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Irish Austrian Society visit to Vienna April 2015

posted Aug 9, 2015, 4:21 AM by Reinhard Schoeller   [ updated Aug 9, 2015, 4:21 AM ]
by Peta Taaffe

Early on Sunday morning, seven of us met up with Ulli Schoeller at Dublin Airport to set out on our very memorable visit to Vienna. Having booked into our comfortable and centrally-situated hotel, we had lunch and met Walter Hagg, the previous  Austrian Ambassador to Ireland, who is now retired. It was so good to see him again, and he took us around the area near the hotel, explaining some of the history and culture.  Then we went to the Belvedere Museum, where the highlight was the collection of paintings by Gustav Klimt. I must say I prefer his landscapes to his figures, but there are enough to satisfy all tastes.

The evening finished at a Heuriger out at Grinzing, where Aglae Hagg joined us, and we met Paul Dubsky’s sister and the President of the Austro-Irish Society, Margit Exel.  It was a lovely evening and we enjoyed wine, music and food in the garden.

During the next three days we had a feast of sight-seeing ; Schoenbrunn Palace, where  we walked to the Gloriette, a city tour, including the Stephansdom, and a visit to Mayerling, scene of the tragedy  involving Crown Prince Rudolph and Maria Vetsera.  One of the highlights of the trip was our visit to the Staatsoper: in fact we went twice, for a tour of the building – fascinating – and to a performance of “The Italian Girl in Algiers”, by Rossini, which was wonderful.

A boat ride on the Danube took us to Melk, where we visited the wonderful baroque Benedictine Abbey, and were there for the monks’ midday office. One afternoon we visited Baden, which was when we had the only rain of the whole trip, but it didn’t spoil things.  We also had the all-important time for a bit of shopping: the Gerry Weber store benefitted, among others. No visit to Vienna would be complete without enjoying a cup of excellent coffee in one of the famous coffee houses, which we duly did.

In all it was a wonderful experience, even for people who had been to Vienna before.  Ulli deserves great praise for the idea, the organisation, the hotel, where the food was really good, and the smooth running of the expedition.  My one regret was that a few more members didn’t take advantage of the opportunity to enjoy Vienna in such a unique way.

For more pictures of this trip please visit the IAS Facebook Albums