Thursday, August 29, 2013

Where to go in Vienna

Vienna is a great and beautiful city with lots of places to see, amazing architecture and if you love nature as I do, it is the place to go. I will give you the places I visited and loved.

Maria Theresa Monument Vienna

This monument is a huge memorial for Maria Theresa, who governed for 40 years, 1740 - 1780. The monument shows her greeting the people of Austria while holding the Pragmatische Sanktion and a scepter. This symbolism is important as the Pragmatische Sanktion confirmed the succession of females to the throne to protect the Hapsburg line. The monument also has four horsemen representing her generals. It was revealed 100 years after her death in the presence of Empress Sissi.
The monument is classified as a World Cultural Heritage. 
Around the Platz you can see four fountains that were added in 1890.

The Opera House

Empress Elisabeth and Emperor Franz Joseph celebrated the opening of the opera house in May 1869 with a performance of Don Juan by Mozart.  Initially very successful, the opera house fell on bad times during WWII. After the Nazi takeover, many performances were prohibited and ensemble members were chased away or murdered.
Toward the end of the war, a bomb heavily damaged the building in 1945. Ten years after the war, reconstruction was finished and a glamorous performance of Beethoven's Fidelio celebrated the re-opening of the famous Opera House.

The only surviving elements of the original building were the front, in the original Renaissance arch style, the main entrance, grand stair case, and the Schwind-Foyer. Also the tea salon, originally only for visitors from the imperial court,  is used for important events like state visits during the breaks in performances.

The Burggarten Vienna Garden

This garden is a beautiful place to visit.  Ludwig Gabriel Von Remy and the Emperor's court gardener Franz Antoine were the architects; however, Emperor Franz Joseph, an educated gardener, selected new types of plants from all over the world. Later, the layout was adapted to the style of an English garden and a pond was added, it is beautiful.

Finally opened to the public in the year 1919, garden and its statues of Mozart, Emperor Franz Joseph,  and a new Palm House; it was a huge success.The Palm House is a 2000 square meter greenhouse into which the Emperor brought nature in to the center of Vienna.

 The Vienna Parliament Building

Built in a Greek- Roman style with a statue of Pallas Athene in front, this building is a must see for your trip to Vienna. Construction began in 1874 and was completed in 9 years under the supervision of architect Theophil Hansen. It is the home of the Austrian National and Federal Councils.

Recognizing Greece's role as the cradle of democracy,  Hansen created a Viennese temple to democracy in Austria. Take the time to tour inside the building, you will feel as if you are in a monument on the outcroppings of Greece itself.

The Viennese Stephansdom

Saint Stephan is in the heart of Vienna and was consecrated in 1147. Along the way, architects were constantly redesigning and adding structural extensions. As a result this amazing building is an example of late Romanesque and Baroque styles. Even 300 years later the north tower's construction began.

The cathedral with stood the Turkish Sieges, fires and wars for more than 800 years until the last 2 weeks of the World War II when it was burned to the ground. However it was reconstructed and opened within 7 years of the end of the War, making it a symbol for the reconstruction of Austria.
Do not know if you can see on the picture the roof of the Cathedral, it is amazing!

The Graben Vienna

If you go nowhere else, the Graben Vienna is a must visit location! It has wonderful shops and cafes; and lots of happy Viennese milling about. It is in the heart of the inner city, surrounded by popular alleys, streets and hidden little places. You will find a mix of shopping from elegant traditional items to gourmet pleasures.

Created at around 1220, when duke Leopold VI expanded the town and filled in the old Roman moat.
Most of the buildings on Graben date back to the early 19th century, when the street was widened.
I enjoyed walking on the street early evening, after supper when the young Austrian come out to play. The lights add a festive mood and it is ideal for a leisurely stroll.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Delicious food in Austria

As a result of its prominent position in European history, Austria, and especially Vienna boasts one of the world's most famous culinary offerings. A diverse range of dishes reflects the city's mix of nationalities and cuisine influences through the centuries, and offers a wide selection to the traveler.

1. Tafelspitz
Austrian dish of beef boiled in broth with root vegetables and spices. As you can see, it is often served with fries and vegetables.

2. Erdäpfel Salat
An influence from German traditions, Erdapfel Salat is a delicious side dish made from potatoes. It goes very will with Schnitzel, Wurst, and other meat dishes.

3. Wiener Schnitzel
Wiener Schnitzel is a specialty from Austria neighbor to the south. The Italians had developed a dish called "Costoletta Milanese"  which was absorbed into Austria cuisine as Wiener Schnitzel.  The veal is covered in breadcrumbs and fried. As a result of the frying, it is frequently served with the Erdäpfel Salat mentioned above..

Here some desserts:

You will find that the influence from around Europe have influenced Austrian Cuisine and that there are significant regional variations.

1.  Sachertorte
You cannot write about desserts in Austria without addressing the Sachertorte. Originally develop by Franz Sacher in 1832 for Prince Wenzel von Metternich, this is the chocolate cake known throughout the world. His son, Eduard, then perfected the cake at the Demel Bakery and Chocolatier. The cake was first served at Demel and later at the Hotel Sacher, opened by Eduard in 1876.

This chocolate cake has two layers of rich chocolate cake, a thin layer of apricot jam in the middle and a dark chocolate icing. To the right is a photo from Hotel Sacher. You must try it and if you are a chocolate lover, you can buy Sachertorte in a beautiful wooden box for presents to take home.

2. The Linzer Torte
Perhaps the oldest-known cake in the world, the Linzer Torte is a pastry, nuts and  jam concoction with a lattice of pastry strips on the top. It is reported to date back to the 1600's and also has spread around the world. I guess a sweet tooth hasn't changed much over the centuries.

In addition to these two favorites, Austrian Cuisine includes Strudels, Knodels, Puddings, Schmarren, Cookies, Schnitten, Cream Deserts, and Parfaits. I will give you an example; but, you have to go to try them out.

3.  Strudel 
Strudel has become a world recognized dessert of Austria and Germany; however, Strudels got their beginning in the Middle East, where Arabian Cooks first practiced the art of stretching out paper thin sheets of dough and then filling them with jelly and syrup and baking them. As Arabian conquests spread, strudel spread as well. Today Strudels are a national specialty in Austria.

Great strudel begins with very thin dough. Fortunately, for the chefs at home, these days you can buy the thin sheets of dough at the store. In Austria you can sample many different varieties.

Restaurants I advice:
Researching all these desserts has made me hungry. My mouth is watering, just thinking of that Sachertorte from the Hotel Sacher - it was amazing! But, you are the ones traveling to Austria, try these two restaurants to make up your own mind.

The Sacher Restaurant
For decades many guides have suggested that Sacher, the Hotel and restaurant founded by the son of the original Sachertorte, is the place to eat in Vienna. Fortunately, I agree. Visiting Austria one winter for New Years Eve, I found the restaurant warm and inviting and serving marvelous food. I must admit, the Sachertorte and Cafe mit schlag was an amazing ending to the meal. Hope you enjoy it.

The Korso Bei Der Oper Restaurante
The Korso Bei Der Oper is ranked as one of the best restaurants in Vienna. It is expensive, $109 for a three course meal.  Here you will find a range of traditional and modern cuisine which the ambiance would tell you is focused on well developed palates.

Reservations are essential at both of these fine restaurants

Monday, August 19, 2013

Your Financial Situation

Whatever the financial situation you are currently in, it is one that you have brought into reality through your thoughts. If it is not what you want, then you have created it unconsciously, but still you created it. When you can see this you will understand how powerful you are at creating. And now all you have to do is create what you want, consciously!
Rhonda Byrne

Thursday, August 15, 2013

History of Austria

Since Austria has a tremendous amount of History, I will give you a overview of it.

From prehistoric times to the rise of the Roman Empire, Austria was dominated by various tribes such as the Celts and Vandals.  As the Roman Empire grew, it dominated Austria for centuries until is collapse in the 5th century. The name, Austria, has been in use since 10th century when it was the responsibility of a Military Commander of the Duchy of  Bavaria and then from 1156 it was an independent duchy of the Holy Roman Empire of the Germany, ruled by a Duke of that court.

Finally the Hapsburg's ruled, but in the late 18th century, the winds of individual liberties and revolution spread like wildfire from Paris out to the rest of Europe. The Hapsburg's fought back with censorship and suppression. In the early 19th century, the Holy Roman Empire's control collapsed when Franz I resigned and later declared himself Emperor of Austria.

After the Napoleonic Wars, Austria gained Salzburg and became the chair in the German Union. In its continuing effort to squash the zeal for liberty, Austria again attempted to suppress the people; however, a revolution in the late 19th century led to the resignation of the Emperor and the granting of basic individual rights. This leadership of the Austrian people fueled the drive for independence among its neighbors to the East and lead to tremendous growth in Vienna, one of the biggest cities in Europe by the turn of the 20th century.

Then in 1919, a once powerful house of Hapsburg ended and Austria became a republic. However, without the Hapsburg leadership, Austria sunk into economic despair which led to political bickering and out-right fights. This eventually led to a Conservative dominated fascist country in 1934 that prosecuted both Socialist and Nazis.

Finally, Hitler had enough and in 1938, the German Army rolled into Austria and it was merged with Nazi controlled Germany. Because of the treatment of Jews in Germany, Austrian Jews began to flee Austria.

In 1955, Austria declared its neutrality and re-gained full sovereignty. The neutral status allowed the country to establish itself as a bridge between East and West during the Cold War.

Then in 1995, it joined the European Union and introduced the Euro in 2002. Now internal bickering between Conservatives and Social Democrats has been largely lost as Austria's focus on the larger problems of Europe.

Thursday, August 8, 2013

How careful should you be going to Austria

If there is a country in the world that I would advice you to go is Austria, has a high standard of living and there is no real poverty and no slums. As a result, it has a very low crime rate, especially in regard to violent crime, mostly confined to Vienna.
Provincial villages and, national park areas are considered safe at any time. Because of the relative safety you will notice that people do not flee indoors when the sun goes down. That's when they head for their favorite Kaffehaus, restaurant or wine tavern to chat with friends or perhaps check out the nightlife.

Be aware that racism does exist in the country. You might encounter attitudes that could make for an unpleasant experience. Rather, they may be evident in strange looks or comments in provincial areas where there isn’t any ethnic or racial mix.

Don’t become a victim

Bicycle theft is also a problem in cities throughout Austria: it’s important to lock your bike to a permanent fixture when you leave it. In addition, petty crime such as pick pocketing is known to occur and is usually directed at foreign tourists. Prime pick pocketing areas include busy tourist attractions as well as train and bus stations. Be especially careful during the tourist season and in high traffic areas. Late night trains where tired passengers often fall asleep are a favorite of pick pockets. The rules are the same everywhere.
  • Don't be alone at night in dark places
  • Don't go into isolated or poorly lit areas and don't use ATM's in poorly lit areas
  • Don't carry your wallet in the open
  • Don't carry more cash that you need that day, leave extra cash, credit cards, and personal documents at home or in a hotel safe
  • Don't leave your belongings in airports, train stations and other highly trafficked areas 
  • Don’t buy counterfeit merchandise. Not only are the bootlegs illegal to bring back into the United States, but by purchasing them you could also be breaking local law.
Be a smart traveler. Remove the temptation, your visible luggage or personal items from cars when parking, especially near popular tourist sites.

The criminals are getting smarter

Unfortunately, identity theft is on the rise worldwide. In this silent crime you may not even know that you have been a victim until much later. The traveler can do a few things to protect themselves:
  • Be observant of your surroundings. If you are using ATM's, public computers, or even your own smart phone or tablet, look to make sure no one can observe your user names and passwords.
  • If you are using a public computer don't get sucked in with an offer to help with the local language and always log off and shut down before leaving.
  • Don't use a debit card connected to your primary checking and savings accounts. If these are lost or stolen, your accounts can be drained. Rather, use a credit card where your exposure is only your credit line.

If you become a victim

If you or someone you know becomes the victim of a crime abroad, you should contact the local police and the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate. They can:
  • Replace a stolen passport;
  • Help you find appropriate medical care if you are the victim of violent crimes such as assault or rape;
  • Put you in contact with the appropriate police authorities, and if you want they can contact family members or friends
  • Help you understand the local criminal justice process and direct you to local attorneys, although it is important to remember that local authorities are responsible for investigating and prosecuting the crime.
They also maintain information on their website on where to get help in child abuse situations.

Where can tourists get more information on Austria?
Detailed information on Austria can be obtained by calling the Austrian National Tourist Office Information Center at (212) 944-6880 (for U.S. residents) or (416) 967-3381 (for Canadian residents).

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

If you had your desire...

Be creative and use powerful actions in line with what you want. If you want to attract the perfect partner, then make room in your closet.
If you want to attract a new house, then tidy up your current house so it is ready for easy packing.
If you want to take a trip then get out your suitcases, surround yourself with pictures of the location, and put yourself in the pictures.
Think about what you would do if you had your desire, and then take creative actions that make it clear you are receiving it now.
Rhonda Byrne

Friday, August 2, 2013

Religion and Weather in Austria


Like most European countries, Austria does not have a strict separation between state and church. Since the counter-reformation, it has been considered a country strongly influenced by Catholicism. Austrian attitudes towards religion derive from the Habsburg experience, when Austria's emperors and the Catholic Church acted in complete unison. This new volume in the Contemporary Austrian Studies series reevaluates this age-old tradition.
Religion in Austria focuses on relationships between political parties and religious faiths. Individual chapters analyze the impact of religion on contemporary Austria. They explore the post-World War II decline perhaps even the demise—of political Catholicism in the Second Republic; the political pluralism, which the still-dominant Catholic Church had to become accustomed to; and the principle of religious tolerance all major political parties have learned to accept. Contributors discuss the different formal (legal) links between the privileged denominations (the Catholic Church and other Christian churches, Islam, Judaism, Buddhism) and the state, especially in the areas of education and public finance.

Particular emphasis is given to the two traditional Christian churches—the Roman Catholic and the Protestant (Lutherans and Reformists)—as well as to the fastest growing new denominations, Islam and Judaism. Since a growing number of Austrians declare themselves to be officially not affiliated with any of the denominations in this age of secularism, the phenomenon of the Konfessionslosen (persons without religious affiliation) is also examined.

I had to put this picture that I found because it is so TRUE: " GOD IS TOO BIG TO FIT INTO ONE RELIGION".


Austria has a temperate climate with four seasons, although regions with higher altitude vary. In general, Austria has dry, hot summers with temperatures reaching up to 95 degrees, and moderately cold winters. The alpine regions see high precipitation with considerable amounts of snow during mid-December through mid-March.

The biggest crowds gather in cities June through August and at ski resorts January through February. Salzburg pretty much shuts down due to crowds during the Salzburg Festival in July and August.

Shops are closed on Sundays year-round and on major holidays such as Easter, Christmas, and New Year's. Hotels and venues don't close on a regular basis. Most museums in Vienna are closed on Mondays.

The cheapest time to go is during February through mid-May and late September through mid-December when airfares are lower. Airfares tend to be highest from June through mid-September, as well as over the Christmas and New Year's holidays. Accommodations prices increase a bit during these times, too, but not as significantly as airfare.