ExpAustrian Blog 3 – Sommer Sonniger

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October 13th 2018
Published: November 6th 2018
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Dear Blog Readers,

It’s been an uncomfortably long time without a blog, and an uncomfortably low number of requests for an update. However, perseverance is the secret to all triumphs so settle in for a whistle-stop tour of a wonderful summer in Vienna!

The sweltering heat of Japan and Korea acclimatized us well for the summer heat of central Europe. On one of my wanders around Oberdobling, I stumbled across the beautiful Turkenshanz Park which is worth a trip out of the city centre to see. It has a fantastic lake with huge fountains and an old lookout post in the centre.

Sky now has exclusivity of the Austrian Bundesliga football, so we were treated to go and see the opening game of the season – Austria Vienna vs Innsbruck. Prior to the game, we stopped by the legendary Tichy Ice Cream in Reumanplatz. The ice cream, and more importantly, the speciality eismarillenknödel are the best in Vienna. The football game was great fun, the atmosphere was superb, and the home end had a flag/banner switching method like clockwork. Coming back from getting some drinks at half time, the flares that had been set off had created so much smoke we couldn’t see the game for the first five minutes of the second half!

Laura’s sister and husband (Mel & Matt) have been travelling through Europe in a camper van since February and it was great to have them stop off in Vienna for a couple of weeks. We found some great, and not so great swimming spots. One spot on the Alte Donau had some jetties sticking out and the water was beautiful. However, we did go on a bike ride to the other end of Donauinsel (the manmade island in the middle of the Danube) which was covered (and smelt) of dog shit so choose your spot wisely!

The camper had been parked just around the corner from my apartment. Matt was busy tinkering with the bikes one afternoon in the heat when a man came out clutching six assortments of my favourite soft drink in Austria, the Almdudler, for some refreshment! Unbeknown to me, I was living just around the corner from their HQ!

We had a lovely dinner at Soya on Mariahilfer Strasse whose namesake is one of your favourite Japanese/Korean restaurants in Weybridge – and this place was just as good! We ticked off all the tourist attractions – Praterstern, Tichy and superb the film festival at the Rathaus amongst others before Mel & Matt packed up and went off in their campervan again!

Every weekend in the summer is either a food or wine festival but the best one was in Neustift Am Walde. I’d actually been here previously on a hike through the Vienna woods and the vineyards overlooking the city before the grapes had fully ripened. Now they were perfect and there were plenty of stalls, food, drinks and a great atmosphere…if only I had my lederhosen.

Mel & Matt had been busy ticking off more European countries on their travels but dropped me a message to say they were going to have a weekend in Salzburg – what better reason to get on a train and visit this wonderful city! They’d scoped out a good campsite near Berchtesgaden, a quaint little town in the foothills of the German/Austria border. We had a nice walk along the river and lakes before going to a museum which unveiled the town’s sinister past. This was the area favoured by Hitler in the war and was home to the infamous ‘Eagles Nest’. The weather had drawn in, so we didn’t go up to the actual spot where his summer home was positioned but it certainly gave the place a more sombre tone.

Salzburg was thriving and bustling with tourists. We had a good walk around the town and found Mozart’s birthplace which he will be delighted to know has been turned into a Spar supermarket. The city is almost built into the cliff-face of the hills surrounding it. Perched on top is the castle which we went to have a look at more for the view and avoid the extortionate price to get in!

I’d had a few weekends travelling back and forth from the UK – one of them going to the wedding of a colleague from work which was fantastic and great to spend some quality time with friends from work. The summer was soon drawing to a close and in September, Mum braved getting the flight over and spend a couple of weeks with me! Highlights included a solid win at Music Bingo (and a recommendation to get it started at my brother’s café, FortyFive Vinyl Café in York), a meal out at Schweizerhaus, ice cream at Tichy and a wine festival in Oberlau.

We had a great time at Belvedere Palace – well worth a visit, particularly with the audio guide to talk through all the Klimt pictures (including The Kiss). There was a magical moment at the Beethoven Museum in Heilengestadt where in the courtyard of the composer’s house, we were treated to a recital of Sonata Pathetique. We finished off her stay with a meal at Plachutta!

October crept up on us, and a work do at the Oktoberfest in Praterstern was organised. There was only one purchase I had to make…and with much haggling at the market stall in Naschmarkt, I came away with a complete lederhosen, jacket and shoes for £115! The festivities were great fun – overpriced food and drinks, questionable music but everybody having an absolute whale of a time dancing on tables and singing the night away!

Auf Wiedersehen,

Tink & Laura

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6th November 2018

Amazing Austria!
My goodness! I never thought I’d actually be pictured in one of Tink’s blogs! I had a wonderful stay in Vienna - a marvellous mix of doing the tourist sites and also the hidden local gems (Tichy’s ice cream and music bingo at Lasso’s!). Thanks Tink!

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