A four night Viennese whirl!

On arrival in Vienna we took a taxi from the station to our hotel– Hotel Beethoven which was about a 30 minute ride for a nine kilometer trip , due to negotiate a number of one-way streets and the traffic was heavier than expected.

On arrival at the hotel we were greeted in the reception area with cardboard and plastic sheeting all over the floor, and plastic sheeting covering the furniture because the hotel being refurbished. I couldn’t complain about the reception that we received from the staff at the reception desk, warm and friendly.
Our room was quite large with a small corridor leading from the main door to the bedroom area. The bedroom had a small bay window alcove, which contained a writing desk and chairDSC01496r. The bay windows overlooked the street.DSC01499r

Each Sunday the hotel offered a complimentary musical recital for their guests. Champaign would be served during the interlude. Our last day in Vienna would be Sunday so we thought we would take advantage of the recital to experience the music of Vienna.

DSC01539r On the Friday we were site seeing near the Opera House, when we were ‘accosted’ by young men dress in 18th century costumes who were selling discounted tickets for a concert on Saturday evening at the Palais Auersperg to hear the Wiener Resdenzorchester.
The concert would be a sample of Viennese orchestral music, opera and dance. So we booked for the Saturday evening. On returning to our hotel we were presented with a letter from the management that stated due to unforeseen circumstance the complimentary recital would be held on Saturday afternoon, not Sunday afternoon. This was the first time that this had happened since the hotel started the complimentary recitals. Of course we could not attend, due to the Saturday evening booking, for which we had just paid not an hour earlier. It was a disappointment, but we thoroughly enjoyed the ninety-minute experience of orchestral music, opera and dance. It was not too long, particularly for tourists, who have limited time, and perhaps could not afford a full evening at the Opera House. As you see from the photos we were close to the stage.

Staircase leading to the theater

DSC01542r

DSC01547r Orchestra

DSC01551r

DanceDSC01562r

DSC01560r Opera

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
Walking back to the hotel after an evening at the opera – the late evening sun darkening the trees against the still lit buildings.

The Beethoven Hotel was close to everything that we wanted. A five-minute walk to the Opera House, a further few minutes and you were Karntner Strass (think shops and more shops for the ladies, and side street of restaurants and cafes). A fifteen minute walk from the hotel and you would be at St Stephen’s church (Stephans Platz) or the  Hofburg.

DSC01526r   DSC01519r

View of Karntner Strass from the Skybar and street level.

DSC01528r  DSC01532r

St Stephen’s church

The hotel is located in a quite side street and it is two minutes from the Naschmarkt, which offers a wide range of restaurants (photos below) serving food from all over the world, from India through to Japanese and of course Viennese food. This market is closed on Sunday evening, but we ate in the market, at different restaurants, for the three previous evenings. It was convenient, and we had a wide choice, at reasonable prices.

DSC01483r

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Most of our time in Vienna was set aside for sightseeing. Shortly after we arrived we used the hop – on –hop – off bus to familiarise ourselves with the layout of the city. It was after this that we realised that we could walk to most places of interest, including the Hofburg Palace. Walking can make one thirsty and one of the great things about Budapest and Vienna, was that our water bottles could be refilled from many of the fountains. The water was potable and free. It was mineralised and very cold. It is a pity many other cities haven’t followed their example.

We could have taken a tram, instead of walking.

DSC01486r

Viennese coffee house – the all sold wine & beer.

DSC01517r

Besides sightseeing we also enjoyed people watching, from pavement cafes.

DSC01535r

DSC01537r

The main site that we didn’t walk to was the Summer Palace (Schoenberg Palace) – we used the metro.

Like Buckingham Place we had to book a time for us to enter and view the various exhibits.

DSC01583r

Gardens at the rear of the Palace

DSC01584r

Rear of the Palace.

DSC01591r

Distant fountain taken from the rear balcony

DSC01586r

Close up of fountain area

As I mentioned before we were in Vienna for a Sunday. Many places were closed, as was the Naschmarkt, so we had to find somewhere else to eat for our last evening meal. We walked around the area near the hotel, and checked various restaurants. None of them attracted us until we came across an Asian restaurant called Restaurant Quick Box. It didn’t look much from the outside, but we all fancied an Asian meal after a month of mainly European food so we thought we’d give it a try.
The front area was mainly for take away and the restaurant area was at the back. The menu consisted of three types of Asian food, Thai, Chinese and Japanese. The furniture was basic, but the place was spotless, as were the toilets. I ordered sushi and my wife had crispy duck and we ordered the house wine. My platter of sushi was fresh and sharp, with a wide choice of items, couldn’t fault the presentation nor the taste. My wife considered the duck dish to be one of the best that she had ever tasted. The bill at the end was the cheapest we’d had in Vienna, and it included the wine. I’m only sorry that I never took any photographs of the restaurant and the presentation. I’d definitely return if I was ever to visit Vienna again.

All good things come to an end and the following day we took a taxi to Wein Westbahnhof for our train to Frankfurt. The trip would be seven and a half hours – see other posts of our semi-enclosed compartment.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Stations of memory

Why do trains have such a fascination? After reading From Russia with Love I knew that one day I would travel by train through Eastern Europe, if not along the same line as Mr Bond, but some where in Eastern Europe.

FRWL

Murder on the Orient Express – could I afford to travel with Agatha Christie as she keeps us on the straight and narrow, or should I just buy the DVD ?

Murder on Orient

Perhaps it should be, Stamboul  Train, which runs from Ostend to Istanbul with Graham Green at the controls.

StamboulTrain

It is not just trains that held my attention, via books, but also the names of the cities through which we pass.

FuneralInBerlin

Funeral in Berlin by Len Deighton

Berlin

I wonder if the main character would recognise Berlin’s mainline station today?

If we move on from trains to cities we must use railway stations, which bring back memories of railway stations in films –

Brief

Brief Encounter had a number of station scenes.

casablanca_bogie_dooley_train

Remember Rick in the rain on the railway station in Paris as the German entered the city?

The_Train_(1964_film)_trailer_1

How about Burt Lancaster in ‘The Train’, trying to save French paintings in 1944, and the number of stations that his train passed through in an effort to fool the Germans?

For me black & white has more ‘depth’ to the scene.

As our train ran from Prague to Budapest I couldn’t help but photograph ‘romantic’ stations.

Breclav

Breclav

Bratislava01

Bratislava

Doesn’t this station reek of spies and all things connected with the 1950’s?

Brat outside

Leaving Bratislava – you can just see the front of our train.

Nove Zamky

Nove Zamky – can you hear the Russian tanks?

Veroce

Veroce

Veroce01

Unknown

Unknown, does anybody recognise this station ?

A four night stay in Budapest and we were off again,

Budapes

Our train arriving to take us to Vienna.

Vienna, the home of Graham Green’s, The Third Man, which is another book to bring back a reason to travel by train in Eastern Europe.

Third man

Leaving BUD

Farewell Budapest

Gyor

Gyor our first stop

Each of the stations mentioned have histories that would fill a library – battles fought, ruled by the armies of Sweden, France, Turkey, Mongols, Russians, Austrians, Germans to name a few. Coming from a country that has not suffered invaders for over a thousand years it is hard to comprehend.

approaching VIEApproaching Vienna as we passed large marshaling yards.

Four nights in Vienna and we are off again to Frankfurt.

BUDVIE

 Seven hours, but in comfort.

Cubical VIE FRA Conpartmen 01

Facing forward for the top one and facing backwards for the other.

Inside we had a four individual chairs and a table – plenty of room for four adults. We could hear what was going on, but we were still private. Not that there was a lot of noise, just quiet chatter.

Leaving Vienna

Wien Westbahnhof

Wien Westbahhof

Linz01   Linz

Linz

A town that has a history that will take generations to forget
Adolf Hitler spent his youth here before moving on to Vienna – he considered Linz to be his home town.

Adolf Eichmann also spent his youth here.

On the other side of the coin many victims of Nazism have been remembered by Linz citizen in the naming of various streets. Simon Wiesenthal founded his Jewish document centre in Linz.

Nurmburg

  Our final station, before Frankfurt, was Nurnberg. I couldn’t help taking pictures of this city’s railways station. Growing up in the aftermath of WW2, with tales of the trials and executions of war criminals in this city, one felt as if we all knew of the city, even though none of us had visited the city.

220px-Defendants_in_the_dock_at_nuremberg_trials  The accused at the trials.

FRAGW.jpg

Frankfurt station, which brings to mind Elvis