Wheeling Vienna – The Culture

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You’ve got your passion, you’ve got your pride
But don’t you know that only fools are satisfied?
Dream on, but don’t imagine they’ll all come true
When will you realize, Vienna waits for you?

You’ve got your passion, you’ve got your pride
But don’t you know that only fools are satisfied?
Dream on, but don’t imagine they’ll all come true
When will you realize, Vienna waits for you?

Billy Joel

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We visited Vienna (or Wien as I prefer to call it) in May 2018 because of a conference. The conference took place in the conference center Austria Messe. And since I hate to get up early in the morning, we stayed as close to the conference center entrance as possible.

It turned out that the hotel was a poor choice. It was called Austria Trend Hotel Messe, but unless you find extremely uncomfortable furniture, an uncosy bar and questionable service trendy, then there is nothing trendy about the hotel.

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Prison cell or hotel? Austria Trend Hotel Messe was everything but trendy…

Some of our colleagues stayed at Motel One nearby, which seemed a much better alternative. We didn’t have breakfast at the hotel, which was ok the days the bakery at the technical university was open, but the other days it was a bit harder to find a coffee in the neighborhood.

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Searching for coffee at university campus

At nights it was also hard to find a decent restaurant close to the hotel. We ended up in the Italian place l’Osteria several nights in a week. Their Italian food was good, but the service was at times exceptionally bad.

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L’Osteria – good food – bad service

And bad service actually seemed to be a trend in the Austrian capital. Do they hate tourists? Do they hate their jobs? Or do they just take pride in being assholes? I never really understood it, but it was almost fascinating how common this phenomenon was.

But don’t get the wrong impression! Besides these not so charming sides of Vienna, the city has a lot of great things to offer.

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Dinner at Zur grünen Hütte – one of the few places without bad service

Here are my best & worst of Vienna:

BEST:

The Art
Everywhere you go there’s art, music, museums, castles and architecture. If you are a lover of culture, it’s hard to not like Vienna.

The Music
Where else can you accidentally walk into a free open air concert with a Symphonic Orchestra? Well, in Oslo you can actually. But the experience in Museums Quartier in Vienna was nothing less than amazing. Vienna hat Kultur!

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It’s so clean!
I think I have never been in a city that clean. Everywhere you go the streets are clean and tidy and the buildings well kept. There is no tagging and graffiti to be seen. Except for the more intentional artsy kind. And even if horse carriages are everywhere, there is hardly no horseshit to wheel into by accident.

The wheelchair access
I was positively surprised how easy the city centre (Inner Stadt) was to wheel. Because of many old buildings, not everything was wheelchair accessible. But the inner city itself was easy to wheel and the subway was mostly pretty easy with the wheelchair. Sometimes you had to wait for the next train, because of a high step or gap. But most trains had very little gap and worked out fine without assistance.

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The Castles
I haven’t been to that many castles in my life, so maybe I’m easily impressed. But Schloss Bellevue is worth a visit and you can see most of the castle and the garden with a wheelchair. Next time we try out Schönbrunn…

The coffeee
The Vienna inhabitants take pride in their café & coffee culture. And you don’t have to search to find a decent cup of coffee in this city.

THE WORST

The service
The service is more or less bad. I don’t know if it’s just a local arrogance, but I would say most of the cafés and restaurants we visited had some level of bad service. Either it was plain rudeness or having to wait an eternity to get the menu or the bill.

The classic Café Central is possible to enter via a back entrance,
but only to certain parts of the restaurant.

The food
I’m not a big fan of wienerschnitzel, sausages, sauerkraut or big fluffy cakes. And that’s kind of the speciality in Vienna. But try a soup or a casserole!

The airport
Turns out it’s almost impossible to fly into Vienna with a powerchair (or at least it takes a hell of a lot of planning). My colleague who was giving a talk at the conference had to do it by Skype. Austrian Airlines – this has got to change!

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The Prater park
Well, actually we didn’t visit it as some of our colleagues did. But the amusement park Prater is mostly known for it’s bad reputation.

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Just some random life wisdom on our way to the airport…

But all in all – the positives definitely outweighs the negatives. I can definitely picture to go back for a long week-end in Vienna, to visit some more museums, drink some more coffee at the oldfashioned stylish cafés and to listen to some more Wiener waltzes…

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Click the photo to hear some lovely classical Vienna music!

Because Vienna has culture!

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