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Return Trip to Vienna

Hi All.

As I mentioned a few weeks ago, I’m finally returning to Europe! I’m attending a conference in Vienna in late March. I land in Vienna (after connecting through Amsterdam) around 11:30am on a Monday, and the conference starts at 1pm on Tuesday. Our hotel is near but outside the Ring; if the Ring were a clock it would be at about the 10. The conference itself will be in the Museum Quarter. I’ve been to Vienna several times, but it’s been ten years, and I’ve never arrived by plane. Places I’ve seen on previous trips: Hofburg Imperial Apartments; St. Stephen’s, including tower, but it was always covered in scaffolding; Vienna State Opera Tour; Kunsthistorisches Museum; Schoenbrunn; World Museum Vienna; Albertina; Kaisergruft; Haus der Musik. Most of these places, I’ve been to multiple times.

Here are my questions:

1) Assuming I land ontime, I should be at my hotel around 1pm - or am I over/underestimating the timing?

2) While I’ve visited the Imperial Apartments and Sisi Museum several times, I’ve missed the Treasury! I definitely want to see these. Is it worth it to do the guided tour at 1600? How is the cafe? I’m thinking it might be worth it to eat at the cafe and then tour the Treasury. I’d also like to see the National Library.

3) Given the combo ticket and proximity, I’m thinking I would tour the Kunst again on Tuesday morning - unless someone has another suggestion?

4) I’m a historian of Central Europe, interested in art up to the turn of the twentieth century but not really into modern art. That said, what are people’s thoughts/experiences at the Belvedere Palace? I don’t dislike Klimt, but nor am I a huge fan. However, if it helps, I didn’t really know Mucha’s work but loved his museum in Prague.

4) Thoughts/experiences at the Museum of Military History? I’d like to go, but not at the expense of seeing the Treasury.

5) Something I’ve always missed but would like to see- the Naschmarkt. Worthwhile on such limited time? Best places to eat there?

I forgot to note above, when last I travelled I handled jet lag pretty well the further east I went, and slept especially well on the second leg. So I’m hoping I’ll be tired but functional on the afternoon of arrival, and plan on going to bed early. That said, I don’t want to overpack the afternoon.

Thanks!!

Posted by
848 posts

The Naschmarkt is a favorite spot to visit in Vienna. I like to eat at Palatschinkenkuchl (Austrian crepes).

Posted by
1926 posts

Treasury - I enjoyed the Treasury much more than the Imperial Apartments and Sisi Museum. You see a lot of "treasuries" in Europe, but this one stands out - we were there in 2015. We were especially intrigued by Charlemagne's Holy Lance. Didn't take a guided tour or eat at the cafe.

Kunsthistorisches Museum - We did have a glorious lunch at its cafe.

Belvedere - I absolutely loved the Belvedere. The Klimts are fascinating - but so is the entire collection. I wish I had seen "Woman in Gold" before our trip.

Museum of Military History - This was my first military history museum for a country that was on the losing side of both world wars. They have the car in which the Archduke and his wife were riding when they were assassinated. Neither the Treasury nor the Military History will take up too much time.

I didn't have any interest in the Naschmarkt.

Posted by
4062 posts

1) Assuming I land ontime, I should be at my hotel around 1pm - or am I over/underestimating the timing? I don't really understand where your hotel is located as I don't understand where the numbers would be on your clock. Where is 12? Maybe just give the name of your hotel? Overall, I think that arriving by 1 pm is realistic if you plan to take a pre-booked taxi.

2) While I’ve visited the Imperial Apartments and Sisi Museum several times, I’ve missed the Treasury! I definitely want to see these. Is it worth it to do the guided tour at 1600? How is the cafe? I’m thinking it might be worth it to eat at the cafe and then tour the Treasury. I’d also like to see the National Library. The cafe at the treasury - Cafe Hofburg? A total non-authentic tourist trap. Maybe Café Restaurant Bräunerhof instead? I can't comment on a guided tour as I've never done that.

3) Given the combo ticket and proximity, I’m thinking I would tour the Kunst again on Tuesday morning - unless someone has another suggestion? Kunst? That means art in German. Do you mean the Kunsthistoriches Museum? I would suggest absolutely suggest the Belvedere instead. Alternatively, explore Spittelberg and the Natural History Museum.

4) I’m a historian of Central Europe, interested in art up to the turn of the twentieth century but not really into modern art. That said, what are people’s thoughts/experiences at the Belvedere Palace? I don’t dislike Klimt, but nor am I a huge fan. However, if it helps, I didn’t really know Mucha’s work but loved his museum in Prague. The Belvedere Palace is my favorite museum in Vienna. The exhibits in the lower Belvedere are as compelling as the permanent collection at the upper Belvedere. The palace itself is stunning.

4) Thoughts/experiences at the Museum of Military History? I’d like to go, but not at the expense of seeing the Treasury. I've been many times. The WW2 exhibit is the best presented and it includes descriptions in English. If you are interested in WW2, it is worth a visit. The rest of the museum is boring (rooms and rooms of old military clothing and guns) and descriptions are in German.

5) Something I’ve always missed but would like to see- the Naschmarkt. Worthwhile on such limited time? Best places to eat there? I can't stand the Naschmarkt as it is a total tourist trap now. Lots of aggressive Turkish vendors selling hummus interspersed with tacky tourist shops. If you are around on a Saturday, then you should visit the Karmelitermarkt or the Brunnenmarkt instead.

Posted by
3764 posts

We visited the Naschmarkt and I have to agree with the poster above me - I felt as we got 'farther down' (heading towards the Kettenbruckengasse metro) we lost interest fast - unless you are interested in candied fruits and spices being foisted upon you. We did pop into a few shops at what I will call the top of the market - but overall, we went thru pretty quick.

I'm going to push Jesuitenkirche again - over the top amazing (not far from St Stephens). When we walked thru the doors I literally 'wowed' as I had no idea what to expect. And have you been to Karlskirche? You can take an elevator (service elevator) to the top for a closer look at the ceiling paintings and some views out the front windows over the city.

Posted by
4653 posts

2) The Treasury has some spectacular precious metal work, along with assorted "holy relics" that really make you understand why Martin Luther got so upset. (My personal favourite: an alleged piece of the tablecloth used at the Last Supper.) The National Library Prunksaal is spectacular in itself, but the exhibitions are temporary, so see if you are interested in what they are doing at the time.

3) Rather than see the Kunsthistorisches Museum again, how about the Hofmobiliendepot, the museum of royal furniture that is also included in combined tickets. I've been there and found it very interesting.

4) The Belvedere covers Austrian art up to WWI, so there's a lot of older material there from before Klimt.

5) Yeah, the Naschmarkt is in decline now. Zur Eisenen Zeit is still a nice place to eat, though, and I try to visit the shop near the Karlsplatz end which has Zotter chocolate bars on sale. Unless Emily or wml1 know about a better Zotter stockist in Vienna.

Posted by
4062 posts

You can get Zotter in every grocery store, but selection varies.

Posted by
1278 posts

As there is no genuine Zotter shop in Vienna (in Graz, only) the partner shop "Schoko Company" at Naschmarkt is the place offering the largest selection of Zotter chocolate.

Schoko Company
Wiener Naschmarkt
Stand 326 - 331, near Schleifmühlgasse
1060 Wien

www.schokocompany.at

Posted by
12084 posts

On the Army Museum I heartily recommend it since central Europe is your special area, I am sure you have more than a good level in reading German. Going on the first day, that depends on how much time intend to spend there looking at and reading every exhibit and the realia each exhibit contains. Lots of material is untranslated, obviously, especially the artifacts, eg, newspaper headlines, quotations on the wall, posters (depends too on which ones).

The museum (HGM) closes at 17:00. Check out the shop, left of the Rezeption, coffee and a small library on military/war history on what the recent literature offers.

If you want more than just an overview, be prepared to spend the entire after noon, especially seeing the exhibits from the 18th century on. Interesting and revealing too on what museum leaves out in terms of coverage.

I would suggest prioritizing, either spend all day (what remains of it) at the HGM or choose another museum. The WW1 section was expanded because of the war's centennial...lots of "stuff" to be seen, esoteric, if your interest is in the Eastern Front.

What is the topic of this conference held in Vienna?

Posted by
613 posts

On arrival day, no naps and don't go to bed early. Make it to 10:00 PM. I find NoDoz helps-- 200 mg caffeine keeps me going for 4 hours. Then its like somebody hit the off switch.

The Treasury & National Library are the best of The Hofburg. I wouldn't take a tour-- too much detail for the time required.

An alternative art museum: Liechtenstein Palace near the Burg Theater.

Up to the 20th C, the history of Central Europe is the history of the Austrian Empire. Music and art (Baroque architecture) played central roles in this history. Some economist once calculated the FJ Haydn is the richest musician in all of history (collectively, the Beetles made more $$$, but the likes of Sumatra or Elvis can't touch Haydn's wealth).

After some great naval victory over the French Admiral Lord Nelson was ordered to return to England to receive the thanks of King and Country. Nelson stopped for two weeks in Vienna to visit Haydn. The King did not object. After all, the King of England was a nobody compared to Haydn.

J Strauss I, J Strauss Jr, brother Josef, and nephew Edward all led the house band at Cafe Dommayer in Heitzing. Different name now and greatly remodeled, but you can still visit cafe Dommayer.

The visual arts. We would all be Muslims had not Prince Eugene of Savoy stopped the Turks at the gates of Vienna and then drove them out of Europe except for a little bit of land near Istanbul. The grateful Austrian Emperor built Belvedere and gave it to Prince Eugene. There's a quid pro quo, In those days when armies moved on foot, wars took years, even decades, Austria had an economic problem. Austria was rapidly becoming the wealthiest EU nation because of salt (shipped from Salzburg), iron ore, and food (the Great Hungarian Plain, breadbasket of Europe) , but everybody was hoarding their $$$ because the Turks were coming. Once Pr Eugene assured the safety of Emperor & Pope, Austria went on a spending binge perhaps unrivaled in history-- the creation of the Baroque cites palaces,, and churches. My favorite Austrian artists is Jakob Prandtauer.

The Kunst.... is full of Rembrandt, Rubens, Vermeer, Breugle-- lots of art from everywhere but central Europe. Native art is inside the baroque palaces and churches.

Art and music unite in three grand historical trends in the Austrian Empire: autocracy, conspicuous consumption, and income inequality. A Hungarian farmer, Prince Nicholas "the Magnificent" Esterhazy, employed Haydn, built some of the grandest baroque palaces, and was the richest man in the world. Common born, the Esterhazys rose to be princelings because they had a practice of making loans to the Emperor without being too demanding about being paid back, leading to the conclusion that it is better to own a head of state than to be one. And then they backed the wrong side in WWII.

Posted by
12084 posts

It was the Polish king Jan Sobieski who broke the siege of Vienna. Prince Eugene beat the Turks at Zenta. The monument at the Deutschmeisterplatz in Vienna attest to that victory.

Posted by
4062 posts

Palais Liechtenstein is 1.6 km from the Burgtheater. Not close at all.

Palais Liechtenstein is not longer open to the public and only sees guests through private guided tours only in German.

Posted by
613 posts

There are two Palais Liechtensteins, one nearly next door to the Burg Theater, the other, as Emily mentioned. I toured the Burg Theater neighbor last November. It was part of an organized tour on a river cruise. There may be some complexities in a solo traveler getting in, but its worth looking into.

Posted by
613 posts

Austria heaped all kinds of honors on Pr Eugene for saving Christendom from the Turks, but nothing for Jan Sobieski, even though Poland has offered 13 times to donate a commemorative statue of Jan Sobieski to Vienna. Vienna refused it every time.

Jan Sobieski's role in defeating the Turks was like Gen. George Marshall's role at the Battle of the Bulge-- he didn't count, even though he was the Army's top general. The chain of Command went Marshall-- IKE--Bradley, all of whom were desk jockey's and then down to the fighting generals-- the guy who said "nuts" and Patton who disobeyed his orders from Marshall, IKE and Bradley to mount a flank attack on the German Army. If you want to give Jan Sobieski credit, credit hem for turning Pr Eugene loose on the Turks and then having the great good sense to get out of Pr Eugene's way, just like IKE pretty much let Patton run the defeat of the Nazis in the west.

Posted by
1278 posts

End of March 1683 king Jan III. Sobieski of Poland and emperor Leopold I. of Austria allied themselves against the the Turkish threat, enticed by pope Innozenz XI. According to the provisions of that treaty Poland was paid an enormous amount of money, was allowed to take the loot after the siege of Vienna, Austria funded Polish debts to Sweden, etc.

So in the view of most Austrian people Sobieski was well paid for fulfilling his duty, not so much for his heroism.

Posted by
12084 posts

If all sort of honors include special mentioning or recognition in the Vienna Army Museum, a special corner or room , etc, there is none of that for Prince Eugene.

That sort of "special honor" and credit is given to only Habsburg commanders in the HGM...the Archduke Charles (Karl) and Field Marshall Radetsky, both of whom were defeated by Napoleon but Charles can claim the fame for giving Napoleon a set-back at Aspern-Essling, usually considered as Napoleon's first defeat.

On Patton...final destruction of organized German military resistance in West took place as a result of the Ruhr Pocket, an operation which Patton's participation did NOT feature. The biggest US military operation of the war in the West that of the Ruhr Pocket resulting in the largest German POW round-up and their end to organized military resistance took place without Patton.

Sobrieski deserves all the credit for "saving" Vienna in 1683, breaking the siege. and all that.

Posted by
2923 posts

" Strauss I, J Strauss Jr, brother Josef, and nephew Edward all led the house band at Cafe Dommayer in Heitzing. " You should check your history - Eduard was the youngest of the three brothers , not a nephew .

Posted by
4062 posts

You all are totally nerding out on Vienna history. This isn't a contest to see who knows the most random facts about Vienna.

Posted by
118 posts

Thank you all for your wonderful suggestions. Unfortunately, the conference has been postponed due to the COVID19 virus. Hopefully a new date will be set and I’ll be able to put all this advice to good use sometime in the near future.

Posted by
613 posts

Emily-- One can never nerd out on history except when sight seeing scenery. Excluding history, the Roman Forum is just a pile of old stones. Egypt's Pyramids are just an even older pile of old stones. History explains why the Russian city of Kostroma looks like it was imported from Austria.

If focusing on history makes me nerd, you are a philistine .