This is the beginning of a multi-part series we’re calling “lost destinations” in which we highlight activities and destinations that we’ve experienced previously but haven’t written about extensively or enough apparently, for they surface often in conversation and in questions emailed to us by readers.
Our first taste of Vienna came in late December 1998. We’d driven across Austria after celebrating Christmas in Salzburg and we arrived in town under the most inauspicious of winter circumstances – Central European midday darkness, frigid temperatures, a biting wind from the Danube, non-existent parking, and fully-booked hotels.
Adding insult to injury, the only people willing to help: overeager men dressed in period costumes skulking around and selling tickets to “best of” classical music performances. We eventually found a place to stay in the far suburbs of town, in the home of an Austrian man holed up with the world’s largest St. Bernard. But that story is for another time.
In any event, this was Western Europe, but with an eastern look. Our relationship with Vienna: off to a rocky start. Continue Reading »
A traditional café in Vienna is more than just a place to drink coffee. It’s a place where, regardless of appearance, all are welcome as they are. It’s a place where life seems to move at its own rather Viennese pace, where reading the world’s newspapers can easily pass a day.
Open the panorama below and enter Café Sperl, a traditional Viennese cafe dating from the 1880s. Meet its charismatic 80-year-old owner, Mr. Staub, and hear the story of how the walls became yellow and why he now chooses to hire women rather than men (and no, it’s not about looks). Continue Reading »
Ah, Austria. We could wax artistic about Vienna’s museums, poke fun at the people in period outfits selling classical music concert tickets, tell stories about Euro 2008, or tempt you with impressions of Viennese coffee houses and flaky apple strudel.
But what fun would that be? You can read about that in the New York Times Travel Section, Conde Naste Traveler or any other travel magazine.
Instead we’ll share how, with the help of an Austrian friend and an unplanned turn of events, we discovered the real Austria in the country’s Weinviertel (Wine Quarter) about an hour outside of Vienna. Continue Reading »