Thursday, December 9, 2010

Austria hits and misses

Back by popular demand is our roundtable round-up of trip hits and misses, this time from Vienna. So here goes:
Hotel -
We only stayed at the Le Meridien, and it was a hit!
Some minor quibbles:
Frank - could have used a nightlite. The glass wall separating the bathroom from the main room was kind of a hazard
Dick - for me, the music in the lounge was too loud, especially the first night we stopped for an end-of-day drink.

Food -
Hit - italic. Awesome Northern Italian cuisine in a soothing modern space. And the chef is from..wait for it...Portugal? Oh well. It was great
Hit - I have to agree on italic. Everything was first rate from the ambiance to the service to the food.
Miss - Witwe Bolte. The authentic Viennese cuisine was was the dysfunctional staff that brought the whole thing down.
Miss - I have to agree with Frank on this one too. The restaurant is in a cute section of town, and the food was fine, but the attitude of the staff was off-putting.

Hit - this is a tough one. We saw some wonderful concerts, museums, etc, it is difficult to pick just one. But, if I must, I think the most impressive thing I saw was the Venus of Willindorf. How often do you get to see a 25,000 year old statue. Just amazing.
Hit - The Secession Building and Gustav Klimt's Beethoven Frieze. Vienna is a riot of gorgeous architecture, but the Art Nouveau influenced Secession Building, with it's clean lines and nature-inspired elements, is a breath of fresh air amidst all the Baroque ornateness. Inside, Klimt's visualization of Beethoven's Ninth Symphony is breathtaking in it's depth of humanity, it's inventive use of multi media, and it's powerful psychological themes.
Dick (again): can I have a second choice in this very difficult category? Seeing all of the Klimt's at the Belvedere was very impressive, especially two of his most famous works, The Kiss and Judith.
Miss - this is not really an "attraction" but I will add it here. A big "miss" for me was the ice and slush on the sidewalks and streets the first couple of days. It made walking difficult, especially while trying to look at the buildings and walk at the same time.
Miss - The "World Famous" Sacher Torte at the Sacher Hotel. Talk about dry! I need an IV line to bring my fluid levels back up just thinking about it!

Special Moments
Frank - seeing Vienna in the snow on the first day of our trip. The city was like a magical winter jewel. Beautiful.

Dick - I agree seeing Vienna in the snow was beautiful, but for me there was a specific magical moment. That was on leaving the hotel for dinner the first night and seeing the large snow flakes falling through the lights of the city. That added another layer of glitter to the snow covered city.

Odds and Ends
Frank (special mentions)
-the Cafe Moet at the Meridien Hotel. Whoever came up with the idea of a cafe that combines coffee, small noshes and champagne in one spot is a Mozart level genius.
-Booking the night prior to our arrival at the hotel so we could get in our room and rest. God bless you, Richard.
-the Austrian Air pilot who landed us safely through heavy fog onto a snowy, icy runway in Vienna.

Dick: The landing was amazing wasn't it. We thought we were still well off the ground in the clouds/fog, but we touched down and it still looked like we were in the clouds. But no, just a foggy heavy snow storm.
- Le Meridien was a great, albeit a little pricey, hotel right in the city center. It was well worth the splurge for its level of service, amenities, hip style, and location.

1 comment:

Liz said...

I love this tandem post! So interesting (and funny) to hear about the hits and misses. Dick, I'm right there with you on obnoxious music in public places and snow and slush on the sidewalks. Frank, I'm laughing hysterically over your "Sacher torte" comment! Glad you got home safely despite the scary airplane experience!