Part 2: Vienna and the MQ

Exploring the MuseumsQuartier (MQ) is a great introduction to Vienna. The museum complex offers a mix of art and culture right in the heart of the city. Not only is it home to some of Vienna’s best museums, it also functions as a communal space for outdoor events like the yearly MQ Winter with Djs, Iglu-Bars, light projections and a curling area. In the summer, the MQ comes to life with outdoor bars, music events and the famous “Enzo”-loungers.

There is lots to see and do around the MQ…

Morning:

Start your morning with breakfast at the Café Leopold located above the Leopold museum. The amazing brunch spread is accompanied by a great view of the quarter. In the summer the upper patio area is the best spot to enjoy a cup of coffee and watch the buzzing courtyard. At nighttime the cafe turns into a bar/club, so check the event schedule while you’re enjoying your breakfast.

The morning is the ideal time to check out the city’s museum scene. The monumental buildings of the Natural History and Art History museums across the street host  impressive exhibitions that will keep you captivated all day. The Leopold museum gives a introduction to some of the most renowned Austrian artists: Gustav Klimt, Egon Schiele and Oskar Kokoschka.

The mumok is located in the imposing grey basalt cube in the MQ. This modern art museum hosts contemporary photography, film and video art, installations, sculptures and paintings. Little fun fact: The outside of the building is musical –  knock against the walls and you will hear them resonate.

Mumok Vienna

Photography by Matt Kilburn

Lunchtime:

There is plenty of lunch options in the MQ. My favourite is the well hidden Glacis Beisl which has it’s entrance at Breite Gasse. The “Beisl” hosts a cute glühwein-garden in winter, complete with a little wooden cabin outfitted with blankets to snuggle up. In summer their beer garden is a popular spot to dine.

Burger de Ville Vienna

Photography by Maria Müller

Just a few blocks down from the MQ the 25hours hotel is located. On warm days the airstream trailer “Burger de Ville” offers some of the best burgers and fries in the city. The hotel bar “Dachboden” on the upper floor is a great choice in winter and summer. Enjoy an espresso after lunch overlooking the Parliament.

Afternoon:

Right next to the architecture centre in the museums quarter you will find the Corbaci Café. Under it’s oriental tiled roof dessert specialities like Marillenknödel or Apfelstrudel are served.

Corbaci Vienna

Photography via http://www.austria.info

Right behind the MQ you will find the cobblestoned quarter Spittelberg. It’s galleries and artisan shops make it an ideal place to hunt for little gifts and souvenirs. Speaking of souvenirs- who doesn’t love a retro-selfie? There is an old photo machine right at the MQ point entrance. Be patient, the old machine takes a while to spit out your sepia- portrait.

Dinnertime:

One of Vienna’s best Italian restaurants is just up the street of the quarter, on Burggasse. I Ragazzi is famous for authentic Italian pizzas from the woodburning oven, made with buffalo mozzarella and freshly shaved prosciutto di parma. The pizza “I Terroni” and “Ragazzi” are highly recommended as well as their limoncello. Just saying.

At night:

The Donau Bar (Danube Bar) is an old synagoge transformed into a cool bar with the help of daily changing light projections and Djs. Oh, and there’s a sausage stand located right in the bar. Brilliant. Classic sausage orders are the “Käsekrainer mit Kren” (cheese sausage with horseradish) and “Waldviertler” (smoked sausage). Sausages are usually eaten with mustard, horseradish and a piece of bread. After this snack you should be ready to sleep party.

Later:

If you’re lucky, the Volkstheater hosts a party at their “Rote Bar” next door – nothing says Vienna like partying under a chandelier. Another good party address is the quirky Wirr a few blocks down on Burggasse.

Volkstheater Vienna

Photography via http://www.falter.at

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Microcosm: Community Garden

Being from a small town in Upper Bavaria, the concept of farm to table has been something I was introduced to very early. We would get our milk from the neighbour’s cows and know exactly which field your veggies and meat came from. It was only when I moved to Vienna that I got a taste of how luxurious that lifestyle had been. Instead of researching the best way to get fresh vegetables and meat from a farmer’s market, I went the lazy route and cut down on meat and bought my veggies from the closest supermarket. I had been so used to having fresh, local produce available at all times that it didn’t occur to me that I might have to make an effort to keep eating local.

16 Oaks Community Garden Oak Street

Visiting Vancouver for the first time in September 2012 changed my perception for good. Here was a city that revolved around the “Buy local, Eat local” mantra. There were community run gardens all over the city, bee hives on top of buildings and farmer’s markets every other day. In short: People gave a sh* about what they eat.

Fascinated by the widespread attitude of conscious planting, buying and eating I read the Canadian staple “The 100-Mile diet” and came to think that growing your own food would not only make my urban life healthier and cheaper, it would also bring back the joy of knowing where things grow and when something is in season. And it would taste so much better too.

Creekside Community Centre Garden

Two years later I look back on a summer full of beets, lettuce, carrots, beans, tomatoes, peppers and hundreds of cucumbers (the lemon cucumber was growing to a frightening size).

Our community garden plot is just a block away from our home, meaning that you will be able to enjoy the most lazy shopping experience ever. But it comes at a price: You have to get your hands dirty and water regularly (nice side effect, you will suddenly appreciate living in the ‘Wet City’).

The fun of trading cucumbers with zucchini or dropping bags of produce on all your friends because you can’t possibly eat it all will make up for it though. It will give you a deep sense of satisfaction and gratitude, that you discovered the best of both worlds. The perfect symbiosis of country and city life.

Happy Canadian Thanksgiving!

Kitsilano Farmers Market Heirloom Tomatoes