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Travel
May 26, 2011

Under an Austrian Sun

From art and architecture to blissfully unwinding in the heart of the city… Verve picks out the top things for a lazy day out in the vibrant Austrian capital…

Wine and dine
As famous as the big wheel, Schönbrunn Palace or the Lipizzaner, the Viennese heurige or wine taverns are known for their hospitality and serenity. A perfect site for lazy afternoon brunches while basking under the not-so-hot sun, these provide entertainment, fine Viennese wines and fitting culinary accompaniments. Easily identified by a bunch of pine branches and Ausg’steckt written on a board outside, they also sell fine wines in bouteillen (0.75 litre bottles). And with a tad extra luck you might hear live music floating in from some secluded garden or homely parlour around while you relax with your glass of poison. Heavenly, didn’t we tell you!

Art smart
Art is to Vienna what Amitabh Bachchan is to Bollywood lovers. One just can’t get enough. Clearly designs of the past have inspired architects of today and the harmony between old and new is visibly apparent in the skyline of Vienna. For the exclusive arteratis looking for something unusual, the works of Gustav Klimt, a co-founder of the Secessionist Movement, are on permanent display at some leading cultural institutions. Albertina – a centre of research into Gustav Klimt’s drawings – will be showing most of the 170 works by the artist in its collection, providing an excellent cross-section of his oeuvre during every stage of his career. Apart from that, the much famed waxworks, Madame Tussauds, will be opening its eleventh international branch on Riesenradplatz in Vienna. For history lovers there is a selection of 65 life-like waxworks on display at the 1,500 square metre museum.

www.albertina.at
www.madametussauds.com/wien

The art of doing nothing
Sit back and relax in one of the many sidewalk cafes or schanigärten, the temporary outdoor locations which are havens for lazing around. No surprise, locals and visitors make a beeline for these in the summers when the sun is out and shining bright. Schanigärten are set up on public spaces like squares, pedestrian zones or sidewalks and are close to catering premises with sufficient space for passers-by. Between March and November there are more than enough sidewalk cafés to choose from, all depending on the weather of course. So sip your latte, have a hearty Viennese meal or just lounge around as you watch the world go by.

Musical nights
Give pub hopping a break and soak into the intellectual mood by sampling some classic opera. The Vienna State Opera is respected for its exceptional acoustics. There are performances almost 300 nights a year where top national and international performers, directors and stage designers present their artistry before the very diligent and critical Viennese audience. New premieres, from Baroque to contemporary, are regularly performed. Come summer and the Vienna Opera Ball is easily the most opulent sight to witness here. Held every year on the Thursday before Ash Wednesday, the ball is a spectacle to behold, with over one hundred debutant couples opening the event in their dazzling tiaras and rustling gowns or tails. The entire dance floor comes alive with the rhythm as couples, all in synchronised movement, make for an everlasting memory for years to come.

www.wiener-staatsoper.at

High on fashion
Just like its music, there is a specific note to shopping in Vienna. Fashionistas can while away hours at the countless jewellery, antique and art stores and designer boutiques at the numerous shopping streets and pedestrian zones. Between flagship stores and shopping palaces, there are many things that will keep your shopping trolley occupied. And what’s more, even the fashion-conscious gentlemen have loads to pick up instead of just ‘hanging around’ with the ladies. Bespoke men’s shopping tours are a unique highlight in Vienna. The Adolf Loos-designed building at Graben 13 is one of Vienna’s most sought-after addresses and home to gentlemen’s outfitters Knize & Comp. Putting style before passing fads, the skilled tailors are known for hand cut made-to-measure tails, jackets, tuxedos, suits, blazers and strollers. For men who like to explore, another time-honoured Viennese institution, Rudolf Scheer & Söhne, is just around the corner. More recent additions to the Vienna fashion scene are the stops on the Pour l’homme shopping tour. This three-hour tour, staged by the Shop Owners Association, shows dedicated followers of men’s fashion where to find individualistic outfits.

www.knize.at
www.scheer.at

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