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COVID-19 may have changed the way we travel but not the way we all dream of taking holidays. David Bowden sows the seeds for future vacations with his tales, ‘Wish You Were Here’.

 

As the world prepares to retreat from its COVID-19 hibernation, some countries lead the reopening process with Austria one of the first, recently suspending its Movement Control Order. While some protective measures remain, small shops have re-opened with restaurants, hotels and sightseeing attractions, to follow very soon.

The Austrian capital of Vienna (known to locals as Wien) is the historic centre of the former Habsburg Empire known for its culture, music and refined living. Vienna is more than the venue to hear the Vienna Boys’ Choir and admire skills at the Spanish Riding School; it's rated the world's most liveable city. While cultural heritage is paramount, its modern technology, quirky design and premium wines make Vienna one of Europe's hottest destinations.

Stephansdom & Haas Haus Vienna

Stephansdom & Haas Haus Vienna

Visitors appreciate its historic churches, gardens, castles, museums and famous music festivals. Stephansdom (St. Stephen’s Cathedral) has dominated Vienna’s historic Innere Stadt (Old Town) since the Middle Ages. Visitors can climb the 343 steps to the south tower summit for great views.

Volksgarten Vienna

Volksgarten Vienna

 

CULTURE and ART

One of Vienna’s more appealing qualities is that most of its attractions are within easy walking distance of each other. The Hofburg, the former residence of the Habsburg Emperors, is a maze of 2,500 rooms dating to the 13th century. Nearby, a former royal household called Palais Modena, houses impressive artwork including frescoes on the ceiling.

Vienna

The MuseumsQuartier is one of the world’s most extensive cultural districts. Located on the fringe of the old town, it’s a sensational blend of revitalised Baroque architecture and impressive modern structures. Included here are the Museum of Modern Art and an experimental area for cultural activities. The city is alive with the music of classical composers like Mozart, Haydn and Strauss as well as contemporary music.

 

COFFEE and CAKE

Spending time in a famous coffeehouse is an essential Viennese activity. Coffeehouses are places to meet, talk and read as well as sip coffee. Austrians drink twice as much coffee as beer so it’s easy to appreciate how important coffeehouses are in Austrian culture. Typical Viennese coffees include mélange (cappuccino) and einspänner (mocha with whipped cream).

Accompanying coffee are traditional cakes such as chocolate cake, strudel, beugel and golatschen (pastry with sweet cheese or jam filling). The original Sachertorte is best tasted at the Sacher Hotel but it’s sold throughout Vienna.

Vienna

Some of the most inviting Viennese coffeehouses to enjoy Austrian hospitality include Demel, Café Central, Residenz and Hawelka.

Vienna

Discover the sights on historic Vienna in a fiacre

Demel is arguably Vienna’s most refined coffeehouse having served luscious cakes and coffee for over 200 years. Café Central has been frequented since 1900 by Vienna’s leading writers and scholars. Hawelka is where artists meet and visitors can gain the latest information on the Viennese art scene from wall posters.

Vienna

 

FOOD and WINE

Wiener schnitzel is a classic Austrian dish as is tafelspitz (boiled beef, best served at Plachutta Restaurant) and sausages from sidewalk stalls like Wiener Würstl.

Vienna

Visit Grinzing on the edge of the Vienna Woods, for its many wine taverns, buschenschank or heuriger lining the village’s narrow streets. The name originates from the current year’s wine or heurige. Patrons come to drink this wine and eat traditional fare.

Buschenschank Wolff Grinzing

Buschenschank Wolff Grinzing

Sample other Austrian wines like Grüner Veltliner (white) and Blaufränkisch (red) produced by wineries such as Höpler, Kracher, Tschida, Gut Oggau and Tement to appreciate how these wines are enjoyed by discerning global connoisseurs.

Vienna

Shops open from 9 am to 6 pm with the best places to start being the pedestrian-only Kärtnerstrasse, The Graben and Mariahilferstrasse for famous fashion brands. Visit Julius Meinl (located on The Graben), one of the world’s finest gourmet food stores and Naschmarkt for fresh produce and Saturday flea markets.

 

TRAVEL FILE

Getting There

Turkish Airlines offers seamless connections from Singapore via its Istanbul hub. Enjoy some of the finest food, wines and in-flight entertainment in the sky.

Turkish Airlines

 

Where to Stay

Hotel Am Konzerthaus MGallery is an elegant hotel with Art Nouveau features, perfectly located just outside Vienna’s historic centre and a short walk to the Belvedere Palace.

 

Contact

Vienna Tourism

 

ABOUT DAVID BOWDEN

David Bowden is a freelance journalist based in Malaysia, specializing in travel and the environment. While Australian, he’s been living in Asia longer than he can remember, and returns to his home country as a tourist. When not travelling the world, he enjoys relaxing with his equally adventurous wife Maria and daughter Zoe. He’s the author of Enchanting BorneoEnchanting Malaysia and Enchanting Singapore. Also in this series, you will find Enchanting VietnamEnchanting PenangEnchanting Indonesia, and Enchanting Langkawi

 

 

Comments

Rated
8
Richard
ELITE
1206 comments
3 June 2020
As the world prepares to retreat from its COVID-19 hibernation, some countries lead the reopening process with Austria one of the first, recently suspending its Movement Control Order. While some protective measures remain, small shops have re-opened with restaurants, hotels and sightseeing attractions, to follow very soon.
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Rated
8
David
CONTRIBUTOR
6 comments
28 May 2020
More stories by David Bowden CHIANG MAI, IT’S COOL https://www.expatchoice.asia/travel/chiang-mai-wish-you-were-here Chiang Mai in northern Thailand, with its boutique resort, handicrafts, appealing outdoors activities and wonderful food, is one of Asia’s coolest travel destinations. Its mountainous setting also ensures the weather is a few degrees cooler than the Central Plains to make Chiang Mai, Thailand’s most-livable city.
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