Apartment Riverside (sleeps 4)

Apartment Prater (sleeps 4)

Apartment Nestroy (sleeps 7)

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

The Adventkalender

In Germany and Austria there is an old tradition: the Adventkalender.
Again it dates back to around 1851, when first a self-made Adventkalender was mentioned.

Already since weeks you will find kind of boxes in shops where upon typical scenery is printed.
Children will find such an Adventkalender somewhere in their home from tomorrow morning, the 1st of December.

The commercial ones are filled with better or cheaper chocolate. The type of chocolate which is used for bunnies and egg at Easter time. Now they are angels and demon... ups, no!

Every day from now on one "Fenster", window, can be opened and yet another day has passed on the way to Christmas!

Meanwhile this tradition has made it to other countries too. Whilst 5 years ago in the UK these Adventkalender were almost inexistent, you can buy them now at all the Asdas, Sainsburys and Tescos! Maybe even branded with Little Britain or X Factor - who nows?

Creative moms like me, with grown up children replace the chocolate ones and diversify this tradition.

Log on tomorrow to see how it looks like!

Or stay at bluedanubeapartments and check, if we have one there!

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Snow was Coming to Town

It started with a snow storm (picture from Schoenbrunn Palace) in the early evening hours...

... and the final result were a few milimetres of snow (picture taken at 8.30 pm close to bluedanube apartments). Much less than expected, but a start, after all...

Friday, November 26, 2010

Snow is Coming to Town

Seems that the weather forecast is correct this time... it started snowing in the Western parts of Austria, so it is just a question of hours until Vienna will become white. It is a nightmare for some, a dream for others... So, if you are planning to use your car under such conditions, be prepared for chaos (at least during the first days until everyone has digested the unexpected surprise) and don't move your car if you haven't got snow-tires and strong nerves. If you are more the walking type of person, wrap yourself into some warm stuff and enjoy - and hurry up, because, as usual at this time of the year, the snow will not last very long and melt away again soon.
And, of course, bluedanube apartments are well prepared, it will be warm and cozy when you return back to the apartment after a nice winter walk in town.

Arts and Crafts at Vienna Christmas Markets - Belvedere

The Belvedere Palace is another famous location in Vienna which hosts a Christmas market. Without a doubt, the gardens and the buildings are worth a journey. In addition, during Christmas time many visitors are attracted by this nice and familiar Christmas village. It offers a combination of the baroque Belvedere Palace, flooded with light, the garden plants and the Christmas atmosphere. Approximately 50 market stalls offer ornate handicraft products as well as culinary delights. Local and international choirs and gospel groups are performing traditional Christmas music in the Chrismas village. Children will enjoy the nostalgic carrousel and a lot of surprises.
Directions for visitors staying at bluedanube apartments: S-Bahn to Suedbahnhof and then either walk down or take the tram D. Use the entrance to the garden at 39, Prinz Eugen Strasse . Approx 20 minutes.
November 19th to December 23rd, open daily from 11am to 9pm

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Vienna Opera Ball ... and 150 Other Balls

Now, that we have successfully approached the carnival season and the christmas market season, Vienna prepares also for the ball season. As you see, Viennese people love to enjoy these chilly and quite depressing months of the year by dancing and drinking!

Combine a stylish gown with glamour, elegance, waltz and lots of champagne and indulge in society like the emperors, queens and kings did. Head out for a traditional ball in Vienna.

Meanwhile the season stretches from November to August. Business over tradition! Traditionally the ball season ends on "Faschingsdienstag" the day before "Aschermittwoch. In 2011 this will be the 8th and 9th March then.
"Faschingsdienstag" is the Mardi Gras in France or the Pancake-day in Britain. And the following day is the Ash Wednesday. But this is another story, we'll report on that later.

It is said, that there are approx 150 balls taking place in Vienna. But only a handful are the very traditional ones. It has become custom that groups of people started to organize a ball to party within their community. Let us have a look what kind of "newer" balls there are on offer:

Ball of the chimney sweepers
Ball of the police
Ball of Slovakia
Ball of the viennese butchers
Ball of the weightlifters
Russian Ball
Ball of Greece
Ball of viennese confectioners

Just to give you an idea.
And there are many high schools, dancing schools and universities organising balls for their students, friends and families.

The more traditional "waltz-parties" are the ones in beautiful venues, having a long history

31st Dec -  Kaiserball
Wr Hofburg   traditional, nice way to slip into the new year, grand location

14th Jan  -  Blumenball
Wr Rathaus   traditional, flowers wherever you look, nice location

20th Jan  -  Philharmonikerball
Musikverein  tradtional, beautiful location, if you can't make it to the new year's concert

22th Jan  -  Pharmacyball
Wr Hofburg  if you love to be surrounded by pills and drugs

29th Jan  -  Ärzteball
Wr Hofburg  if you are keen to dance with your GP

3rd  Feb  -  Immobilienball  
Wr Hofburg  if you are more into property

25th Feb  -  Kaffeesiederball
Wr Hofburg  nowhere else in the world you can find that many coffeehouse owners

7th Mar   -   Rudolfina Redoute

Monday, November 22, 2010

Guardian & Observer Travel Awards 2010

Well done Austria!

And the Favourite European Country title at the prestigious Guardian and Observer Travel Awards 2010 goes to AUSTRIA!

The readers of the Guardian and Observer newspaper and the online Guardian awarded our country to be worth going at. Quality of companies, airlines and hotels seemed to be fit for British customers!

The results are not brand new, sorry- They were announced on 9th October 2010 at Cardiff Castle.

To find out just why Austria has the honour of being UK's Favourite European Country, take a look at the Guardian Insiders' Guide To Austria

Be quick - book now
- only some days left before christmas:

Visit Vienna now - the best time of the year!

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Madame Tussauds in Vienna Prater

10 is not enough !

That’s why Merlin Entertainment Group are going to open their 11th wax attraction in Vienna. The opening is scheduled for early 2011.

Being in Madame Tussauds London
you can pose with the Beatles, have a chat with Tony,
be part of a royal showdown or be the 7th wife of Henry VIII.
Don't fancy that?

Then come to Vienna! The new attraction in the Vienna Prater will be home to approx 70 wax figures, celebrities from all around the world, but with a distinctive Austrian touch. The Prater is already one of Vienna’s main attractions with around 3 million visitors every year, but Madam Tussauds certainly will significantly raise the profile of the location.

Will they invite Sisi and others of the former Hapsburg glory? Will they present Hans Moser, one of the most famous, typical and traditional viennese actor? What about Johann Strauss? The composer of "The Blue Danube Waltz! - I'm sure our Japanese visitors will love being pictured with him!

Now, as most of the Prater’s main attractions are in hibernation until spring 2011, we are looking forward to the grand opening of the new attraction. And we can't wait!
Don't miss it out and book in advance!

Directions for visitors staying at bluedanube apartments: it’s right on your doorstep, a 5 minutes walk will do.
Sure, you will fancy that!

More information can be expected from this website: Madame Tussauds Vienna

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Lady Gaga in Vienna

Yes, she's here ... 
Lady Gaga arrived yesterday and will have her showdown on Thursday, tomorrow, when she will appear on stage with her latex outfit, kicking off the "Monster Show". The "Stadthalle" in Vienna is sold out since ages. Quite a bargain for international visitors: the highest tickets were 104 euro, while you could maybe just imagine but definitely hear her for 34 euro only too, located somewhere in the big venue.

Lady Gaga stays only a minutes ride away from our bluedanube apartments in Vienna in the famous "Ringstrasse" where a lot of posh Hotels can be found.

It is said, that she wants to do a tourist tour through Vienna, as she loves to see historic buildings and culture. So you may be lucky to meet her in "Schoenbrunn Palace" or in one of the grand Museums. Today she told the press, that she want so see "The Kiss" by Gustav Klimt.

Ah, yes, by the way, she is also recording .... and that she is on stage too, did I mention that before?

And know what? She will enjoy Vienna with her parents! Yes, what a lovely daughter!

So if you see Lady Gaga in Vienna, trust me, no fake ... it's definitely her!

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

11th Nov - Martinmas Goose or watch out for lanterns

On November 11th we do not only celebrate  the opening of Carneval as you may have read in a previous post but also the feast of St. Martin, also known as Martinmas!

St Martin of Tours, born 317, started out as a Roman soldier, was baptized as an adult and became a monk. It is understood that he was a kind man who led a quiet and simple life. The most famous legend of his life is that he once cut his cloak in half to share with a beggar during a snowstorm, to save the beggar from dying of the cold.

And there are 2 nice traditions here in Austria on this and the following days:

1. eating geese

2. children celebrating St Martin and wandering around with self-made lanterns, singing along a very traditional song (see below)

The goose is actually a symbol for St. Martin himself since it is said that a honking goose revealed his hiding place, after he hid to avoid being made bishop of Tours!

So go out to restaurants and ask for the delicious "Martinigansl". You will be more than happy to try out the roasted goose, which comes along with red cabbage and potatoe dumplings. If you are very lucky the goose is even filled with a flavoury mix of chestnuts and bread dumplings. Yummy!

Better to eat it during day than in the evening and definitely add a lot of good red wine!

You will find a lot of excellent reatsurants near our bluedanubeapartment in Vienna. Worth a try is the "Kuchldragoner" in the old part of Vienna city, just a 5min u-bahn drive away from our apartment. Better to book a table and mention that you are keen on the goose! And maybe a last tip: walk home! It's said to be good for the goose in your belly!

And if you are around in the early evening on that day, you probably will encouter kindergarden-children walking around proudly with their self-made lanterns, singing and re-telling the story of St Martin 

Ich geh' mit meiner Laterne und meine Laterne mit mir.
Da oben leuchten die Sterne und unten leuchten wir.
Ein Lichtermeer zu Martins Ehr'! Rabimmel, rabammel, rabumm.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Arts and Crafts at Vienna Christmas Markets - Spittelberg

The Christmas market at the Spittelberg in Vienna was an insider location many years ago, as it was not so crowded as other markets and offered different types of arts and crafts products. It seems to be the fate of insider locations that they do not stay that secret over time and sometimes become large events. Nowadays hundreds of thousands of visitors come here every year and their number is still increasing. But still, the initial approach of attracting both children and adults during the days before Christmas it kept its social character, supporting charity organizations. Children can find a lot of additional attractions like regular visits of Santa Claus, and the Nikolo (St. Niclas) also passes by on the 6th December. In a workshop children can assist the Christ Child preparing the gifts.
The craftwork sold here is very local, as the area itself is home to many arts and crafts shops throughout the year. More than 100 exhibitors are providing the perfect atmosphere for a nice and crisp winter evening in Vienna, before heading on to the many restaurants in the area. The market can be reached easily with the U2 and the U3.
Christmas market at the Spittelberg
16th November to 24th December
Further information can be found here:

Friday, November 5, 2010

The first 5 days of November

Some days ago we welcomed November, as you did as well certainly ... wherever you are in the world.

So what did you do? Did you celebrate? Did you party? Did you grieve for somebody? Have you been scared? Did you fire rockets?

Now, depending on where you live, it might have been a different outcome.

In Vienna we started off with the newly celebrated habit of Halloween. Trick'n'treat has found it's way to our capital. But apart from small children, who have mistaken this tradition with Fasching, the "Viennese way of Carneval", nobody really favours to dress up spooky.

Shops love it, as they can do a proper decoration and pumpkin sellers are able to sell the biggest pumkins nowadays. In the Kindergarden traditional pumpkin candle making is a nice crafts adventure.

Although the Celts did pass through Vienna, their celtic Samhain tradition did not make it into the hearts of Austrian people.

And you will find no creativity with bloody and half-alive costumed people, no corpse-like dressed ladies and no Draculas will be found en masse. No haunted acitivites, no ghost appearances in the old palaces or manor houses.
In London this evening is one more time a great occasion for party and drinking time and of course THE evening for all ghosts - and believe me, they are there, in England!

So on a 31st of October don't expect anything special in Vienna - apart from our cultural evening scene!

The 1st of November is The All Hallow's Day or All Saints Day which has been adopted by the catholic church to be THE day for remembering their many holy people. And this day is not only a public holiday in Vienna, but tradition has it, that people use this day and the following one to visit all their once-beloved ones, the ones beneath the surface!

So expect huge traffic congestions all around the cementaries and graveyards. It also will be difficult to find anything else in a flower shop than wreaths.
And logically there are no bonfire nights like in London, where on the 5th of November, Guy Fawkes, the first British terrorist, is remembererd with lots of fireworks around this day. Maybe you can recall it: that was the guy who wanted to blow op the british parliament ... in 1605. By the way .... some linguists think that the word "guy" derives from Guy Fakes!

Remember, remember the fifth of November,
Gunpowder treason and plot.
We see no reason
Why gunpowder treason
Should ever be forgot!

Sorry, Vienna cannot offer such tradition, but believe me, November is a wonderful month in Vienna: traditional Martinmas Goose, Opening of Carneval Season and Opening of Christmas Markets all well mixed with yellowish falling leaves
Read more in my upcoming post!

Hurry up - November is almost sold out at bluedanube apartments! few nights left!

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Arts and Crafts at Vienna Christmas Markets - Karlskirche

The arts and crafts market in front of the baroque Karlskirche (St. Charles Church) at the Karlsplatz  has been established as an alternative to the large Christmas markets in the city of Vienna, it has its emphasis however within the artistic range. There are products, which one can but from artists, like hand made candles and ceramics as well as articles made of wood. Of course you can find also many products for the everyday life and a lot of gift ideas for Christmas. However, it is not art alone which had made the market in front of the Karlskirche so popular. The famous church and its surroundings provide a beautiful environment to enjoy some local culinary specialities and of course the ubiquitous Gluehwein (mulled wine) and similar ‘dangerous’ drinks together with some Christmassy background music. The market exists since 1993 and was a success from the beginning.
Arts and crafts market/Adventmarkt in front of the Karlskirche
Opening hours 2013:
November 22nd to December 23rd, daily from 12am to 8pm