Apartment Riverside (sleeps 4)

Apartment Prater (sleeps 4)

Apartment Nestroy (sleeps 7)

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Advent, Advent ....

This weekend the traditional "Adventzeit" will start. Children will say:

"Advent, Advent, ein Lichtlein brennt, 
erst eins, dann zwei, dann drei, dann vier,
dann steht das Christkind vor der Tür."

(Advent, Advent, a candle burns, 
first one, then two, then three, then four,
and then the Christkind has arrived)

Advent is the time before Christmas when Christian people are in expectant waiting and preparation for the celebration of Christmas. "Adventus" comes from the Latin and means "coming".

It is also the time when traffic jams are starting to build up, often mixed with weather chaos and huge queues in front of the cashiers. And the time, christmas lighting is turned on and mulled wine is drunken excessively.

And time of the "Adentkranz".
This is a green spruce wreath decorated with 4 candles and some christmasy schnick-schnack.
Either you buy a ready made wreath or you buy pine bundles and with lots of patience you manage to get a wreath, pin in the candles and use your creativity to match nice items for decoration. It will take at least an hour to finally have the wreath ready.

The story goes that the evangelic priest Johann Hinrich Wichern had a wooden wreath with 24 candles, 4 big ones for the 4 sundays and 20 "normal" ones.
Each day one more candle was lit so that finally on the 24th there were 24 candles enlighting the church. Each day the light was brighter and prepared everyone for the coming of Christ as the "Light of the World".

Nowadays it's a big business for the flower shops and each year prices increase and quality decreases.
So, if you dont want to spent 50 euro, the better, you make a DIY wreath.

Austrian families will have had lit up the first candle this sunday. And each next sunday the light will become brighter, with the increased number of candles burning. So, wherever you go in Vienna, watch out for the green wreaths.

Unfortunately you will not find it in bluedanube apartment as we decided to put safety over tradition. Tradition also has it that many of the wreaths start small fires .....

Here is my hand-made DIY wreath, done with lots of love, patience and passion.

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Schoenbrunn Christmas Market

If you want to combine one of Viennas top locations with romantic Christmas feelings, the Schoenbrunn Christmas market is the perfect place to go. Located in front of the palace, the advent village is providing an unforgettable atmosphere. It feels more relaxed and less crowded than other markets in Vienna. This year, when the market celebrates its 20th birthday, around 80 exhibitors are offering anything from local hand crafted artifacts to fancy Christmas tree decorations, made of various materials like wood, glass, stone, and pottery. No need to leave hungry or thirsty as you can enjoy a lot of specialties like fine Austrian wines as well as punches, mulled wine and tea specialties, including non-alcoholic and sugar-free varieties. Gingerbread and Christmas biscuits go well with these fine drinks, but if you are not so much into sweets, also soups and stews, baked potatoes, raclette, pasta and different kinds of sausages are available.
Every evening local and international choirs and gospel groups will perform traditional Christmas music in front of the palace under the giant Christmas tree.
Children will enjoy the market as well with interactive games, Cookie-baking at the Imperial Bakery or the “Schloss Schoenbrunn Experience” in the Children’s Museum.
Once Christmas is over, the market will be transformed into a New Year’s Market which will open on December 28th to January 1st.

Directions for visitors staying at bluedanube apartments: U1 to Karlsplatz and the U4 to Schoenbrunn. Approx 20 minutes.

Christmas Market Schoenbrunn
November 23rd to December 26th, open daily from 10am to 9pm,  
December 24th 10am to 4pm
December 25th and 26th 10am to 7pm
New Year’s Market Schoenbrunn
December 27th to January 1st, open daily from 10am to 7pm

Further Information can be found at

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Vienna Opera Livestreaming

In a few days the famous Vienna Opera will start live streaming some of their performances, starting with Mozarts Zauberflöte (The Magic Flute), on 27th November from 5.30 pm GMT. This will not only boost the number of visitors - currently around 600,000 visitors are coming to see the operas and ballets, but also bring their performances much more convenient into our homes. Tickest for these virtual events will be only 14 EUR. To buy and get further information, visit

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Vienna Carnival Season is Starting

At 11:11 am on 11/11 a new carnival season is beginning. In Vienna, it is not just a beginning, it will be a huge outdoor dancing event. More than 3,000 dancers are expected to perform the largest quadrille of the world. Organised and hosted by the association of Viennese dance schools, all Vienna will be dancing into carnival season. Everyone is invited to join in at the Graben, one of the avenues leading to Stephansplatz. With the assistance of professional dancers everyone will be able to enjoy this early morning waltzing time. It is about fun and joy, not perfection, they say...
So, if you are lucky enough to be in the area, join in and enjoy! And if not, you will have the opportunity to dance and enjoy at more than 450 balls this season.

Christmas - Just Around the Corner

While most of our guests have returned home from their well deserved autumn break, preparations are running already for the various Christmas markets in Vienna. The most popular market is the one in front of the city hall. It will open in only few days from now, on November 16th, and then it will be again Magic of Advent in Vienna…

The Magic of Advent in Vienna will be celebrating its 27th anniversary this year. Locals and visitors to the city love the market and decorations on Vienna’s Rathausplatz (City Hall Square).
The Magic of Advent in Vienna is a favorite place to meet, with many visitors returning several times each season. Young families, teens and tourists are particularly enchanted by the yuletide atmosphere on City Hall Square. It comes as no surprise that the Magic of Advent in Vienna is known as Europe’s most child-friendly Christmas market.
The amazing lighting concept will ensure that the Magic of Advent in Vienna makes a still more dazzling impression this year. Still more glittering lamps will enhance the festive atmosphere, drawing visitors away for a gentle stroll apart from the hubbub of the main market. A tour of the beautifully decorated Rathauspark – where the famous Heart Tree, festooned with 280 glowing hearts, awaits – has written the opening chapter to many a love story over the years. And perhaps you will meet the Vienna Christ Child on its walk around the park, or listen when it reads a Christmas story in front of the crib.
By the way, there is this tradition that one of the Austrian provinces presents the Christmas tree as a gift thus demonstrating their close connection to the capital city. This year the tree comes from Styria. The spruce tree from Bruck/Mur is 30 m high and about 100 years old. And therefore the local brass orchestra from Bruck/Mur will entertain all visitors at the opening ceremony on November 16th, from 4.30 pm.
There is a packed program of arts and crafts for kids and teens at the Christmas workshop. During the six weeks of the Magic of Advent, youngsters are hard at work painting, shaping, turning, sawing, stenciling, applying glitter, threading beads, sticking, firing, decorating and packing as they create a total of around 70,000 presents for their parents and grandparents. Over the years the Christmas workshops have featured virtually every imaginable art and craft. Some of the creative spirits who tried their hand at arts and crafts in the workshops back in the 1980s are now returning as adults, and can’t wait for their own children’s first cookies and artwork.
The vibrant and colorful Christmas market, offering a vast array of Christmas handicrafts, tree decorations and other yuletide gift ideas, is the centerpiece of the Magic of Advent in Vienna.
Evocative Advent aromas, festive concerts, a tall tree blazing with countless Christmas lights against the backdrop of City Hall, and the enchantingly decorated Rathauspark are just some of the highlights that give the Magic of Advent in Vienna its unique appeal.
This year the official opening will take place on November 16 and run until 6 p.m. on December 24, when Christmas really is just around the corner. 

Friday, November 1, 2013

Morbid Vienna - Widow Express to Necropolis

You might have heard that Vienna and the Viennese have their special relationship to death - some say it is an obsession. This is not only because Vienna has Europe's biggest cemetary, but tradition dates back to the Hapsburg era and beyond to the age of Baroque. The high time of celebrating funerals was in the late 19th century, when the 'beautiful funeral' was the event at the end... It often was pompous and expensive, including musicians, choirs and horse carriages. These days funeral processions made their way through the city centre in the evenings, with flickering candles casting their orange light through the streets, and then continuing on to the newly built Central Cemetary.
This Central Cemetary was founded in 1874 by Emperor Franz Joseph I outside the city limits of Vienna. It is of huge dimensions, designed for a Vienna of more than 4 million inhabitants (which was the forecast for the end of the millenium at that time). Today this Vienna necropolis hosts more than 3 million 'inhabitants' - and the traditional way to go there is by tram no. 71, the socalled widow express - you guess why...
If you are interested in the morbid side if Vienna, the Central Cemetary is a must. You might be scared by the shere size of it, but don't worry, it even has its own bus system. But there are more places, historically relevant, interesting or merely bizarre: St.Marx Cemetary with Mozart's grave (although the exact location is unknown), the Biedermeier style Cemetary in Waehring, the old Jewish Cemetary in Rossau, as well as the famous Capuchins crypt and the St.Stephens Cathedral's catacombs. Still not enough? Well, there is more to see, for example Vienna's Funeral Museum or the Vienna Crime Museum.

Ok, back to life then...