Tuesday, December 28, 2010

21 Dec Tuesday @ Vienna 0 to 3 C

Vienna gears up for Christmas
Despite our unhappiness at the amenities with Pension Suzanne ( no wireless internet, unheated toilet ), we slept soundly . Our program was to do  a city tour by public transport.  Breakfast at the next building was not spectacular, a decline since Munich. I fed myself over the computer in the breakfast room, the only hot spot, reading email and checking weather matters.
Last few days of school outing before the holidays.

Vienna was still cold despite forecasts. After breakfast, we took a tram tour ( 2 ) starting from Opera to Parliament, passing MuseumQuatier. Tram 2 no longer make a complete city loop and went off the Ring, where we alighted and walked back to Rathaus. Scores of school children went there for a baking marathon and it was more entertaining seeing the kids all wrapped up than the building itself.

More photoshoots of the Rathaus and Parliament later, we hopped up tram 1 in front of the Parliament to Schwendenplatz. We alighted 2 stops too early and ended up along a length of Joseph-Kai. Up again on the tram at Schwendenplatz, we continued our tram ride towards Stadpark. On the tram, we met the Korean girls whom we encountered at Untersberg. What a small world!
You can't miss J Strauss. Just follow the Japanese tourists!
Vienna's green lung is a delightful place for all seasons.

At the second stop at Stadpark, we alighted and paid a visit to Johann Strauss golden statue. The park was covered with snow, deserted and forlorn. We had quite a good time in the park, taking lots of photos amidst the soon to melt snow.
Naschtmarkt offers a visual feast. Popular with tourists.

A short tram ride to Karlsplatz followed by a U-bahn ride to Kettenbruckegasse found us in the end section of Naschtmarkt, Vienna's famous fresh produce market. A nice boy pointed us in the correct direction and we walked in the seedy graffiti sprayed neighbourhood, eastwards towards opera house with much apprehension. The market is very mid-eastern in flavor selling all sorts of exotic mideast snacks. Aggressive touting from every stall owner made us very uncomfortable. The amount of things sold was pretty extensive : spices, clothings, raw meats, vegetable, oils and balms. At the famous Gegenbauer, we bought a 250ml bottle of Cabernet Savignon gourmet vinegar for 10 euros. The proprietor was nice enough to throw in a free lesson on the difference between balsamic and normal vinega, which I promptly forgot. Tut-tut.
Famous vinegar place that makes the sour from practically everything. Often mentioned in tour books, the boss is informative and friendly.

Lunch was at this Italian bistro at the other end of Naschtmarkt. It was some more salty Schnitzel, salad, fish and chip at a self touted best Austrian food place in Vienna. For 45 euro, it was very expensive, even more so than Tokyo's Tsukiji !
Our lunch place, good but expensive.That's me, always figuring what to eat next!
Salieri, said to be Mozart's rival in court. A much misunderstood man perhaps.

We walked towards the Museums and turned into Mariahilfstrasse, intending to shop till I drop. The shopping belt was a tedious uphill walk, shops were overcrowded and similar to the ones at Kartnerstrasse. I left disappointed.

A train ride back to Stephansplatz and we were back to roaming Kartnerstrasse. I thought I would just pop in to visit Swarovski but the buying atmosphere there was infectious and Pat's enthusiasm caused me to end up with 2 pairs of earrings and  a couple of crystals.  The day's doom took a lift there and then. Delight indeed!
Crystal HQ with somthing for everyone.

H fared well too. At Arcadia Music, she finalized her order with Dorothea. If all systems go, she should be getting her Borodin CD tomorrow.
Our night photo shoots in frigid weather. Christmas was in the air.
Night time glory
Christmas fever at the Rathaus

We had a night shoot session at the Rathaus, the MuseumQuartier and its Christmas markets. At 5pm, Vienna was cold and dark but bustling with party revelers. The 2 shutter bugs had a good time talking about aperture, shutter speed and so on while I had a good time checking out every store available.
This is how I remember Vienna
The 2 photographers were in overdrive to make my creative concepts come alive. Bravo !

We dined in for the first time in our little kitchenette, our first salt free meal. It was soothing, even although it is predictable pasta stuff. If only Austrian meals can be this cheap and good, I would be one happy traveler.

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