Lovely Vienna

12 07 2008

I was so lucky that I visited Vienna during UEFA Euro 2008, one of the host cities in Austria for the UEFA Euro 2008 championship. Took the ICE train ride from Frankfurt to Vienna (took 7 hrs but the ride is all worth it). Happened to meet German fans on the train who are all heading to Vienna and of course, they brought beer and shared with the whole train. We were all drinking the beer while hearing the German fans sing all the German cheerleading songs!

As a music lover, I love Vienna. It’s like a pilgrimage for all music lovers.

Key attractions in Vienna include the Belvedere Palace (it’s slightly out of the city center and assessable via tram), Schloß Schönbrunn (the most famous palace also assessible via tram), Karlskirche, Musikverein with its famous Großer Musikvereinssaal, Burgtheater, Museums Quartier, Heldendenkmal (Burgtor), Hoftburg, Spanish riding school, Anchor Clock (Ankeruhr), etc. Most of these sights are within walking distance (except those that I put assessible via tram) so you can plan a walking tour to cover them.

Vienna during the Euro 2008 is really such a great place. The  fan zone, the cheering, and many fans wearing their countries’ flag and some of them even paint the flag on their naked body (so they are basically naked if you look from near)!

Tips:-

– Must visit the Julius MEINEL am Graben ~ Vienna Goumet food store

– Dine at the famous DEMEL Kaffeehaus for Viennese food. You will NOT regret

– Stephansdom is the most famous sight in Vienna. Mozart held his wedding ceremony with Constanzer Weber here on 4 August 1782. His funeral also took place here on 6 December 1791. For free concert, attend the Saturday / Sunday service to hear the church choir and orchestra sing / play.

– The famous Haus de Musik is really a nice place with great acoustic effect, so for music lover, remember to book in advance to attend a concert there.

– For a place to chill out, go to Fleischmarkt 11. There are many famous people’s signatures in the signature room, including Mozart and Beethoven.

– Stadtpark is a nice walk. There’s the famous Johann Strauss Monument in it.

– I recommend the Best Western Premier Hotel Romischer Kaiser, which is a Baroque hotel with Viennese decoration and great location, transporting guest back to Mozart and Beethoven’s time.

 

In search of Mozart and Beethoven (all within walking distance)

– Tiefer Garben 18 ~ In 1762, the 6 years old Mozart lived here with his parents and his sister Nannerl.

– Am Hof 13 (Palais Collalto) ~ Place where Mozart had his very first performance in Vienna.

– St Peters (Milchgaße 1) ~ In May 1781, Mozart rented a room in the “Auge Gottes”. He later married the landlady’s daugther, Constanze.- Micgaekerkirche – Two of Mozart’s children were baptized here.

– Domgaße 5 (Mozarthaus Vienna) ~ Mozart lived here from 1784 until 1787, “The Marriage of Figaro”.

– Himmelpfortgaße 6 ~ Mozart played his last piano concerto (K. 595) in the music room on the 1st floor.

– Rauhensteingaße 4 ~ Mozart spent his final year of life here working on operas such as “The Magic Flute”, “Titus” and “Requeim”. On 5 December 1791, he died here………

– Judenplatz 11 ~ Formerly the Bohemian Court Chancellery. After Mozart’s quarrel with the Archbishop Colloredo, Mozart was often a visitor here.

– Beethoven house ~ Altogether Beethoven worked in Vienna for thirty-five years, of which eight years were spent living in this apartment on the fourth floor. His works here include the 4th, 5th, 7th and 8th symphonies and the opera “Fidelio”.

– Beethovenplatz ~ Beethoven’s statue (1880), with figures recalling his Ninth Symphony

One final word on Vienna ~ Amazing! I will love to revisit the lovely Vienna again, maybe next time I will bring my violin along and play all the lovely tunes in lovely Vienna 🙂

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Salzburg – The Sound of Music

1 06 2008

The Sound of Music has always been one of my favourite movies, with Maria singing sounds with the von Trapp children rooming around with the Alps as the back-drop. So of course while visiting Munich, I took the opportunity to make a day trip to the Sound of Music city, Salzburg, just 2 hours train ride away. Similar to Munich, Salzburg sits in the foothills of the Alps. As the train travels through the Alps to Salzburg, childhood memories of Do-Re-Mi, Edelweiss, My Favourite Things sprung back to my mind and I started humming them.

Apart from being known for The Sound of Music, Salzburg with its quaint charm, is also the birthplace of the great composer of the classical period Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. As a classical music fan, I was excited to see Mozart’s Birthhouse (or Mozart Gerburtshaus) and Mozart-Wohnhaus (Mozart’s Residence) and walked around the cobblestone streets which Mozart had roamed when he was young before he moves to Vienna.
Other interesting sites in Salzburg include the Cathedral at the heart of the Old Town, the impressive Hohensalzburg Fortress, which is an medieval fortification that towers over Old Town, Nonnberg Abbey (the nunnery which Maria joined and taught in), the St Peter’s Cemetery (where the Van Trapp children hid in the movie), the beautiful Mirabell Palace Garden (where the Van Trapp children sings Do-Re-Mi), the nice Kapitelplatz (the song My Favourite Things is sung here), etc.

Tips:-
– Admire all the signages hanging at the top of the doorway of each store. They are really beautiful (particularly the McDonalds one which is the one and only one in the world).
– Buy the Mozartkogel – the chocolate / candy that Salzburg is well-known for. I love it!
Salzburg is wonderfully delicate little town along the river. For this historical importance and charm, Salzburg’s city center is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
– For classic Austrian food, try Wilder Mann. A specialty here is the Salzburger Schnitzel (pork) filled with bacon, onions and mushrooms. The ambiance is very charming. However, you eat at shared tables though.
– “http://www.bigboytravel.com/europe/austria/salzburg/freewalkingtour” provides good information on Salzburg’s main attractions

Reliving scenes from Sound of Music in Salzburg:
– Mirabell Gardens: This is place where Maria and the children were seen dancing around the statue of Pegasus, the winged horse, and throughout the gardens singing ‘Do-Re-Mi’.
– Leopoldskron Castle: Place of Trapp family home (the front side of the castle). The lake was where the kids were boating and fell into the water. The Venetian room was copied from the castle and used as the ballroom.
– Hellbrunn Castle: The glass pavillion in the gardens look familiar? 😉
– Nonnberg Abbey – Maria was a novice there (remember the opening where the nuns going to Mass and Maria ran in late?)
– St.Gilgen and Lake Wolfgang: Scenery shown at the beginning of the movie was filmed here.