts/)…

Drinking Water in Vienna?

Vienna water

The best in the world!

No need to buy bottled water in Vienna since the water that comes out of the tap comes directly from the mountain springs in the Styrian/Lower Austrian Alps – and all without any pumps and NO additives!

It is considered the finest and cleanest town drinking water in the world.

Also, on its way from the mountains to the city, the water flows through hydroelectric power stations, that generate 65 million kilowatt hours of power, or enough for a small town.

Homeless People in Vienna

Image result for homeless

Again, Vienna is a city of contrasts…  While there is a homeless population here, they range from coming right up to your face and attempting to stare you down to get money (and when you tell them “no, thank you” they just come closer and stare!  It seems to be a city-wide trait…) – to a number of people who are homeless who have started to earn money by being tour guides!  Seriously!  Here is an interesting article on the subject:  http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/europe/homeless-people-become-city-tour-guides-for-vienna-in-austria-a6807171.html

Actually, while sitting here typing this, an older man who came up to me and asked for money – and this one was quite polite so although I said no, he looked at the remains of my lunch that I was in the process of finishing so I invited him to join me and bought him lunch!  He was so lovely and so appreciative.  Made my day!

Indoor Smoking

Remember, I mentioned in my last post about the smoky cafes?

Well, yesterday while I was working in the (non-smoking) cafe of the hotel (I get better wifi there than in my room), I made some new friends who grew up here in Vienna.  Apparently it is illegal to smoke in many places (not all yet) but according to my friend, the government is reluctant to do anything about it because of the amount of international espionage that goes on here – apparently they do not want to tell anyone what they cannot do.

Interestingly, that’s the second time I have heard mention of spies here in Vienna!  Apparently a remnant of the Cold War, now the focus of the espionage community (that is how it is described!) is in the information arena.

I think the reluctance to bring in and uphold the non-smoking laws is also due to the huge number of smokers in Vienna.

Austria has one of the highest rates of smoking in Europe with around 33% of Austrians who smoke regularly.

Shopping!

While I did not anticipate doing any shopping here in Vienna (it is hard enough to close my travel case as it is!), apart from going to McShark (yes, you read that correctly – McShark!) to buy a new protective cover thingy for my iPhone (I managed to break the current one the day before I left England)…

…and on my way back to my favourite lunch spot, found a magical and beautiful luxury accessories shop that is going out of business this weekend!

Came out with a collection of magnificent scarves that were originally 85 Euro each – for 7.50 Euro a piece!!! …and a lovely Italian leather bag that was 120 Euro for 20.50 Euro!!!

Happy, happy Princess Pixie!!!  Especially given that the bag is actually something for which I have been searching for some time – as in a stunning white bag for summer that is large enough to carry my laptop… and a girl can never have too many quality scarves…

Well, am about to finish my wine, wrap up the work I have been doing and head back to the hotel for a massage before settling down for an evening of back to back calls with clients…

Guten Nachmittag von Wien!

~ Bella

vienna oldest ferris wheel

Ride the World’s Oldest Surviving Ferris Wheel With Me!

Vintage Ferris Wheel – the highlight of my trip!

You know how I am about history, particularly that which falls into the English Victorian era – so image my delight at discovering this extraordinarily beautiful gem here in Vienna!

Btw, if you would like to read my post about my visit to Vienna, you can find it here:  http://luxuriousnomad.com/vienna-city-of-contrasts/

This Giant Ferris Wheel was built in 1897 and was constructed to celebrate the Golden Jubilee of Emperor Francis Joseph I.

Although some of the superstructure and all of the cabins were destroyed by fire and bombs during WWII, the Giant Ferris Wheel was restored and became a symbol of the reconstruction of Vienna.

Oh, and in this innovative billboard, you can see an example of the dinner ‘tours’ they have.

vienna oldest ferris wheel

Entering the exhibition prior to the Wheel itself is like stepping into a magical world………  I cannot begin to express just how much I loved it!

A panorama that goes right around the room – a room that is filled with cabins/carriages containing vintage dioramas with full movement…

I could have just stayed in that room for hours and hours and hour…

This below is a 360o photo I took of the interior…

…and now to the ride itself…

Is it just me, or does that look like a robotic Mr Pumpkinhead?

To your right, you can see the bungy-jumping tower I mentioned in the Vienna post.

…and here is the amazing piece of architectural art of which you saw closeups in the Vienna post…

…a sneak peek inside one of the dining cabins…

I sooooooo do not do heights, but one needs to make an exception for something of such historical significance and absolute beauty…

~ Bella

Vienna – City of Contrasts

Welcome to Vienna!

Although I do not tend to have rigid ideas of what a place will be like before I visit, I must admit I wasn’t expecting such contrast here in Vienna between the old and the new – not just buildings but also philosophies and …  well, read on and you will see what I mean.

The photos and commentary below are a little jumbled in order thanks to a minor technological hiccup…  🙂

So, let’s start with the view from my hotel bedroom window that greeted me upon arrival…

…and here begins the contrasts…  This is the church of St Joseph and it is home to musical performances from Mozart to Electronica!  …and it is lovely to hear the bells peel at noon each day.

…and in the morning, this is what it looks like…

Breakfast in the hotel to start a wonderful day of sightseeing…

So, then I headed out for the day with my intention to explore and also to catch the hop on hop off bus to get an overview of the city.

No sooner do I leave the hotel than I have my first blonde moment…  I had plugged in to my GPS where I needed to go however as I walked it would say “60ft” then “150ft” and I kept wondering why..???  Hmmmmmm – note to self:  when you keep getting further away from where you want to go, it is because you are WALKING IN THE WRONG DIRECTION!  LOL!  I realized my error at “286ft”.  🙂

This statue is of Empress Maria Theresia, the only female ruler of the Habsburg Empire.  Maria had 16 children in all, one of the being the famed Marie Antoinette of France (I didn’t know Marie Antoinette came from Austria!).

Also, she was a woman ahead of her time instituting reforms especially in finance, education, healthcare, and civil rights.

I love that many buildings retain their gilt trimmings…

If you look carefully at the Hotel Regina below, the facade is actually a picture.  It seems quite common here that when a building is being renovated, they do their best to disguise the scaffolding and preserve the vista of the building by putting a lightweight image of the building on the outside of the scaffolding.

This wedding cake looking building is the Votive Church.  It was built between 1856 and 1879 but since the city walls still existed at that point, the church had no parishioners!

This was one of the absolute highlights of my trip – riding the oldest surviving Ferris wheel in the world at das Prater!

I have created a separate post for that here:  http://luxuriousnomad.com/worlds-oldest-surviving-ferris-wheel/

Set aside in 1873 for the World Exhibition, the Prater is a lovely public park – free to enter and wander around (the rides all vary in price).

…and no, it is not your imagination – this column is crooked.

Seeing signs like this one realizes just how small Europe really is…

This is a railway station – and if you look to the left, you can see the building extends and actually looks like a train…

Yes, this is as close as it looks – and it was that close on BOTH sides of the bus!

 

…is this the Austrian support for ‘Free Willy’?  🙂

A little later in this post you will read more about graffiti – and this photo below shows just how committed they are to their “craft”…

The modern buildings here are largely works of modern art…

…on the bus, there is a commentary provided in a variety of languages…

…it may be fuzzy, but this is one of my favourite moments – seeing a neon “FREEDOM” sign…  Being a girl who values freedom more than anything in my world, I loved this!

Vienna’s weather is extremely changeable – very much like Torquay…  One minute sun, the next a shower, then the sun shines through again…

The food here has been wonderful…  This below is from an upscale Italian restaurant not far from the hotel – and these were the sweetest clams I think I have ever had!  The owner prepared a special dish for me – tossed in truffle oil…  YUM!

As I leave the hotel via the private entrance/exit, I smile every time I see this gorgeous door…

OK, back to St Joseph…

Street scene just around the corner from the hotel…

Of course – an Irish Pub in Vienna!

I don’t know if you can make it out, but that is a stuffed rodent in the window!!!

One thing that did surprise me was that smoking is still permitted indoors (although thankfully not in the hotel in which I am staying).  There are remnants of the idealized notion of Viennese smoky cafes everywhere…

When I brought up the Google Earth image of where I am staying, since the wifi here is soooooo slow, I actually really liked the impressionist images it gave me…

One of my ‘locals’ – yes, it is an Asian restaurant but they have the fastest wifi I have found…

This below may be a chain, but they have the yummiest of icecreams!

No, these people are not crimson, it is just the outdoor heaters…

…even my minimal German can work out what this shop is!

OK, let’s get into the subject of graffiti a little more…  While there are some examples of ‘local art’ like these below that are quirky, a little later you will see another side to this ‘artistic endeavour’ in Vienna.

vienna

Love this outdoor ice-skating rink!

…and now for some more graffiti…

Here in Vienna, graffiti is considered a valid form of personal expression…  What I certainly didn’t expect is to find the Danube lined with graffiti!

Back to das Prater (and apologies the photos are not in order)

What everyone needs – a pink pig covered with graffiti dispensing cash…

People actually bungy-jump from this tower!

This (below) is a person on an exercise machine…

Suddenly I am back in France???

It is obscured, but this below is a suburb of Heaven…  The Steinway Haus…

Goethe looks like he has had one too many Rotwein und Wiener Schnitzels

There is something that just doesn’t sound right calling Alexander the Great, Alexander the Grosse…

…and just when you thought you had seen it all – animals playing a Viennese waltz on piano accordion…

One cannot come to Vienna without having a Wiener Schnitzel!

This below is the little Italian restaurant I mentioned earlier…

…and to finish off my day, a massage…  I love that the hotel has a spa – and that the floatation tank looks like it is smiling at me!

There is SO much to see and do here – in one week I have not even scratched the surface of the surface of the surface…

Tomorrow I need to curl up at the hotel and get a bunch of work done (and fit in yet another massage) – and it is supposed to rain all day, anyway – and then on Friday I head to Italy!!!

Danke, Vienna!  

~ Bella