That was the trip „Vienna for Connoisseurs“ 2015
Bridge Holiday to Vienna
August 23-29, 2015
Vienna – City of Art, Culture and History
From small settlement to seat of an empire
The history of Vienna began 4,000 years ago. The earliest human settlement in the area, situated between the Danube River, the Pannonian Basin and the Vienna Woods, grew gradually into a major trading center with a strategic position at the heart of Europe. Numerous archaeological finds provide evidence of a settlement in the area as early as the Bronze Age, and by 15 BC the Romans arrived, setting up a camp called Vindobona, and the area first surfaced in written history.
In the early Middle Ages, the remains of the Roman camp walls were integrated into the new city walls and archeological finds provide evidence of a brisk trade in the area. During the Migration Period, Lombards, Slavs, Avars, Bavarians, Franconians and Hungarians settled in and around Vienna.
In the 11th century, Vienna was first mentioned as “civitas.” In 1156 Ostarrichi was elevated to a duchy and Vienna became the seat of the Babenberg dukes. Vienna received its town charter in 1221 and the long reign of the Habsburgs in Austria began in 1278. The founding of the University of Vienna and the construction of the nave of St. Stephen’s Cathedral brought Vienna to its first peak in the 14th century under Rudolf the ‘Stifter.’ Then in 1588, Ferdinand of Habsburg was crowned Holy Roman Emperor and Vienna became the capital of the Holy Roman Empire.
The changing face of the city
From the First Turkish Siege (1529) through the horrors of The Thirty Years’ War (1618-1648) to the Second Turkish Siege (1683), the city was expanded into a fortress. The re-building that followed, along with new constructions by two famous architects, Johann Bernhard Fischer von Erlach and Johann Lukas von Hildebrandt, turned Vienna into a largely Baroque city.
After the plague epidemic at the end of the 17th century the city grew steadily and the population increased to 200,000.
Vienna was twice occupied by Napoleon’s troops, in 1805 and 1809. After defeating the French, the Congress of Vienna was held to reorganize the political situation in Europe.
The center of cultural developments
The desire of the Viennese citizens for political participation was brutally suppressed in the period before and during the Revolution of 1848. So a frustrated but economically well-off society retreated into private spheres, thus allowing for various cultural and artistic advances. Today pieces from the Biedermeier period – such as furniture, pictures, dishes, silver and decorative objects – are now coveted collectibles.
The “Gründerzeit” period in the second half of the 19th century brought many changes to the city: stately palaces were built along the Ringstraße Boulevard and Vienna hosted the 1873 World’s Exhibition in the Prater amusement park, which is still a popular funfair today. Furthermore, major infrastructure developments – including the regulation of the Danube River and construction of the metropolitan railway system of Vienna – as well as a large expansion of the city incorporating the suburbs of Vienna, changed the landscape of the city significantly.
At the turn of the 20th century, Vienna’s rich cultural and social life of artists, intellectuals and scientists made it the center of the Art Nouveau movement, and distinguished artists and designers such as Otto Wagner, Gustav Klimt, Egon Schiele and Joseph Hoffmann were associated with the city.
The end of the monarchy
From a population of one million inhabitants in 1900, the city’s residents swelled to two million in 1916 due to the massive influx of refugees from Galicia (now Poland) after WWI. The capital of the Austrian-Hungarian monarchy was not directly threatened during the war, but people were in great need due to a lack of supplies.
The end of WWI also meant the end of the monarchy. The Habsburgs abdicated the throne, Austria was proclaimed a republic and a general right to vote was introduced. The former empire had lost vast, economically important territories and the chances of survival for the new republic were considered low due to the immense reparations that had to be made after losing the war.
In 1920 Vienna was declared a province of its own and experienced a considerable upswing under social democratic mayors („Red Vienna“) with improvements in housing, sanitation and social welfare.
Vienna under Nazi Germany
In March 1938, Nazi troops marched into Vienna and Austria was annexed to Hitler Germany. The pogroms in November 1938 led to the robbery, deportation and assassination of Vienna’s Jewish population. Some 120,000 people – about a third of the city’s Jewish population – managed to escape abroad, but the remaining were murdered in concentration camps and their homes, property and art treasures were seized by the Nazis.
Allied bombing began in 1944 and destroyed one fifth of the city. The Red Army marched into Vienna in April 1945 and the end of WWII marked the start of a ten-year occupation period. As in the rest of the country, Vienna was divided into four Allied zones (American, British, French and Russian) and reconstruction began to re-build demolished bridges, train stations, industrial facilities as well as public and private buildings.
Home for international organizations
Allied forces withdrew in 1955 and the Second Republic was proclaimed and future neutrality and non-alignment were established. Vienna used this opportunity to establish itself as a venue for international meetings, a negotiating partner in political conflicts and as the official seat of international organizations such as the UN, IAEA, UNHCR, OSCE and OPEC.
UNESCO declared Vienna’s city center a World Heritage Site in 1993. In recent decades, Vienna has developed into a city with the highest quality of life in the world and has earned a reputation as a center of contemporary and historical art and culture.
Much to discover around every corner
In addition to the world-famous sights such as St. Stephen’s Cathedral, St. Charles’s Church, St. Peter’s Church, Schönbrunn Palace, the Spanish Riding School, National Library, Opera, Ferris wheel, treasury, Capuchin Crypt, Hofburg, Art and Natural History Museum and Museum of Applied Arts, you will find countless hidden treasures in Vienna.
A stroll through the inner city offers new highlights at every turn such as old palaces, churches, coffee houses, monuments to famous composers – such as Mozart, Strauss and Schubert – parks with magnificent flower arrangements, as well as boulevards hosting the trendy fashion hot spots.
Vienna is indeed worth a visit!
Meet Your Tour Guides
Doris Fischer was born in Vienna, studied German and history and has taught at a secondary school for students aged 10 to 18. For the 2014/15 school year she has taken a sabbatical leave.
Her hobbies and interests include literature, history, politics, theater, cooking, board games, travel, gathering wild mushrooms, cozy evenings with friends – and of course bridge.
She has been playing bridge since 1985, and became a member of the Austrian Women’s National Team in 1988. She is a board member of the Austrian Bridge Federation and served as its president in 2006. Together with other top players, Doris supervises the Austrian Juniors Team. In addition, she has organized several seminars for experienced bridge players.
Among her greatest bridge successes:
1991: European champion in Killarney, Ireland
1991: Vice world champion in Yokohama, Japan
1992: Olympic champion in Salsomaggiore, Italy
1996: Gold medal winner at the European Championships in Ostend, Belgium
1998: World champion in Lille, France
1999: Vice European champion in Malta
2000: Bronze medalist in the Mixed Team Championships in Maastricht, Netherlands
In 2003, Doris began her bridge partnership with Bernd Saurer:
2004: Winners of the Hecht Cup in Copenhagen, Denmark
2004: Winners of the team tournament in Biarritz, France
2003, 2005, 2007, 2008: Winners of the team tournament in Loiben, Austria
2009: Winners of the pair tournament in Deauville, France
2010, 2011, 2013: Austrian Pair Masters
Margit Schwarz was born in Vienna, studied mathematics and geography and teaches at a secondary school for students aged 10 to 18.
Her hobbies include cycling, skiing, reading, visiting cafés with friends, board games – and of course bridge.
She has played bridge since 1999, and has been a board member of the Austrian Bridge Federation since 2001. She is a Youth Coach, introducing students to the game of bridge. As a certified bridge instructor she teaches the youngest players and has created a variety of teaching materials such as Mini Bridge Scripts and brochures such as Bidding for Kids. She regularly accompanies students to foreign bridge events.
Margit has organized the Austrian Student and Junior Championship for many years, as well as the Danube Cup for bridge newcomers. In addition, she manages a popular student camp in Austria. In July 2015 she will hold a seminar for teachers in Linz to prepare them to hold introductory courses in Mini Bridge at their schools.
Doris Fischer and Margit Schwarz have been friends for many years and have worked together on several projects for the Austrian Bridge Federation. Earlier this year, the idea came to them to develop a trip for foreign bridge players and their companions, showing the cultural and culinary delights of their hometown in addition to the fun of playing bridge.
They created Black Fish Bridge and are developing a second project under this name: a seminar for ambitious bridge players to be held at Feistritz Castle in Lower Austria in June 2015.
Vienna for Connoisseurs – Your Hotel
At the 4-star boutique hotel ‘Altstadt Vienna’ hospitality is more than just a word, it’s a philosophy – as demonstrated by the pages and pages of positive entries in the guestbook.
Located just five minutes from the Museum Quarter and ten minutes from the Ringstraße Boulevard, the hotel is in the middle of the Spittelberg cultural scene in the 7th district of Vienna and yet surprisingly quiet.
The ‘Altstadt Vienna’ offers a unique blend of classic and modern. The hotel’s art collection is impressive, and throughout the house you will find pieces by Andy Warhal, Gottfried Helnwein, Annie Leibovitz and Niki de Saint Phalle, among others. The ornate moldings on the ceiling are reminiscent of the charm of days gone by, however free W-LAN is available throughout the building.
Each ‘classic’ double room (20-25 m²) is individually decorated and equipped with air conditioning, king-sized bed, sitting area, desk, private bathroom (with shower or bath and toiletries from L’Occitane), slippers, flat-screen cable TV, direct-dial telephone, minibar, safe and hairdryer.
The hotel also features double rooms designed by Matteo Thun (21-26 m²) with a glass bathroom, junior suites (40 m²) with a spacious living room and Illy espresso machine as well as suites (50-70 m²) with a spacious living room, Illy espresso machine and views over the rooftops of Vienna.
All rooms are non-smoking rooms; there is a smoking section in the salon.
The breakfast buffet – featuring organic and delicious regional specialties – is served in the salon. In the same room you will be invited for tea and cakes from 4:00 – 6:00 pm or to enjoy a glass of wine by the fireplace in the evening.
An energetic team is ready to provide for your well-being around the clock and will make you feel especially welcome as a guest.
Vienna for Connoisseurs – What We Offer:
- Accommodations in an upscale, casual and slightly eccentric hotel
- Accommodations near the city center in a hip neighborhood
- Top restaurants and typical Viennese eateries
- Cultural insights and off-the-beaten path attractions
- Guided walking tours of the city
- Personal assistance throughout your stay
- Participation in tournaments at Vienna’s largest bridge clubs
- Time to relax between each program activity
- Round-trip transportation to all activities in a private bus or taxi
- All travel information as well as advice on individual exploration and shopping
- A program that still has much to offer non-players and companions
- A stress-free holiday for connoisseurs who want to spend their time in Vienna with a small group of like-minded travelers in a pleasant atmosphere
Our primary goal is to ensure that you have a good time. We will share with you the best of our hometown and give you insights into the history, art, culture and cuisine of Vienna. We will introduce you to the city’s two largest bridge clubs where you’ll be invited to participate in pair tournaments in the afternoon and a team tournament in the evening. No scheduled activity is mandatory – you can join walking tours later or leave earlier if you like.
We have put together a travel package that will suit your needs and meet your expectations.
Vienna for Connoisseurs – All-inclusive Package from € 2,180:
- Six nights in 4-star boutique hotel ‘Altstadt Vienna’ in a ‘classic’ double room
- Buffet breakfast (featuring organic and delicious regional specialties)
- Tea with homemade cakes from 4:00 – 6:00 pm in the hotel salon
- Free Wi-Fi throughout the hotel
- Tournaments in Vienna’s largest bridge clubs (team and pair)
- Entry fee for the tournaments, bridge hands, personal scores, results lists
- Guaranteed partners
- Prizes for the best place winners in the overall standings
- Bidding challenge
- Entry to all museums and exhibitions
- Guided tours in German and English
- Vintage tram ride, including drinks and tour guide
- Guided walking tour through Vienna’s inner city
- Visit to a traditional Viennese coffee house
- Snacks on the Danube
- Lunch at a sophisticated tavern and the city’s top Asian restaurant
- An evening at a typical Viennese winery under the stars
- Elegant dining in Art Nouveau ambience
- Dinner at the museum
- Award-winning catering at the bridge club
- Top cuisine in Basteigarten restaurant
- Michelin-star cuisine in the historic vaults
- Options for vegetarians and those with food intolerances
- Personal welcome to each tour member at the hotel
- Surprise gift
- Professional and individual attention throughout the journey
- Transportation to all activities in a private bus or taxi
- Garage space arranged for your car
Services that are not included:
- Surcharge for double rooms designed by Matteo Thun / junior suites / suites (€20/40/90 per room and night, prices as of September 2014)
- Single room supplement for ‘classic’ double room / double rooms designed by Matteo Thun / junior suites / suites (€55/65/75/70 per room and night, prices as of September 2014)
- Parking garage (about €25 per day / 24h)
- All drinks at lunch and dinner and at the bridge tournaments (except for vintage tram ride, and visit to Viennese coffee house)
Vienna for Connoisseurs – Itinerary
Arrival at the hotel, welcome, tea time, dinner in an Art Nouveau atmosphere
Guided tour of the Vienna Secession Exhibition Hall, visit to the Naschmarkt, snacks in a traditional Viennese coffee house, bidding challenge (optional), dinner at Basteigarten restaurant
Lunch in an award-winning restaurant in the garden of a city monastery, bridge tournament, dinner at a winery
Part one of a guided walking tour around the sights of Vienna, lunch in a sophisticated tavern, part two of the guided walking tour of the city, finger food from award-winning caterers in the bridge club, team tournament
Lunch on the Danube River with a view of Vienna’s skyline, bridge tournament, dinner at the museum with a visit to the exhibition
Vintage tram ride, lunch at the city’s top Asian fusion restaurant, guided walking tour of the city with special attractions, dinner at a restaurant in the historic vaults
(Schedule subject to minor changes as necessary)
Vienna for Connoisseurs – Important Information
Register by email at firstname.lastname@example.org
email@example.com (+43 676/5443493)
firstname.lastname@example.org (+43 6991/9459411)
Deadline is April 30, 2015.
Once we have received your application we will forward it to our travel partners at HTS-Reisen who will contact you immediately. They will send you a registration form and instructions on paying the € 300 deposit; your deposit will not be returned if you cancel the booking.
Payment of € 2,180 for the entire package must be made by May 25, 2015.
Cancellation after June 1, 2015 will be subject to 100% of the cancellation charges, therefore we recommend that you take out cancellation insurance which HTS-Reisen can assist you to arrange.
As part of the registration confirmation you will receive an offer for insurance from HTS-Reisen. The final decision rests with the booker; the booker confirms agreement of the specific terms of cancellation.
It should be noted that possession of public insurance for health and accident insurance from one country does not guarantee Europe-wide coverage of insurance.
By registering you fully agree to the latest version of the Austrian general travel conditions (ARB1992) and the Annex ‘Extension to the ARB1992 Vienna for Connoisseurs Bridge Holiday’ (see points ‘ARB1992’ and ‘Annex’ on this website).
Vienna for Connoisseurs Bridge Holiday includes program activities that may be difficult for wheelchair users.
The culinary program as part of the all-inclusive package is not suitable for vegans.
Contact & Imprint
Margit Schwarz and Doris Fischer
Isbarygasse 20 A/3
Margit Schwarz +43 699 19459411
Doris Fischer +43 676 5443493
HTS-Reisen Travel Agency
Telephone: +43 1 3198553