Author Archives: kellyaafsw

Hiking the Hagenbachklamm

On this first sunny Sunday of 2014, we hiked the Hagenbachklamm, a regional park located just north of Maria Gugging/Klosterneuberg, about half an hour from downtown Vienna.  Parking is located at the Parkplatz Hagenbachklamm on the B14 near St. Andrä-Wördern.

The trail through the gorge.

The trail through the gorge.

From the Parkplatz, there is a well-kept walking trail that follows the path of a creek through the “klamm,” or gorge.  It is listed as a family-friendly path, and it is, but I would not try to bring a stroller on it. Also, there are some places where the trail is narrow with a good drop on one side, where I would personally keep a good grip on a toddler or preschooler.

Crocuses!

Crocuses!

We did not follow the main park trail all the way. Instead we used this map from a hiking website which took us on a longer circuit with a more varied terrain. But it was still a pretty easy hike, and of course, there was a Gasthaus conveniently located along the way!

Food that-a-way.

Food that-a-way.

Gasthaus Strasshofer in Hintersdorf is a friendly, inexpensive little place with some wicked cevapcici on offer. Also, the first breaded and fried ham and cheese palatschinken we have every seen. Only in Austria.

Cevapcici with fries. Good thing we were hiking.

Cevapcici with fries. Good thing we were hiking.

There is also a refuge for birds of prey located in the gorge. When we passed by, staffers were showing some great big falcons to a bunch of very interested kids. Pony rides are also available, and there is a playground nearby.

One of several "Indian" wood carvings in and around the bird refuge.

One of several “Indian” wood carvings in and around the bird refuge.

The whole circuit took us about three hours, including lunch. It was a great way to get out and enjoy the sun!

Another section of the trail, which leads through several farms.

Another section of the trail, which leads through several farms.

Hagenbachklamm Nature Reserve
Park Website (German only)

Reviewed by Kelly

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Gray Sundays in Vienna: the Westlicht Photo Museum

On this cold, gray, drizzly winter day, I visited the Westlicht “Showplace for Photography” in Josefstadt. What a cool little museum!

The exhibits, all of which are labeled in English as well as German, are about 1/3 devoted to the history of photography. There are several cases with interesting old cameras, and a few newer ones designed to be used in space, for example. I liked the spy cameras best.

A Soviet ring camera

A Soviet KGB ring camera.

A camera for carrier pigeons

A camera for carrier pigeons.

For really unsubtle spies, I guess

A camera for really unsubtle spies, I guess

Teeny-weeny cameras of various types.

Teeny-weeny cameras of various types.

Early professional portrait camera.

Early professional portrait camera.

The rest of the museum consists of actual photographs. The current exhibition features very old photos from the National Geographic collection. Some just seem bizarre to us now, but others rise to the level of art.

Those were the days?

Elephant hunters with tusks. Those were the days?

Sicilian peasant girls

Sicilian peasant girls.

Finally, there are two slide shows going at all times. One is an exhibit of mostly American Kodachrome photos that made me a bit homesick! The other is a collection of even older Autochrome photos. These were popular from their invention in 1907 to the advent of Kodachrome color film in the 1930s. The  Autochrome photos are really quite lovely and amazing for their time.

Autochrome photos projected on a wall

Autochrome photos projected on a wall

The museum also has a large coffee/wine bar (it apparently is an events venue as well) and a nice collection of posters and books in the adjoining bookshop. Nearby, on the same block of Westbahnstrasse, there are several photo supply stores: Leica, Nikon, etc.

The Westlicht exhibits can be viewed in about an hour, and the museum is a great place to get out of the rain on a gray Sunday in Vienna.

Reviewed by Kelly.

Westlicht Schauplatz für Fotografie
Westbahnstraße 40, 1070 Vienna
http://www.westlicht.com/en/

Gray Sundays in Vienna: Theater Museum

I am proud to say that on the very last day that my annual Kunsthistorisches Museum pass was valid, I finally made it to the Theater Museum.

Fountain in the foyer of the museum.

Fountain in the foyer of the museum.

The "Eroica Hall."

The “Eroica Hall.”

Located in a beautiful Lobkowitz Palace close to the Albertina, the Theater Museum is a small exhibition space with two or three collections on view at any given time.

At the moment, the main exhibit is about puppets, specifically Javanese -style rod puppets designed by an Austrian named Richard Teschner. I am not really into puppets, but these are very beautifully crafted ones.

Rod puppet.

Rod puppet.

More rod puppets.

More rod puppets.

Unfortunately–and somewhat inexplicably–there is exactly zero information in English in the museum. So, my understanding of what I was seeing was limited to what I could figure out from the German placards. It seems that Teschner was sort of the Terry Gilliam of his time and place, designing innovative puppets, stage sets, posters, and costumes in his own, unique style.

Theater poster.

Theater poster.

"Color organ" designed by Teschner.

“Color organ” designed by Teschner.

There was also an exhibit of Japanese theater design, and a lot of very not-PC (but amusing) photos from a turn of the century production of The Mikado. And, various other items related to theater productions scattered throughout: posters, props, a scale model of the Burgtheater, and so on.

Mock-up of a set for The Mikado.

Mock-up of a set for The Mikado.

To be perfectly honest, without any English translation, I would not pay 8 Euros to see this very nice, but small, museum. However, if you have the annual pass anyway, or if you can read German pretty well, it is a good place to while away an hour or so on a cold, gray Sunday in Vienna.

Reviewed by Kelly.

Theater Museum
Lobkowitzplatz 2
1010 Wien
www.theatermuseum.at

Gray Sundays in Vienna: The Imperial Carriage Museum

While the Sunday in question wasn’t technically gray, it was chilly and windy. A good day to cross another item off of our Bucket List!

Since we had annual passes to the Kunsthistoriches museums that were expiring soon, we decided it was a good day to finally check out the Imperial Carriage Museum at Schloss Schönnbrunn.  We are not really that into carriages. But with the KHM annual pass, admission is free. If you are new to Vienna, and want to check out a bunch of museums at a reasonable price, this pass is a great deal. Details here.

But first, a stop for lunch at the Residenz Café. This restaurant (owned by Café Landtmann), though a bit touristy due to its location at the palace, manages to remain a nice stop for lunch or a yummy dessert.

Take your pick, they are all wonderful.

Take your pick–they are all wonderful.

Stoked with truffeltorte and coffee, we headed over the check out the carriages.

The museum is bigger than you might expect, and displays a variety of carriages dating back to the time of Maria Theresa. They are mostly interesting just because they are so over the top, but I did learn a thing or two about early shock absorbers and traveling potties while looking them over.

A Baroque-era carriage.

A Baroque-era carriage.

A Victorian carriage.

A Victorian carriage.

A carriage designed for a very fat prince to be able to hunt without turning himself around (the seat swivels).

A carriage designed for a very fat prince to be able to hunt without turning himself around (the seat swivels).

Even the tiniest Hapsburgs had carriages, pulled by ponies, donkeys, or even well-trained sheep and goats.

Child-sized carriage.

Child-sized carriage.

There were a lot of very fancy sleighs as well. It seems that Vienna used to get a lot more snow!

Victorian sleigh.

Victorian sleigh.

The Carriage Museum also displays a lot of clothing and other memorabilia relevant to the Empress Elizabeth, AKA, “Sissi.” She apparently spent most of her life riding, hunting, and riding around in carriages, so there is a connection other than just catering to tourist Sissi-mania.

The museum can be visited in well under an hour, and with lunch, makes for a nice Sunday outing.

Kaiserliche Wagenburg Wien
Schloss Schönnbrunn
November to April:  daily 10 a.m. – 4 p.m.
May to October: daily 9 a.m. – 6 p.m.
www.kaiserliche-wagenburg.at

Pierogies for Lunch!

Pierogies are a traditional Polish dumpling made with a variety of fillings. They are boiled quickly, then often fried in butter to give them a crispier crust (and because butter!)

Piotrowski – Brötchenstube keeps it simple, serving several different kinds of pierogies, soup, salads, and a couple of appetizers.  You can order plates of 4, 6, or 8 pierogies with any fillings you like. View the menu as a PDF here.

Piotrowski - Brötchenstube

Piotrowski – Brötchenstube

We ordered two 6-pierogie plates with various meat, cheese, and vegetable fillings.  They were only boiled, not fried in butter as I would have preferred, but they were very good, and the salad was fresh. The pierogies are made right in front of you by the restaurant’s Polish staff so you get a free cooking lesson, too.

A 6-pack of pierogies

A 6-pack of pierogies

Someone sitting next to us was having the soup of the day, which looked pretty darn good. When I go back, I’ll probably order the soup and 4-pierogie combo.

Just out of curiosity, we ordered some dessert pierogies to take home. I doubt these are traditional, but with nut, poppy seed, and vanilla-cheese filling on offer, we had to try them.

Dessert pierogies

Dessert pierogies

Piotrowski – Brötchenstube is only open on weekdays from 9-3, so it is a lunch-only restaurant. They do offer an extensive takeout/catering menu, however, with many additional kinds of pierogies, from asparagus to lox.  I plan to order a box to take home and fry in butter for dinner very soon!

Piotrowski – Brötchenstube
Schwertgasse 2
1010 Wien
01/535 85 58
www.piotrowski-broetchenstube.at
Open Monday-Friday 9 AM-3 PM