Treasures of the Salzkammergut

by Susanne Stiegler

Gmunden at Lake Traunsee

Gmunden at Lake Traunsee

When people holiday in the Salzkammergut they mostly visit the major attractions like the Salt Trail, the Ice Cave at Dachstein or the Imperial Villa in Bad Ischl, but there is more to experience!

Lake Attersee and Lake Traunsee offer exciting activities as well, which are well worth giving a try.

When staying at Lake Attersee, one must-do is a cruise with the Attersee shipping company, which offers different tours of the lake. I would recommend going on board of the southern route, which takes about 2.5 hours. The special thing about this route is that you cannot only enjoy the beautiful landscape and feel the fresh lake air, but also view magnificent villas of Austrian and international celebrities. Maybe you are lucky and spot the two times Austrian Olympic champion in alpine skiing Hermann Maier sunbathing in his garden – who knows?

For the water sport lovers among yourselves the surfing and water ski schools around the lake ensure a great time with activities like water skiing, wakeboarding, tubing or surfing. If you would like to experience a slice of adventure you have to visit the rope climbing park in Seewalchen am Attersee. There you can choose from different levels of difficulty and test your courage at an airy height. I would say – challenge accepted!

Lake Attersee has a close connection to the famous artist Gustav Klimt, who spent numerous summers at the lake. To mark Klimt’s 150th birthday, the Gustav Klimt Center opened on the avenue of Kammer Castle, which you should definitely pay a visit. Highly recommendable is Das Klimt, a café and restaurant located in the same building where you could enjoy a free breakfast on your birthday.

 

Now let’s turn to Lake Traunsee, which is just half an hour’s drive from Lake Attersee.

The city Gmunden at Lake Traunsee is world famous for its ceramic manufactory where you have the opportunity to take a tour. In this regard, don’t miss the Austrian pottery market, which takes place in Gmunden from 29th August 2014 to 31st August 2014.

Another big event which is held in Gmunden and in other villages around Lake Traunsee is the cultural festival Salzkammergut Festwochen Gmunden from 13th July 2014 to 24th August 2014. Every day it offers one or more events in the areas of music, theatre, film, art and literature.

If you are an outdoor fan and would like to explore Lake Traunsee on your own there are many opportunities to do so. Take the chance and rent a boat from one of the many boat rentals around the lake offering rowing, sailing, electric or pedal boats. I would recommend taking an electric boat in Gmunden to discover the bay and to have a fantastic view of the well-known lakeside castle Schloss Ort.

The area around the bathing lakes Traunsee and Attersee is a great place to go on a hike. If you would like to enjoy a breathtaking view over the Lake Traunsee and the whole region I suggest the mountain Kleiner Sonnstein in Traunkirchen. It is just a 1.25 hour hike to the top of the mountain and the path is not too difficult. For those of you who prefer a more relaxing way of going up a mountain, the new cable car on the mountain Grünberg would be the perfect option. On the top there are hiking paths, an adventure playground and a toboggan run which takes you down the mountain very quickly.

I think all these suggestions and tips give you no reason to hesitate to pay a visit to the beautiful regions of Lake Attersee and Lake Traunsee!



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 Anna Blum on 17.07.2014  |   No comments

Noshing in Vienna

Sandra Shevey visited some Austrian markets. The Naschmarkt in Vienna was of course on top of her list. So, what does she have to say about it?

“Of Vienna`s 26 permanent markets, Naschmarkt is the oldest with a charter dating back to the 17thc.  It probably however was going long before that as an unincorporated market.Naschmarkt, Wien, 2009, Copyright www.peterrigaud.com

Meaning `wares` or `spices` Naschmarkt was repatriated to Wienzeile over the Wien River in 1917 when the Vienna River was covered over and city planners had decided to demolish the old city walls and redevelop Vienna`s `Ring`.  The original market site now hosts Vienna`s fine Opera House.  Naschmarkt spans 1.5 kilometres.

The old quarter still has a link with the ancient markets as old street names prevail such as meat market, fish market, honey market, bread market, milk market, cheese market and others.  It is on Meat Market that `Some Like It Hot` director Billy Wilder lived as a boy when attending grade school in Vienna.

The Naschmarkt was rebuilt within city walks just before the market was moved to Karlsplatz (its present site) in 1917….moved along with the old market building which still serves as its primary administrative centre.  Architecturally it is impressive- a rotunda market building with a majolica frontpiece symbolising fecundity- cherubs, grapes and vines.

Built along a perpendicular the Naschmarket is a series of avenues or boulevards bisected by cross streets.  Rambling outbuildings boast original wooden infrastructure of display units, storage and frontage, which threaten soon to disappear as market authoriies mandate a re-fit to comply with health and safety standards.

Whereas in the past most of the produce was grown and sold by local farmers, in recent years there`s been an influx of ethnicity and a wide range of goods.  Turkish and Asian traders import quality produce from Indonesia, Greece, Turkey, Iran and elsewhere.  Ethnics also enrich the stalls at the Saturday fleat market (also part of the Naschmarkt) with their colourful, native artefacts.

The increasing numbers of Asians and Turks have re-invented the market as something of a foodie centre.  They have also upped its diminished status.  Their presence is not so much a consequence of direct immigration as indirect.  Many traders arrive in Austria via other EU countries.

All produce adheres to Austrian standards and is well-marked.  If it is local and home-grown, it is marked `INL` (inland and home-grown).  Local produce includes: radishes, parsley, lettuce, green salad, gourds (Styrian), grapes, etc.

The variety of produce is exceptional.  Mushrooms hail not only from the immediate locality but nearby  Styria and as far as China.  There are also wild mushrooms.

Serving 1.6 million Viennese the Naschmarkt boasts 200-300 stalls and is open Monday-Saturday 6:30am – 7pm.

Smells of spices follow you everywhere- paprika, basil and coriander.  Oooooooh!!

Vienna`s most renowned gourmet chef `Kim` has a shop at the market and so too does Gegenbauer: one of the few if not the last Vienna shop dispensing hand-selected, peeled and carefully pressed vinegars.  This shop is quite a revelation and I urge you to stop by when you`re visiting Vienna.  There are over 70 vinegars to choose from – to drink and/or to sprinkle on cheese or salads.  Some vinegars are in wooden casks.  Others are in lovely glass bottles.  Some are digestives.  Others are exotic- fresh-harvested asparagus from Sulzmann Marcheld; raspberry vinegar; golden delicious vinegar (with pumpkin seed oil); and Bouvier wine vinegar, to name but a few.

 

So much noshing makes you hungry and I made for the market`s oldest pub (c1916) .  It`s become a bit, noisy, crowded and showy but it`s still fun as you sit cheek by jowl with people you don`t know but get to know pretty well by closing time.

I got stuck at a table with newspapers strewn about and a man who couldn`t possibly read them in the dimly-lit pub.  But, hey, he wouldn`t move.  Four seats to himself, and he barely vacated one.  I practically had to eat the meal on my lap.  What to think?  A crazy sense of humour, eh!

I plumped for the goulash (when in Rome) which tasted more like curry (but not to worry).  I was discouraged from ruining the purity of taste by ordering noodles or potatoes and  so I tucked into bread instead. A Styrian beer (Muraurer) completed the meal.Apple strudel (c) WienTourism

And then it was off to the Cafe Sperl c1880.on Gumpendorfer StraBe where I met up with friends and consumed some of the best apple strudel in the world.  Now, I have been eating apple studel since the Sixties when I used to go to the Old Heidelberg, an Austrian tearoom in New York City near Columbia University.  I currently make for the Bagel Shop in London on Brick Lane which does a passingly good apple strudel.  But this Viennese strudel was exceptional.

Sitting in the cafe raised thoughts of Billy Wilder whom I once met whilst interviewing Walter Matthau.  Billy raged against life in pre-war Vienna when he was impoverished.  He said, `We were so poor we used to sneak into cafes and eat the scraps of bread, potatoes and eggs left by the customers`.

Was it the Cafe Sperl to which he referred?  Somehow I could see him there.  It gave me a weird kind of deja vu.  Was it a ghost?  I left a piece over just in case.
Copyright 2010 Sandra Shevey All Rights Reserved
Sandra Shevey runs tours around local markets worldwide.  http://sandrashevey.tripod.com
Contact: sandra_shevey@yahoo.com
 Hospitality courtesy of the Austrian National Tourist Office, www.austria.info

 

 



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 Martina Jamnig on 26.06.2014  |   No comments

A Summer Journey to Austrian Wine

Wine & Travel (c) AWMB

The picnic basket filled with scrumptious Schmankerl delicacies is ready. The bicycles are geared up for the first tour of the season, and the joy of a warm spring day in an Austrian vineyard can barely be contained! Austria’s wine growing regions from Vienna to Steiermark and from Donauland to Südburgenland offer endlessly delightful adventures and experiences.

 

The warmth of the sun entices to go outside and into nature. The blissful months of April, May and June play host to 4.5 million Austrian holiday trips – the second highest number after the summer holiday period. So now would be an optimal time to plan, book and enjoy an Austrian wine journey.

 

There are so many things to discover – beginning with a bike or walking tour along the Danube river; the opening of the Viennese Schanigärten sidewalk cafés; a visit to see the Lipizzaner horses in Styria and the beautiful nature parks near the Neusiedlersee (Lake Neusiedl). But that isn’t all. For those who are particularly attracted to regional delights and enjoyment on the highest level, a wine and pleasure journey is exactly the right thing. This kind of travel is mainly an all-round experience, where wine and pleasure along with nature, culture and attractive places of interest make up a well-rounded holiday. For some food for the soul, take a romantic stroll through the Kellergassen (cellar lanes) in Lower Austria, visit the winery of your favorite producer, or take a walk through the vineyards and then enjoy a hearty Brettljause platter of coldcuts with a glass of good wine in a Buschenschank tavern.

 

“Wine & Travel” made easy

Where, when and how long is a Heurigen or Buschenschank “Ausg´steckt” – open to serve their own wine and food? Which winery has guest rooms? When do regional wineries hold their Weinfrühling – wine springtime open-house? Where are the places of interest? The answers to your questions and much more can be found on the wine-tourism platform www.winetravelsinaustria.com. This tool offers the possibility to search for and find interesting points and locations such as winemakers, wines, vinotheques, hotels and restaurants, and to combine them together in one or more travel routes. So, go ahead and plan your Austrian wine and pleasure journey, upload photos and videos, rate your target destinations and share it all with other users and begin your summer with Austrian Wine!

 

All travel tips and advice are available on the “Wine Travels in Austria” platform from the Austrian Wine Marketing Board (AWMB) at www.austrianwine.com



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 Anna Blum on 06.06.2014  |   No comments

Innsbruck Market: On a Clear Day You Can See George Clooney

Sandra Shevey visited some Austrian markets. The Innsbruck market was one of it. So, what does she have to say about it?

The train to Innsbruck was jammed with evangelists on their way to Oberammergau for the Passion Play which runs every 10 years.  Seating was difficult as I had to make my way around the placards which obstructed the corridors. Window views appeared like a film montage- images of mountains and sheep and deer (right out of `The Sound of Music`). Five hours later I arrived dog tired at Innsbruck, the capital city of Tyrol (western Austria) and one of the best ski resorts in the world.  It has hosted the Winter Olympics twice (1964 and 1976) and has also hosted the Paralympics (1984 and 1988).  In 2008 it was chosen to host the first Winter Youth Olympic Games to be held in 2012.Innsbruck_Copyright Innsbruck Tourism

Meaning `Bridge over the River Inn` Innsbruck was and is an important trade crosspoint of both Germany and Italy.  Lake Como is just across the border and on a clear day you can see George Clooney who has a villa there. The counts of Andechs were given rights over the Tyrol valleys by the Roman Emperor and in 1180 established a market, built a bridge to facilitiate movement of goods between north and south regions of the Alps. It is conceivable they merely regulated an existing market in as much as the location has always had an enviable proximity linking trade routes and the Brenner Pass.

In this Innsbruck would not be unlike our own Borough market in London which originally existed on the north side of the Thames and was expanded by the Romans who built the bridge linking north and south London.

The market began in the open amidst the cobbles and alleys in the old town square.  It still exists to some extent today in the same form and the same place. An Art Noveau indoor market hall was built in 1921.  A bit of the old building exists and you can view it from the rear of the New Food Hall which was built in 1960. In times past the 1921 hall was doubtless used to sell perishables whilst outdoor stalls sold fruit and veg and other produce.

There still is an outdoor market, generally specializing in antiques, bric-a-brac and other flea items but it was cancelled during my trip.  Two outdoor stages had been erected for band concerts taking place in the market square later that evening. I think this is a good omen…..a progressive omen…a healthy omen.  Rock concerts sure beat the kinds of entertainment previously generated for the amusement of sovereigns who would sit on their thrones peering down from terraces as some poor soul got his arm or leg hacked off in a tournament or some other blood sport.

The difference between New Hall and Old Hall is that between farm-fresh and organic.  New Hall reminds a bit of Harrods.  Everything is pukka, smart and expensive.  It`s like Saturday at the Borough market in London. Old Hall produce is not only local and home-grown.  It is organically grown which means the taste is that much more rarefied.  The houmas was thick and rich.  Fillets of roast pork were so tender you could eat them with your fingers. Pumpernickel and creme fraiche sprinfled with parsley were definitive in both taste and texture.Food_Copyright Innsbruck Tourism

The General Food Hall is open Monday – Friday 6am – 6:30pm and on Satuday from 6am – 1pm.  The Farmers Market is open Monday – Saturday 6am – Noon. I must admit at this stage that I speak not a word of Austrian.  Not a word.  And yet it didn`t seem to matter.  I had long conversations during my trip but they weren`t always verbal. I was asked to try a cheese which translated means `love cheese`.  I was given a single taster.  `Nothing`, I said to the cheesemonger. `I need more than one taster to get me going`.  A local behind me in the queue quipped, `Natural Viagra`.  I howled.  I laugh every time I think of the remark, even now as I write the blog. Another stall purveyed homemade onion cake and also a delicious bread called `Feigen cake` which is stuffed with nuts, apples and raisins.

Saturday also hosts two small Farmers markets in other parts of Innsbruck.  Visiting them gives you the chance to walk around the city.  You feel diminished by the grandeur of Renaissance, Baroque and Rococo architecture- also somewhat daunted by the wooden Durer-like crucifixes which still dominate this lovely, lost Austrian valley, shrouded in mist, mountains and magic.

And it`s not just on the streets.  I was booked into the Hotel Adler, around the corner from the old marketplace.  A large part of the hotel was originally a Capuchin convent.  This 400 year old hotel owned by the Ultsch family since 1900 and currently part of the Best Western Group remains architecturally true to its monastic origins and those origins include a singificant amount of religious iconography. As I savoured some of the best cheese I have ever eaten, I departed this last Austrian market venue.  It was the end of the tour.  I was sorry it was over.  But I thought I`d come back.  Like the cheese, it had left a pleasant taste in my mouth.

Copyright 2010 Sandra Shevey All Rights Reserved
Sandra Shevey runs tours around local markets worldwide.  http://sandrashevey.tripod.com
Contact: sandra_shevey@yahoo.com
 Hospitality courtesy of the Austrian National Tourist Office, www.austria.info



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 Martina Jamnig on 07.05.2014  |   No comments

It begins in Linz…

Linz (c) linztourismus_JohannSteininger

Linz (c) linztourismus_JohannSteininger

By Cynthia Flaggl

 

There is an Austrian saying „In Linz beginnt’s”, which basically means „It begins in Linz”. So why don’t you actually start your holidays in Austria in Linz?

Admittedly, there are far more famous cities in Austria than Linz, but why don’t you step away from the crowded tourist paths and enjoy exploring a really interesting and upcoming city far away from Mozart and the Sacher Torte?

Linz was made European Capital of Culture in 2009 and since then its image really has changed. Linz developed itself from a very industrial city to a modern, upcoming, cultural hub, which is definitely worth visiting.

Linz offers something for everyone. It doesn’t matter if you are interested in culture, shopping or nature, Linz has something for you too.

On a sunny spring day I would recommend you to take a stroll along the famous Linzer Landstraße. The Landstraße is the most important shopping street in Linz and offers a variety of different shops. I can ensure you, you will find something there. And if you are a little bit tired after your stroll you can walk up to the “SKY GARDEN” and enjoy a coffee with a unique view of the cathedral and the Pöstlingberg. There is a reason why “SKY GARDEN” can say that they have the most beautiful terrace in Linz.

But no worries, if you are not that interested in shopping there are plenty of other things to do in Linz, which are connected with culture and nature.

For cultural lovers it is a MUST to pay the Ars Electronica Center a visit. And if you are lucky and you are in Linz at the right time (4th – 8th of September 2014), then there is also the Ars Electronica Festival which is absolutely worth a visit. This festival turned out to be a very successful and remarkable event for media art, and it now belongs to the most important of its kind. In the Ars Electronica Center you can enjoy different exhibitions, which change over time. But they are always connected to the theme of the permanent exhibition – “Neue Bilder des Menschen” (meaning “new pictures of humans”) – and take a closer look at humans, how the live and how they will be living.

Another highlight in Linz is the Bruckner Festival (13th of September – 5th of October 2014). This festival has taken place in the Brucknerhaus every year since 1974. The Brucknerhaus, named after the famous composer Anton Bruckner, is a famous concert and event venue. During the Bruckner Festival there are many outstanding concerts with elite international artists and ensembles.

And if you still looking for more cultural experiences in Linz you can also pay a visit to the Mariendom cathedral, the Lentos Kunstmuseum or the Schlossmuseum.

But if you have done enough culture and are now looking for some relaxing outdoor activities, I would recommend you to either take the Pöstlingbergbahn - Europe’s steepest mountain railway – up to the Pöstlingberg, or why not enjoy a cycle ride along the beautiful and majestic Danube?

Up at Linz’s local mountain – the Pöstlingberg – you can enjoy visiting the Wallfahrtsbasilika, Linz’s Zoo or the popular fairy-tale world of the Grottenbahn. Not to forget the absolutely magnificent view over Linz, which awaits you at the mountain top.

So, after telling you all of these things about Linz, why don’t you pay a visit and experience Linz on your own. You will, without a doubt, come to the conclusion that Linz is definitely worth a trip!!!

 



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 Anna Blum on 11.03.2014  |   No comments

An Insider of Graz

 

Graz - Main Square (c) ANTO/Diejun

Graz – Main Square (c) ANTO/Diejun

By Cynthia Flaggl

When people think of Austria, they always think of Vienna and Salzburg. It’s not so often that they think of Graz. But they definitely should! Because Graz is one of the most beautiful and interesting cities in Austria, and I am not just saying that because I am from Graz. Over the past few years Graz has become a very modern city, which offers its visitors a variety of possibilities during their holidays.

 

Graz for Cultural Lovers

Graz can call itself a “City of Design” since UNESCO has declared Graz to be part of its “Creative Cities”. And honestly, Graz is pretty proud about this fact. But I have to admit, Graz definitely deserves this title!

 

“City of Design”

When you are in Graz, it is a MUST to take a stroll through the picturesque and charming old city centre. I promise you, you will experience a unique mix of old and new architecture. There are beautiful buildings from the gothic, renaissance, baroque and art nouveau eras, as well as plenty in contemporary style.

But Graz offers more than just architecture! Do you like to go shopping? Well, if the answer is YES, you definitely have to pay a visit to the department store Kastner & Öhler! Shopping at Kastner & Öhler is not just about buying things, it really is an experience to shop in this special atmosphere and admire the amazing interior. There is a reason why Kastner & Öhler earned the title “Department Store of the year” in 2011. And if you are a bit tired after walking through the old city centre and shopping, visit the café “Freiblick by Eckstein” on the 8th floor at Kastner & Öhler. This café offers you more than just coffee and apple strudel. You can enjoy the amazing roof terrace with the skywalk, which provides you a unique view over the old city centre, the Schlossberg and the main square.

 

Dining in Graz

If you love to enjoy good food and wine within an incredible atmosphere, then let me tell you about this one special event in Graz, which you absolutely have to attend: the so called “Long Table of Graz” !

The “Long Table” takes place at the main square in Graz around mid-August every year since 2010. The whole main square turns into a giant open air restaurant for about 700 guests. At the “Long Table” you enjoy a delicious 5-course-menu, cooked by 27 chefs from different restaurants in Graz, in the heart of the city centre. You will experience a festively decorated table, delicious food and wines and entertainment. And believe me, I have been there, you will never experience something like this anywhere else. To sit there, in the heart of Graz, under the sky, at this festively decorated table, enjoying delicious food and wines together with an amazing view off the Schlossberg und the clock tower is just indescribable!!

 

So, after telling you all these things about my beloved hometown, there is only one thing left to say: “GRAZ IS DEFINITELY WORTH A TRIP!”



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 Anna Blum on 04.02.2014  |   No comments

Luxury Chalets in the Austrian Alps

Chalets Montafon (c) ÖW EbersbergDrying the ski gear by the fireplace in a freezing mountain hut or setting off on a half-day hike to source dinner could be classed as romantic, but if you like a few creature comforts on your hard-earned holidays then a chalet stay can still be an option in Austria! We present you with a selection of quirky and luxurious lodgings across the Austrian Alps that offer everything from ski boot warmers to food delivery at unbeatable prices.

 

For sweeping slopes with guaranteed snow in winter and sunny trails leading to glistening lakes in summer, head to Carinthia. Traditional Alpine huts, comfortable hunting lodges and generous chalets form the exclusive Almdorf Seinerzeit, including a rustic restaurant, wine cellar, swimming pool and spa. Right by the Nockberge Biosphere Reserve, one of Austria’s beautiful national parks, the scenery and attentive chalet staff make guests feel like they have found a secret haven.

 

INNs HOLZ Chalet Village is located in the Bohemian Forest of Upper Austria. A special focus was placed on the materials used for the 11 chalets, with traditional loden and cloth playing the main role alongside wood. Each chalet has its own Finnish sauna and outdoor area, and guests can also use the wellness area of the INNs HOLZ Hotel.

 

45km south of Salzburg you’ll find the Wood Ridge Luxury Chalets. These luxurious Canadian-style log cabins offer plenty of comforts such as a whirlpoorl on the terrace, private sauna and daily breakfast basket. For larger groups visiting the SalzburgerLand region Alpin Chalets are ideal, sleeping up to 30 on a self-catering or fully catered basis.

 

Those looking for an authentic mountain experience will love the Hüttendorf Pruggern in Styria. Next to the summer hiking trails and winter slopes, the self-catering chalets are modernly equipped, but guests can still pay a visit to the on-site shop that sells farmers’ produce and freshly baked goods.

 

Tirol is one of our favourite holiday destinations, so why not avoid the hotel crowds and give your holiday a unique twist? The Biohotel Stanglwirt in Going takes bookings for its newly renovated Hüttling Moos. Up to 60 people can be hosted in this 5-star cabin, fully serviced with an own cook and butler. In nearby Kirchberg you can stay at the Maierl-Alm and Chalets, where you can enjoy goodies including your own panorama sauna and ski boot warmer.

 

We end our selection at the height of luxury in Vorarlberg. The 5-star Hotel Bentleys House has 3 chalets, stylishly equipped and providing full board with a personal butler service. Located at an altitude of 1720m, not only the service but also the stunning views of Lech Zürs will have you on a high!



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 Anna Blum on 03.01.2014  |   No comments

Family Hollywood visits a Kinderhotel

Mrs. Kim Hollywood kindly send us her family’s experience of her stay (26 Oct – 2 Nov 2013) at Europe’s 1st Baby and Children’s Hotel. Read what the family thinks of Kinderhotels…

Maple and Nola

Autumn half-term break.  There, I’ve said it, and for many a parent it’s a stressful what-do-we-do-with-the-kids time when the weather can be questionable, and UK attractions crowded to the max.  As I’m writing this after the fact, let me just preface this short report by saying that we lived through half-term and we loved it – in Austria.

After a quick (1 hour and 45ish min), and fairly inexpensive  Ryanair flight, my husband, two daughters (2  ½ & 4) arrived in Salzburg. From there, the hotel had organised a transfer service complete with two appropriate car seats already secured in the car. Our destination was ‘Europe’s 1st Baby and Children’s Hotel’, a member of the Kinderhotels collection of hotels that for some 25 years have found great success in specifically catering to families.

I’m not even sure where to begin except that I’m quite sure that it was on day two, when I nipped down to the spa for a pedicure, safe in the knowledge that my husband had our small charges well-entertained in the soft play Pirate Land area, that I was already thinking that this was the absolute perfect holiday choice. Let me just say in the days that followed, we all played outside in the gloriously fresh Austrian air, we became a party of four kids splashing around in the generously heated pools as the girls even braved the 100m water slide, we sung around an open campfire with  stars above, and of course we ate….and then ate some more (the food was wonderful and despite a lovely daily selection of kids‘ favourites, who knew that our girls would even be open to trying such things as red snapper, chamois, and venison?!) The hotel facilities were cosy, clean and with thoughful touches throughout such as child appropriate toilets/sinks, child-height banisters, and mini robes in the rooms.  A fascinating world of play awaited inside and out, and despite three full days where we stayed indoors due to rain, it never was a bore.

For us, one of the absolute highlights was each morning when one of the hotels‘ three mascots would come down to the kids club area and sing and dance with all the families. Mascots are really  surprising entities I think with their magic sometimes lost on us adults, but to our surprise, our whole family was completely enamoured by Smiley, Smile-lina, and Hubsi Hu the kangaroo. One of our daughters, who is speech delayed, would, in the middle of the singing, always turn to us and say “I like it” – brought tears to our eyes, and quite frankly, this morning ritual is one of our favourite memories of our stay.

Also, while I am able to hold a basic German conversation, the hubby and kids can’t. This wasn’t a worry either as all staff that we encountered spoke enough English that we never had a problem. Menus and daily progranmme highlights were also provided for us in English and no request was too much trouble.

The hotel was not filled to capacity as this was not a half-term week in Austria, so it was marvellous to really unwind in the relaxed and uncrowded atmosphere.  In fact, at one point during the week we were already remarking that we should do another Kinderhotels trip at exactly this same time next year, and that to me is the sign of a terrific holiday.

Thank you to all our new friends at ‘Europe’s 1st Baby and Children’s Hotel’– we want to keep you our little secret but we can‘t resist spreading the word!

Family Hollywood

Family HollywoodOn the bikeNew FriendsHubsi



 Martina Jamnig on 26.11.2013  |   No comments

Vienna – Can you keep a secret? Neither can we!

Kaffee Korb (c) ÖW Lammerhuber

Fancy paying a visit to Vienna off the beaten tourist track?  Looking for dining opportunities that will make your stay even more memorable? We asked a real Vienna girl – our intern Nadine – for her hottest Vienna recommendations.

Pssst, don’t tell anyone, but you will find Nadine’s top secret tips below…

 

Dachboden at the 25hours Hotel
Feasting, dancing, relaxing – start the day with a Disco Brunch

Get your day off to a rocking start with delicious food accompanied by a DJ and stunning views above the rooftops of Vienna. The Dachboden at the 25hours Hotel, Lerchenfelder Straße 1-3, 1070 Vienna invites you to its Disco Brunch, hosted once a month from 10:30 a.m. – 03:00 p.m. Tickets to this event at one of the best design hotels in Vienna cost just 18 Euro (approx. £15). To secure your place, be sure to make a booking, as seating is restricted to 120 guests only!
www.25-hours-hotels.com/wien

 

Restaurant Ü
Because life was meant to be cheesy!

Austrian food is popular all over the world. Once having tried the famous Schnitzel and Kaiserschmarren, everyone is in favour. But instead of going to well-known eateries such as the Plachutta whilst you are in the capital, why not aim for less crowded beloved locals such as the lovely Restaurant Ü for some “Käsknöpfle” – a speciality from Vorarlberg. Here, everything revolves around cheese. Lis, Martin and Johannes are three young entrepreneurs, who are eager to bring the Vorarlberg cuisine to Vienna. You cannot fail to find “Ü” at the Obere Augartenstraße 46, 1020 Vienna, as the wonderful smell of freshly prepared dishes will lead you there, and you can always expect a warm welcome. If you are eager to try the signature dish, go there at the end of the week for “Käseknöpfle Friday”.
www.ue-lokal.at

 

Surprise Cuisine
A tribute to Viennese dining at Restaurant Hohensinn

Restaurant Hohensinn in Fuhrmannsgasse 9, 1080 Vienna serves versatile Austrian cuisine and caters for all tastes. The restaurant not only scores with its excellent food and inviting backyard for outdoor dining in the summer months, but also with its great service. You can enjoy your meal in an utterly relaxing “living room atmosphere”, whereby the owner Annabelle can read your desires just by taking a look into your eyes. The best meals are those when Josef has been given a free hand in cooking and he loves to customize menus for guests according to personal preferences.
www.restaurant-hohensinn.at

 

Vespici Veri
Italian amore and scooters – what could be better?

Right in the center of Vienna, the feeling of Italy is being brought closer to you than at any place else. Drifting along the Schönbrunner Straße, 1050 Vienna an Italian Vespa (motor scooter) concept store might leap to your eye. Vespici Veri is a slice of heaven for all Vespa and Italy admirers. Do you own a scooter that needs work done? Take it there! Are you looking for a new outfit with which you can dazzle Vienna on your Vespa? Go there! Could you be in need of a cooling drink after a city tour or just fancy some Italian flair? Drink there! Our recommendation: Fruity Mici and Spicy Mici. The unique mix of Vodka, cucumber and melon will get you into the summer mood.
www.vespiciveri.at

 

The Pie Factory
A slice of Britain in Vienna

Loving Vienna, but starting to miss the British cuisine and your beloved pie? Pay a visit to The Pie Fatory located in Spitalgasse 15, 1090 Vienna. Here you can get every kind of a pie you could desire and you’ll soon be up for the next round of Schnitzel again!
www.thepiefactory.at

 

Coffee and Books at “phil”
Vienna’s alternative coffee house culture

Of course you cannot miss out on the famous coffee house culture when in Vienna, but instead of going to the touristy coffee houses where you are charged extortionate amounts for a slice of Sacher Torte, check out a more unconventional and different setting at phil. Close to the Naschmarkt Vienna, stroll over for pop culture and culinary delights in a stylish living room atmosphere. While sipping a Latté and tasting delicious snacks on the retro furniture, you can study novelties ranging from “Best Books beyond the 500 pages ” to “This Is Hardcore – Evil in Literature.”
phil.info



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 Anna Blum on 13.11.2013  |   No comments

An Austrian Winter Taster

Winter and the Austrians; it’s a loving relationship, a blend of subtle joys and laugh out loud fun.

Whether your idea of winter is fast, fun and free-spirited, or one with a more relaxing approach, Austria is unsurpassable in its ski and snowboarding opportunities, family-friendly resorts, genuine culture of hospitality and a foodie scene that stretches from valley to mountain top. British visitors will also appreciate the outstanding value for money that winter holidays in Austria bring, whether booking an attractive package or deciding on a self-chosen itinerary.

We shared our excitement about the winter season that lies ahead with guests from the UK and surprised them with a pre-winter taster at Bishops Square, London. A red and white buzzer in the middle of the square, an Austrian winter landscape “waiting in the wings”, and plenty of snow. Would someone dare push the buzzer?

Have a look what happened here



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 Anna Blum on 08.11.2013  |   No comments