Austria · 3 Days · 21 Moments · November 2013

Saugaat Narula

How to... spend winter in Vienna

8 November 2013

Where to... be kind? We all love having some Punsch, eating pretzels, baked potatoes or langos; so why not eat and drink for a good cause? At the Christmas market on the Freyung (again, do not confuse it with the Old-Viennese Christmas market, even though that one's nice too), several NGOs (like the Austrian Salvation Army) offer information about their work and various delicacies for their visitors. Of course, nice Punsch and yummy food is offered as well, and the revenues go to the NGO's projects (and are also used to pay the ground charge). So, while having a nice evening with friends or family over Punsch, why not drink for the good cause? In addition, it is near to the university (for students) and the main shopping streets, Kärntner Straße and Graben (for tourists and shopaholics). Happy Punsching!
Where to... find internationality? One of the most underestimated sights in Vienna is the UN Headquarter, as the buildings form an important part of the modern Viennese skyline. The headquarters were setup as the third office right after those in New York and Nairobi, because Vienna is located right in the heart of Europe and - let's face it - was a linchpin for the communist countries (DDR and Soviet Union). Nowadays, the UN headquarters kind of form their own private city, as they have everything (and when I say everything, I mean literally) in the three buildings forming the office - like banks, supermarkets, restaurants, souvenir shops, and much more. The most interesting part are the guided tours (by students) that explain the history of the UN, show the most interesting parts of the offices and inform about their important projects. I think it's quite important to know the UN and their projects, as they gain importance from day to day. And, the professional atmosphere at the office is worth experiencing!
Where to.. chill out? Now, as winters can get quite cold in Vienna, why not try a warm thermal bath at the biggest thermal spring in Vienna? The price for a stay up to three hours is € 16.50 (without sauna); open from 9 am to 10 pm. You can just have a swim in the fitness pool or chill out in the relax pool. For children (or the child in you), there is the adventure pool with slides, diving platforms, etc. The outdoor space is open in winters, so that you can swim in warm waters and enjoy the cold weather on the other hand. This is the perfect method to have a relaxed day (or evening, as they offer an after-work-ticket valid from 6 pm for € 14.50) as there are not many possibilities in Vienna to do so. Also, if you spend a day with your friends or with your family; there is something for everybody. Also, a restaurant and a shop are offered (if you have forgotten your swimsuit).

7 November 2013

Where to... have a midnight snack? Surrounding the described nightlife hotspot area around Loco Bar, you find one small special stall offering sausages, hotdogs and beverages - Leo's Würstelstand, one of the oldest and most renown sausage stalls in Vienna. Also, there are many small anecdotes and stories about the oldest sausage stall in Vienna, that are told by the son of the founder who is there to entertain his audience nearly every night. Also, the stall is opened almost the whole night, so after clubbing you can get a nice midnight snack.
Where to... prove your general knowledge? What's the best way to bring the evening to an end? Of course, have a nice beer or two at one of Vienna's (not so Irish) pubs. And the best way to have some fun in a crowded, noisy pub, is to participate in a pub quiz. There are several pubs in Vienna, that offer pub quizzes you can get rich with (even without paying a participation fee). Try Charlie P's which is quite a student pub as it is located near the University of Vienna. You can have something to eat (which I wouldn't recommend as the food is not really that good considering the prices) or to drink. The quizzes take place every sunday but you have to book a table. Oh, and it's for free. Another recommendation is the Shebeen, an international pub offering only drinks - no food. The quizzes take place every Thursday at 8 pm (booking is recommended) and the flair is quite amazing.
Where to... have some cheap drinks? As a student, the most you care about are the prices of the drinks you have to pay if you go out with friends. Why not try one of the cheapest clubs in Vienna? The Loco Bar is nothing for the eye as it is small and often heavily crowded as there is no entry fee. The main audience are students as the prices for the drinks are cheap (0,50 € for a long drink on Wednesday from 7 pm to 8 pm!). Also the music is a mixture of house and charts and others depending on the day. I wouldn't recommend to go there on weekends as you can barely breathe in there. Also, the place is not suitable for person who prefers high-class clubs or quiet places. I would recommend you to book a table if you are planning to visit with a group. Also the surrounding bars like Ride Club or Escalera offer similar prices. E.g. at Ride Club, you can have drinks on a Shangri-La basis meaning, you pay 15 € for the whole night and drink all you can.
Where to... see the prettiest Christmas market? Well, in my opinion the most beautiful Christmas market is the one at Schönbrunn Palace. The atmosphere is unique, you can have some Punsch or some potatoes or even soup served in a bread. Additionally, you'll just stroll along the small stalls and get a glimpse of cute handmade Christmas tree ornaments and small wooden toys as you enjoy the live music and the amazing lights.
Where to... buy antiques? So, if you like flee markets and big outdoor anything-to-eat markets, you should be visiting Naschmarkt. Even in winters, it has such an amazing flair. You can get almost everything here - from exotic spices to already made soups (there is even a stall selling you soup in a bag; you'll get all the ingredients and the recipe for the soup in a bag, all you have to do is actually make it at home). Also there are stalls selling all kinds of fish and meat and vegetables and and and... A great extra is the flee market that takes place every Saturday from 6.30 am till 6 pm. It has already gained fame all over Austria and is visited by 1500 people every Saturday. Offered are books, antiques, old coins and medals, etc. And even in winters, the stall holders build up their tables for the masses searching antiques.

6 November 2013

Where to... have a nice punsch? How could anybody spend winter time in Vienna, without having a cup of Punsch? However, you shouldn't just visit one of those "touristy" Punsch places. Maybe you should try an "original" special Punsch at the Museumsquartier. Apart from the usual Punsch flavors like different kinds of berries, they also offer others like for example Mango Punsch. However, if you want to do some charity, you should visit the charity christmas market at the Freyung (not to be confused with the Old-Viennese market which is also there) and have some Punsch there.
Where to... have dinner? If you like Italian, like I do, I'd recommend one of the Vapiano restaurants scattered in Vienna. My favorite is the one near Karlsplatz, located in the former Moulin Rouge Club as it is the biggest and therefore more spacious than most of the others. Again, the principle is an easy one. At the entrance you will get a card (one for each person). You can choose between various pizza, pasta and salads as well as soups and desserts for later. You'll order at the counter, tell the cook if you want spices and garlic and then let your card be charged with the amount to pay. When you go out, you'll pay at the counter where you got the card at the beginning. Of course, it's not like a fancy restaurant, if often is very loud. Many families and groups of friends go there to have a nice evening. In addition, you are allowed to bring your own drinks. Still, the food is quite good and a part of the sales from some pasta dishes will go to charity which is a nice side effect!
Where to... balance weight? If you are the sporty kind, you'll notice that there is a huge variety of things to do in Vienna. But when it's cold, nobody wants to do sports outside, right? Therefore, you should try one of the three Sport-and-Fun-halls established by the City of Vienna. The prices are € 2,50 for children up to 18 years and € 4 for adults. Of course the ticket is valid for the whole day. Different sports are offered, like Badminton, Beachvolleyball, Inlineskating, Streetsoccer and -basketball, foosball, table tennis, or Indoor climbing. In addition, a fitness room is offered which has to be paid separately. Just have a look at the homepage to find your nearest hall.
Where to... do ice skating in a park? Every year, in front of the Viennese town hall, the biggest ice skating park in the city is started. Basically, there are two main ice blocks where you can skate and also various skating paths in the town hall park, which is quite great because you feel as if you were skating in nature. Of course, in the evening there are lots of people - still it's fun and the music's quite great. This year's prices are not published yet. Last year, however, it was 6.50€/adult and € 5,-/child. In addition you can rent ice skating shoes for adults and kids.
Where to... help children? After having a great breakfast, you shouldn't just rest. There's a lot to do. Every year the UN Women's Guild have a bazaar with goods and food to help different charity organizations all over the world (you can see the projects right at the entrance). There are different stalls from different countries. You'll find goods and information about the country always at the first floor whereas the musical and kids programs as well as the food is placed downstairs. There are musicians from different countries and also a stage, where performers will show the special dances and traditions of their country. Also there is always a book flee market with books in different languages and a tombola. There is no entry fee. This year the bazaar took place on the 30th November 2013. Check their Website for more information about next year's date. pic:
Where to... enjoy breakfast? Well, waking up in the morning isn't easy. What we need now, is a tasty breakfast. Again, if you need to watch your budget, these are the places to go. Café Merkur is situated quite near the town hall. You can reach it by foot or by taking the tram 5 or 33. Café Merkur offers a nice atmosphere and a tasty breakfast for the price of € 4,20 (+ a beverage for half the price, e.g. coffee). I would strongly recommend the Arabic breakfast which has already reached cultic status amongst my friends. On weekends the breakfast is offered from 9 am to 5 pm! The only problem with the Café is that at breakfast time it is basically always very full and the waitresses are often overwhelmed so it might take a while until they'll clean your table. So, really, just go there if you have some time to spare! Next to Café Merkur, you can find Café Tunnel. The owner is the same as Café Merkur, however the breakfast is cheaper (3.90€) and you have to serve yourself. Pic:
Where to... have dinner to go? Almost next to the University of Vienna (well, you have to march a bit, but it's worth it!) you can find a Mexican stall. Fresco Grill: Burritos and tacos offers & many more different Mexican delicacies. The main principle is, to let the customer chose almost all of the ingredients, for example the meat or the sauce (Salsa, garlic or guacamole? Not easy!). The price varies between 5.50€ (vegetarian) and €6,90 (beef). If you are a student you can get 5% discount on your order. I'd recommend to try the burrito which is quite tasty and perfect for a meal to go (especially if you are on a low budget!) Pic:
Where to... chill out in the evening? Honestly, relaxing at Starbucks is boring. Why not try something new and fresh? phil is one of the most known coffee houses/book shops in Vienna. It is no typical viennese café though. Here, you are offered various cultural events (as readings or small concerts; free or with a small entrance fee) paired with tea, coffee and comfy sofas. When you don't feel like getting read to, you can of course grab one of the books in the shelf and start reading yourself (respect the books and wash your hands!). Relaxing has never been that easy...
Where to... have a ball on ice? If you are not the best dancer, don't worry, neither am I. However, at the "Wiener Eislaufverein", the lesser known ice skating spot among tourists, you can listen to your favourite hits from the 70s or 80s and dance on ice with many other ice skating enthusiasts. Also, if you and your partner appear with at least one yellow piece of clothing (per person), you can enjoy the "buy 1 - get 1 free" offer, every Wednesday! Otherwise, the price for a day ticket is 7€ (with various reductions for senior citizens, students, or groups). Pic:
Where to... get ice cream in winter season? It's winter, it's cold and windy... but somehow you feel the urge to get yourself some ice cream? Don't give up, Zanoni's Ice Cream Parlor is open the whole year! Of course you don't only get ice cream, but also coffee and other eatables and drinkables there. You can either enjoy your ice cream inside or outside. And of course there are many Zanoni's counters in Vienna, still the most known and renown is the one on the Rotenturmstraße. Don't miss it! P.S. If you prefer frozen yoghurt; you can visit the small frozen yoghurt counter opposite of the ice cream counter which also belongs to Zanoni. Yum! Pic:
Where to... spend advent season? Now that you have had your great cup of coffee, why not take a look at the marvelous Christmas decoration in the city center? The Christmas decoration in Vienna is hung up and the whole Christmassy flair is back, every year in the middle of November till New Year. Really, you should take a walk from Schwedenplatz, strolling along Rotenturmstraße until you get to Kärntner Straße. There you take a turn to the Graben and follow the lights until you get to the Hofburg! Isn't this great? Pic: APA
Where to... have morning coffee? Honestly, most of the students simply go to Starbucks to get themselves their favorite coffee. I'd recommend Kaffeeküche. It is a small stall situated at the station Schottentor (U2 and various trams) and offers various types of coffees and tees as well as sandwiches and other eatables. Every morning there is a huge line of coffee lovers waiting for their turn to come, so that they can start their day with a wondeful cup of coffee. Picture Source:
How to get around in Vienna. Well, Vienna is not that big and the easiest way to get around is via public transportation. A single ticket costs 2€ and is valid in entire Vienna (Beware: some buses and the S-Bahnen also lead out of Vienna). Additionally, you can buy yourself a weekend ticket or a 24 hours ticket. See: I would also recommend to maybe try a Citybike. I know, it's quite cold in winters - still, with a bicycle you can see things that you wouldn't in a car or train and in addition you're allowed to eat all the delicacies Vienna has to offer! See: And last but not least, you could rent a car2go. The carsharing-system is quite simple: You rent a car for a few hours and then park it somewhere, lock it and the next person can use it. When you need a car again, you can use the smartphone app (car2go app) or web application, where the next car is situated. See: