Conventional yet innovative, bustling yet livable, Vienna is very different from other capital cities around Europe. Loyal to it’s traditions but open for the new this fantastic city can always surprise. Travelers who venture beyond the obvious will be left with colorful memories and a good dose of inspiration. I’ve put on my walking shoes on a Saturday morning and checked for myself what all the sidetracks hide.
What is a better way to start your day than in a charming, old Viennese coffeehouse? Café Jelinek (Otto-Bauer-Gasse 5) with its smooth and creamy coffee and a wide range of breakfast selection gets even the pickiest ones to eat it up to the last crumbs. Go for the Jelinek breakfast with delicious cheese and cold cuts, crispy bread, freshly squeezed orange juice and a big mug of frothy coffee.
Near the cafeteria I’ve spotted a small concept store with funny and vibrant design items for the home and for the soul. Globetrotters will love the ‘travel journal’ with all its pockets to keep tickets, leaflets, maps or anything inside. The scratch map is a cool way to show off your completed journeys by scratching off the country where you’ve already been. Cooking enthusiasts can color up their meals with face-shaped egg fry forms from the Répertoire design shop (Otto-Bauer-Gasse 9)
Want to get a shoe made? A suit tailored? Or a cool hand-crafted glass frame? A bunch of specialist shops are scattered outside the tourist tracks offering strictly the highest level of workmanship. If the side streets of Vienna could talk… entering the craftsmen’s spheres feels like a historical journey back in time. Compared to today’s fast-paced conveyor-belt like stores and services here you won’t meet traders and salesmen. Instead you find detail-driven experts with a good amount of passion and experience. If you are crazy about eyewear and want to get some unique stuff, pay a visit to Optiker Längle (Neubaugasse 21). Even for the charismatic shop interior it’s worth a stopover.
A little India in the middle of Austria? With the calming scents of Ayurveda oils and balms Sonnentag Kerala Ayurveda shop (Neubaugasse 62/7) stands out from its neighborhood. But didn’t I just say that Vienna always surprises? Take home a good tea and a herbal oil, your body will thank you for it at the end of the day.
Aromatic scents and tranquility in the heart of Vienna – Sonnentag Kerala Ayurveda shop
Around midday I decided to venture into art. It proved to be a wise choice to kick it off at Artbits (Lindengasse 28) in the seventh district. The digital art studio is home to contemporary displays of installations, print works, photography and graphic designs with monthly changing exhibitions of well-known and upcoming artists. The jaw-dropping, very urban photo exhibition of Lukas Ilgner is running until 29th March. To raise awareness of the big-city phenomenon, the artist went up to homeless people in the streets and chatted with them to understand the dark side of life. Then he set up his camera and started taking those shots, that speak a thousand words. The show around the people excluded by society turned passersby’s heads towards them that already credited as a first step of drawing attention to the subject. The bright exhibition space and the know-how of the folks operating the gallery make the experience one of a kind.
Shelter by Lukas Ilgner
Staying with digital art, with its unique silk-screen printed material and upcycled, eco-friendly garments and accessories Printa Design Shop and Gallery (Lindengasse 22) has already been featured in journeyfiles when we were walking around Budapest – Design, vintage, art and wine – Budapest sidestreet walks. The Viennese shop is the sister studio, presenting serigraphs from upcoming Austrian and international artists and is a great source of unconventional gifts.
Contemporary serigraphs – Printa Vienna
That was already quite a bit of a walk. Now I’m gonna look out to grab something for lunch!