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36hours in vienna.

Far from just a time capsule of imperial palaces and fin-de- siecle flourishes, this multicultural metropolis has long been at the crossroads of cultures

in 2018 vienna is commemorating the centennial of four modernists' passing. Myriad exhibitions will honour the artists Gustav Klimt, Koloman Moser and Egon Schiele, and the architect Otto Wagner, who dared to colour outside the rigid lines of the status quo and dream of a

different future -- a feat that remains relevant today.

But we don't need such anniversary events to remind us of Vienna's rich contributions to the world. Far from just a time capsule of imperial palaces and fin-de-siecle flourishes, this multicultural metropolis of 1.8 million has long been at the

crossroads of cultures, proving that even a place steeped in traditions -- like its famous ball season -- can also be creative and worldly.

Friday 3pm: Rooms with a view Schloss Belvedere often draws comparisons to Versailles

-- no surprise, considering Prince Eugene of Savoy, who commissioned the two Baroque palaces as his summer residence, grew up around the court of Louis XIV.

While the impeccably sculpted grounds and over- the-top interiors are indeed reminiscent of the famous French chateau, the Upper Belvedere houses a proudly Austrian art collection that includes works by Schiele, Moser and Klimt, whose gilded tableau 'The Kiss' mesmerises visitors.

Explore the tiered gardens that lead to the Lower Belvedere, which hosts temporary exhibitions in opulent halls. A combination ticket to both palaces and the adjacent contemporary art pavilion 21er Haus is EUR23, or about $27.10.

5pm: Made in Austria

Boutiques celebrating indie labels from Vienna and beyond have flocked just south of the inner city's historic core. Along Margaretenstrasse you'll find such concept stores as Unikatessen, which mixes up vintage Chanels and Saint Laurents with local lines like Natures of Conflict. Across the street, Samstag champions its own brand, Superated, along with designers like the Vienna-educated and Paris- based jewellery-maker Sawako Ishitani. The elegantly muted Elfenkleid and internationally minded Wolfensson round out the street's fashion offerings. For the less sartorially oriented shoppers, Feinedinge throws a youthful spin on Vienna's proud porcelain heritage with handmade tableware.

8pm: Local bites

After shopping, opt for one of the many non-touristy

dining options on and near Margaretenstrasse. Randale presents a robust line-up of DJs along with interesting pizzas like smoked provolone (EUR12.90). Just as lively is the bar/restaurant Zweitbester that pairs dishes such as goulash (EUR14.90) with art exhibitions and, occasionally, concerts taking place in the bathroom. Popular among students is Vollpension, a self- proclaimed 'intergenerational cafe' of mismatched furniture and simple fare like wurst salad (EUR6.20). Or, for

homey comfort, head to the neighbourhood stalwart Silberwirt for its thick pumpkin oil soup (EUR4.60) and free-range beef stewed in onion sauce (EUR16.80).

Saturday 8am: Garden of good and evil Open to the public since 1775, Augarten is the city's communal backyard, where leafy paths take you past girls in hijabs playing soccer and Hasidic men on bicycles. Home of the Vienna Boys'

Choir and Europe's second longest-running porcelain manufacturer, this 129-acre park also harbours two Nazi- built flak towers that stand as a reminder of one of the city's darkest chapters.

10am: Eat your vegetables

The unpretentious Karmelitermarkt caters to the city's diverse palate. On Saturday morning, when the food market is at its liveliest, you'll find traditional Austrian sausages alongside kosher cuts; next to old-school

veggie vendors thrive young entrepreneurs like Isabella Lindinger, who sells seasonal jams and chutneys. Drop by the brick-and-mortar store Kaas am Markt for a wide range of regional cheeses and hams before heading out to explore the surrounding area, which is in the process of being transformed with businesses like the homeware and fashion purveyor Der Affe und der BrEnutigam, the vegan-friendly bakery Fett und Zucker, and the bring-your-own-container grocer Lunzers, which bolsters Austria's green cred.

1pm: A sense of wonder

Designated as an Intangible Cultural Heritage by UNESCO, Vienna's many historic coffee houses transport guests to an era when visionaries like Freud mingled over Melange, Vienna's answer to cappuccino. No other Kaffeehaus has perfected anachronism like the three-year-young Supersense. In addition to hosting indie concerts and letterpress workshops, this cafe-cum-store stocks vintage stamp kits and record players.

Quirkier items on sale include a Smell Memory Kit (EUR99) that captures scents in tiny ampules. You can also


print your own LP inside an art nouveau elevator repurposed as a recording studio (EUR15 for 90 seconds). In addition to hand- ground coffee and home-baked strudels, try the 'Schlipfkrapfen', or potato-filled Tyrolean

ravioli (EUR7.50). No worries, Supersense isn't strictly for Luddites: It also offers Wi-Fi.

3pm: It's a big world after all

Squeezed between the imperial splendour of the Hofburg complex and the gleaming museumsquartier, the ethnological World Museum reopened this October after three years of soul-searching and renovation. Eschewing yesteryear's circus-act approach to anthropology, this smart institution displays folkloric items from around the world while interrogating the West's role in championing or stealing artefacts. The exhibition 'World in Motion' questions what objects we preserve in order to chronicle our ever-changing world. Entry EUR12.

7pm: State of the aria

In order to make an entrance at the Vienna State Opera, you

don't need a coveted -- and exorbitantly priced -- ticket to the Opera Ball in February, one of the more than 400 lavish parties making up Vienna's ball season. The Staatsoper's over 300 performances of more than 60 operas and ballets are more approachable than ever, thanks to the free Opera Live Outdoors programme that projects performance in real time on an LED screen on dates around New Year's Eve as well as April through June and in September. If you want to admire the opera house's gasp-inspiring foyers and intricate frescos in person, standing room tickets start at all of EUR3.

10pm: Schnitzel and the city

Few things induce tourist trap anxieties more than ordering off a bilingual menu in the city centre. But tucked around the corner from the chevron-roofed St. Stephen's Cathedral are two restaurants equally beloved

by the local suit-and-tie set. Lugeck serves Austrian classics like schnitzel (EUR20.80) and glazed veal liver (EUR13.90) in a convivial space of enamel tiles, beech dividers and chandeliers

made of beer steins. More chic yet is Labstelle, where ingredients that are responsibly sourced around Austria make their way onto the always- changing menu of dishes like smoked duck with quince mustard (EUR27.90) and spaetzle egg noodles, gooey with Tyrolean gray cheese (EUR14.90).

Sunday 11am: Wine and walk From the tree-lined Ring Road that encircles the inner city, hop on a vintage red- and-white tram to the D line terminus at Nussberg, where vineyards flourish within the Vienna borders. Join the multigenerational families on the hiking path marked 'Stadtwanderweg 1a', which meanders around pretty farmhouses on rolling hills etched with grapevines. Along the way you'll come across a number of wine taverns serving products from their own grapes. The gruffly friendly barback at Heuriger Hirt open year- round, pours grE-ner veltliner and gemischter satz, or a blend of local whites (around EUR2

per glass). Snuggle up with a blanket at an outside picnic table to admire Vienna's skyline that shimmers beyond the Danube.

2pm: All-star cemetery

Halfway between the city centre and the airport, the stunning Central Cemetery brings together an all-star roster of native and adopted musicians, from Beethoven to Brahms, Schubert to rocker Falco. While on your stroll among the graves, some structurally audacious like a cube for the composer Arnold SchE[micro]nberg, by the architect Fritz Wotruba, and others poignantly modest with simple crosses, you'll also come across Jewish sections, a Russian Orthodox chapel and even a Buddhist stupa, resting side

by side.


The posh Grand Ferdinand, abundant in burgundy leather, parquet flooring and offbeat details like a taxidermy horse, offers gorgeous rooftop vistas. Its 188 rooms range between a grand suite of rich tapestries and a Lobmeyr chandelier to what might be the city's -- if not Europe's -- swankiest dorm rooms with mahogany bunk beds and housekeeping services. Rooms from EUR200; dorm beds EUR30 per person.

With a vintage-inspired bar in lieu of reception or concierge, the funky boutique hotel Ruby Lissi lives up to its 'lean luxury' motto, offering uncluttered rooms from EUR77 in the heart of the city, just around the corner from Otto Wagner's striking Postal Savings Bank.

Conveniently located by the State Opera and the transit hub Karlsplatz, Motel One Vienna Staatsoper offers immaculate and efficient digs from EUR79.

86 /may.2018

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Publication:Gulf Business
Date:May 8, 2018
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