14 Things to do in Vienna

14 Things to do in Vienna

The best of Austria!

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A breathtaking country and a beautiful city, there is so much to see and do, “here are a few of my favorite things" (Only Sound of Music Fans will appreciate that one). I starred my absolute MUST DO recommendations, and if Austria isn't on your bucket list yet, it should be.

1. St. Stephen's Cathedral*

Shea Ward

This gorgeous cathedral church was founded in the 12th century. The exterior and interior of the church are absolutely beautiful and admission is free. The church has many additional features for a price, but the two things I recommend doing would be the Catacombs tour and taking the elevator up to the North tower for one of the best views of the city.

2. Mozart’s Apartment

Take a stroll down Domgasse 5 to see Mozart's apartment. The apartment now serves as a Museum that you can purchase tickets to tour.

3. Hofsburg Imperial Palace

Shea Ward

In the heart of Vienna. Served as The Habsburg dynasties winter palace until 1918. Today the palace is used by the democratic Republic of Austria. The historical Imperial Apartments of past Emperor Franz Joseph and his wife, Elizabeth (Sissi) are available to tour.

4. Schmetterlinghaus (Butterfly House) 

The Imperial Butterfly house (part of the Hofsburg Royal Palace) in the center of the city. 400 colorful free-flying butterflies in a beautiful Art Noveau palm house.

5. Spanish Riding School*

Spanish Riding School

Located at the Hofsburg palace. Only institution in the world that has practiced for more than 450 years, continuing to cultivate classical equitation in the Renaissance tradition. Can purchase tickets to see the Lipizzaner Stallion performance or a cheaper alternative is to watch a morning practice session. UNESCO intangible cultural heritage site. A highly sought after opportunity- so book tickets way in advance.

6. Belvedere Palace

A beautiful Baroque palace used by Prince Eugene of Savoy as a summer residence. Until possession was transferred to Maria Theresa and Franz Joseph and it became an official museum.

7. Schönbrunn Palace**

Shea Ward

The Hapsburg dynasty’s summer palace. Highly recommend doing the Grand tour. Easily an all day experience. The palace and grounds are breathtaking and there is a ton you can see and do including the Zoo, Children's imperial museum, Privy garden, maze and labyrinth, Gloriette with panoramic views of Vienna, etc.

8. Schönbrunn Zoo*

Home to over 700 species of animals from the tropics to the arctic. A UNESCO World Cultural Heritage site. The best Zoo in Europe and an activity that excites both young and old visitors.

9. Vienna State Opera House

Shea Ward

Gorgeous theater and breathtaking building. Worth walking by and briefly admiring or if you’re interested you can look into seeing an Opera performance one evening.

10. Danube Canal

Take a walk down the Danube canal, you can book boat tours/excursions but they sell out constantly so make sure you book in advance!

11. Grinzing wineries

Shea Ward

Want to escape the crowds of tourists and hangout with the locals? Grinzing wine gardens are the perfect place for that. Walk down the village and choose a cute courtyard area. They all serve their specialty wines, can get light cold cuts and food. No coffee, literally just wine!! You could always wine garden hop too, if you're really feeling it. Enjoy :-)

12. Wiener Wurstl Stand 

You can't get a complete Austrian experience without eating from one of the countless Weiner Wurstl stands- it's affordable, authentic, and Austrian!

13. Gerstner K. u. K. Hoflieferanten

Shea Ward

Oh how Austrians love their coffee and cake. This is THE BEST place to get tortes (cake) and dessert. My other favorite places in Vienna are Cafe Aida, and Cafe Central (best apple strudel).

14. Take a day trip to Salzburg**

Shea Ward

You can take a train easily from Vienna to Salzburg (2 hours) and spend the day in this gorgeous authentic city. There is so much to do, I personally LOVED the Sound of Music tour (4 hours) and you can cover a lot more ground this way, especially if you're only going for a day. There's Fortress Hohensalzburg for one of the best views. Can see Mozart's birthplace, visit St. Peter's Abbey, the Salzburg cathedral, Schloss Hellbrunn Palace, etc.

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Top 50 Things You'll Hear A Southern Say

Y'all.
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For those of you who may need a little help understanding the slang of a southern, I made a list of the top 50 phrases and sayings, along with their translations.

1. Bless your heart.

My favorite saying. It is an empathetic phrase that is usually uttered when the speaker believes the recipient to be sweet, but misguided or stupid. It can also be used if the speaker believes the recipient needs to grow up and deal with it, when the speaker says it in a sarcastic tone.

2. Barking up the wrong tree.

Means being misguided or mistaken.

3. Aren't you precious?

Mostly this saying is used in a sarcastic tone in response to someone being offensive.

4. Britches.

Pants or underpants.

An example would be, "Your britches are too short, you can't wear those".

5. Coke.

Regardless if it's Dr. Pepper, Coca-Cola, or another carbonated beverage, it's called Coke here in the South.

6. Fixin' to.

Simply means that you are about to do something.

7. Get the short end of the stick.

This phrase means that you basically got an unfair deal or cheated out of something.

8. Give Me Some Sugar.

Simply means give me a kiss.

9. Hissy Fit.

A hissy fit is a grown-up version of a temper tantrum that is as bad as one that a toddler would throw.

10. Hold Your Horses.

Be patient.

11. Holler.

When you say "holler" you are basically letting the other person know something.

Example: Holler at me when you are ready to get something to eat.

12. If the creek don't rise.

This saying simply means that if nothing bad happens, everything will go as planned.

13. You're as slow as molasses in the wintertime.

This phrase means that you are being EXTRA slow.

14. Muddin'.

Off-road four-wheeler riding with the intentions of getting mud everywhere and possibly losing control.

15. Skat Cat.

A phrase that can be used instead of saying "God bless you" when you sneeze.

16. There's Not A Pot Too Crooked That A Lid Won't Fit.

There is someone for everyone.

17. Pitcher.

We mostly mean a plastic container that holds sweet tea, not the position of a guy on the baseball team.

18. Reckon.

When you say "I reckon", you believe that something is true.

19. Hoot With The Owls, Soar With The Eagles.

This simple phrase means that if you are going to stay up all night, you should be able to get early in the morning.

20. Too Big For Your Britches.

Simply means that you take yourself too seriously.

21. Stompin' Grounds.

Your hometown or where you grew up.

22. Back In The Day.

Back in the day could be a month ago, a year ago, or 20 years ago.

23. You're A Spitting Image Of (Insert Family Member).

Yes, I know I'm a spitting image of my mother. "Spitting image" simply means that you look just like someone.

24. "Darlin, Sugar, Sweetheart"

These words are simply terms of endearment.

25. Buggy.

A buggy is a cart/basket at the grocery store.

Example: Who wants to push the buggy?

26. Quit Crying Or I Will Give You Something To Cry About.

This phrase simply means to quit crying and if you didn't then more than likely you got a spanking,

27. Where You Raised In A Barn?

If you are from the South, you have probably been asked this more than once, especially when you left a door open.

28. Close The Door. You Are Letting All The Good Air Out.

This southern heat is nothing to play with. It simply means to keep the door closed so the air (or heat if its winter) stays inside.

29. You Are Going To Make Me Lose My Religion.

When you say this phrase to someone, it more than likely means that person has done something to irritate you or made you mad. Thank goodness Jesus saves.

Example: You are going to make me lose my religion.

30. You Look Like A Chicken With Your Head Cut Off.

This is said when you are running around like a crazy person. It can be said if you are looking for something that you are searching for or if you are just really busy.

31. Y'all.

The southern way to say "you all".

32. You Can't Carry A Tune In A Bucket.

If you've ever been told this, it means that you can't sing.

33. Have Their Feathers Ruffled.

You normally have your "feathers ruffled" when you are pouting.

34. Two Peas In A Pod.

When you and someone else are "two peas in a pod", it means that either you almost always together or that you two are almost identical in the way you think and do things.

35. Well Butter My Butt And Call Me A Biscuit.

This saying can be used when you are surprised or excited.

36. Don't Let The Door Hit Ya Where The Good Lord Split Ya.

When someone say this they typically mean to get out and don't let the door hit you on the way out.

37. You're As Good As Gold.

When you are "as good as gold", it means that you are well-behaved and obedient.

38. It's Raining Cats And Dogs Out There.

This simply means that the rain is really coming down hard. It's not actually raining cats and dogs, people.

39. I'm Full As A Tick.

This phrase means that you ate too much food.

40. I'm Sweating More Than A Sinner In Church.

When someone says this, it means that they are really hot and sweating A LOT.

41. Pot Calling The Kettle Black.

This phrase is used when one person is guilty of the very same thing of which they accuse another person.

42. There's More Than One Way To Skin A Cat.

It means that there is anyways more than one way to fix something.

43. Shut Yo' Mouth.

Means to be quiet or hush up.

44. Whatever Floats Your Boat.

This saying means to do whatever you want to do.

45. Slap Yo' Momma.

This phrase means that something is good.

Example: This BBQ is slap yo' momma good.

46. She's Like A Bull In A China Shop.

When you tell someone this phrase, you are telling them that they are clumsy or careless in the way that they move.

47. Cuttin' A Rug.

Cuttin' a rug is used to describe dancing.

Example: Let's go cut a rug tonight.

48. Clicker.

A clicker is another name for a TV remote.

49. Slow Your Roll.

This also means to be patient.

50. You're A Hot Mess.

When you tell someone that they are a "hot mess", you are simply telling them that they don't have it together.

Cover Image Credit: silhouetteamerica.com

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A Tour Around The World Through Embassies

A Washington, DC tradition brought to light

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Every springtime in the city of glory- select embassies open their doors for a few hours. The first batch was "around the world" which was all of the embassies that were not European. The second batch was harder- it was only European Embassies. The European Embassies are spread out from the rest of the city, it would have been a two hour walk from Capitol Hill and an hour walk between each cluster. As the embassies were only open from 10am-4pm I became a strategist and tried to visit as many as possible.


Here is where this delightful journey begins.

Argentina

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My first stop was Argentina. I walked all the way to "Argentina" from Capitol Hill. The wait was long but Argentina preformed beautifully. The hallways and staircases were shaped in beautiful circular patterns. The diplomats especially made sure to keep the young children engaged with stories from Argentina's history. Argentina's staff preformed folk music for us, and one of their embassy staff members of course had to sing Don't Cry for Me Argentina. I ate wonderful little croissants as well.

Peru

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Another South American treat! I got to see a chicano artist I met the previous night at the Library of Congress! They of course had many alpaca made things, and alpacas as well as llamas held a promenant position all over this embassy.

Trinidad and Tobago

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Lots of music and traditional bands outside for everybody to enjoy! They even paraded down the street!

Philippines

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Lots of dancing and beautiful music performances I saw outside, it was fun to watch. Their music was great as well!

Uzbekistan

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Their building was beautiful with elaborate woodwork and architecture. They had many rugs and artwork on display, it was cool seeing their traditional outfits as well!

Bolivia

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ahh a special one. They were closed by the time I walked all the way to their embassy, but their staff let me in anyway and gave me empanadas and something cool to drink. Thank you Bolivia for giving me such fine hospitality!

Poland

and the following week was all of the European Embassies. Poland had free food, and their employees were very patient with my practicing Polish. The pierogi were wonderful, and their kielbasa as well. Since Poland is one of the leaders in the STEM field they had little robots around the embassy and talked about their scientific advancements.

Lithuania

The wait for Lithuania was shorter than Poland. I finally got a chance to eat the famed Lithuanian cheese! I also saw a pink drink I didn't drink. Lithuania also had an IPhone quiz on how well do you know Lithuania- I would have gotten it all right if my finger didn't slip! Middle School kids won though so that was fun to watch ;)

Spain

This was my favorite embassy! They had cannons and soldiers outside, but we couldn't figure out what was going on until we entered. Their building had beautiful mosaics all over the walls, and finally I made it outside. The troops were actors portraying Galvez on the frontier during the American Revolution. I had a great time talking to Gen. Galvez about my ideas of liberty, equality and independence. The actor playing Galvez was perfectly in character (and I remarked I know him from the cartoon Liberty's Kids) Galvez said that he supports the independence of the British Colonies in hopes to bring down the British Empire, and I told Galvez I should bring these ideas to Spanish South America. The actor then inquired as to whether I have been getting coffee with "that Venezuelan Francisco de Miranda" and I remarked I grab coffee with him all the time, and I read Montesquieu, Rousseau and Voltaire in the original French in the coffeehouses (I really do! in real life also!) and he was impressed and invited me to drink from his ram's horn. I talked with Galvez and one of his generals in French (the actors knew French also!) and had to depart for the French and German Embassies. They were wonderful and deserve an EMMY award. I think it would be great if next year every embassy did that, I saw how especially the kids and families enjoyed this hands on history experience. Gracias Espagne!

Germany/France

I'm putting these together because France and Germany hosted theirs at the same place. It took an hour to get a bus to that location, and 30 minutes of walking through terrain where the sidewalk ended. Finally my eyes beheld the German Embassy! I loved how both French and German were spoken, and how they emphasized multiculturalism. The cheeses were wonderful!

Sweden

Ahhh my last stop! Sweden was mainly closing up when I got there with a German girl I just met, but we did however enjoy the candies they had left over and the wonderful hospitality.

Thank you from the depths of my heart to all of the embassies and employees who put time into this annual festival of the embassies. I enjoyed every experience, and you each offered a very special glimpse into your country. See you next year!

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