Subject: Vienna, Budapest, Prague and Salzburg
Hi Ziners,

We just returned home from four glorious vacation weeks in Vienna, Prague, and Budapest (including Hallstatt, Salzburg and Mauthausen).

We would like to share a few recommendations.

In order to avoid smoke and noise, all our meals were outside on the terrace, besides it was warm. Any of our restaurant recommendations had to have an attractive terrace.

Prague: We ate at two wonderful restaurants in Prague. Neither restaurant offered the standard Czech dishes, but both offered superb, modern, lighter cuisine. Neither was inexpensive, but a $20.00 meal at either restaurant was the equivalent of a $60.00 meal back home. Square, Malostranska namesti 5 (Mala Strana Square)about 2 blocks from the Mala Strana end of the Charles Bridge. Patriot-X, V Celnici 3, very near the Republic Square in the old town; almost across the street from the Marriott. We had a marvelous steak here.

Another recommended Prague restaurant, not quite in the class of the two above, but still a fine place to eat with good food, reasonable prices and a large outdoor terrace is Celnice, Namesti Republiky (about 200 yards opposite the Municipal House on Republic Square in the old town).

Budapest: Please do not miss a tour of the Hungary Parliament or a visit to one of Budapest's wonderful thermal baths. For an unforgettable Budapest morning, head for Heroes Square, walk through the city park (about 2 blocks) to the Szechenyi Baths, bring your bathing suit and a towel. Spend 2 - 3 hours in the baths. Don't miss the whirlpool and get a message. After the bath, head for the Bagolyvar Restaurant, (in the park, near the zoo, about 2 blocks from the baths) for an elegant, wonderful lunch on the terrace in the back of the restaurant. What a morning!

Another restaurant recommendations is Liszt Ferenc ter, just off of Andrassy near Oktogon. This is a square with about 6 or 8 outdoor restaurants on both sides of the street, a trendy new haunt in a recently rejuvenated area. The restaurants, more like cafes, feature a lighter cuisine, reasonably priced. We ate on this square 4 times. Our favorite restaurant was the Buena Vista, but there are other good restaurants too. On a nice summer evening there are no tables available at any of the restaurants after 9:00 PM.

Our favorite coffee house in any city was Muvesz, Andrassy ut 29, almost opposite the Budapest Opera House. This cafe has a small but inviting front terrace, wonderful pastries and ice cream, and reasonable prices.

Vienna: We ate at two Heurigers, wine taverns, in Nussdorf, a fun experience. At both we ate in a lovely garden with wooden tables, both had a reasonable priced buffet; you select what and how much you want to eat. The buffet servers were most helpful and spoke English. Getting to the Heuriger is a snap; take the D street car from the inner ring to Nussdorf (the end of the line). Walk around the corner (50 feeet) and there are three authentic Heurigers waiting for you. We ate at the lower one and the upper one; the food was better at the upper one, Steinschaden.

The gelateria in the Hohr Market, across the street from the Anker Clock, where at 12 noon everyday, the clock springs into action, is a wonderful place to have ice cream. Try the large iced cofee - yummmm. In Vienna, not only are the pastries to die for, but the ice cream is excellent.

We found the best prices on museum type items at the Hundertwasserhaus, worth seeing. We bought items at the shop marked Information (Klimt posters 5 and 10 EUR) and the shop at the side of the house (Klimt costers 9 EUR). Avoid the shopping mall opposite the house.

Salzburg: We had a car for our entire trip, and we stayed at a charming hotel, Pension Leonharderhof, just outside of Salzburg in the town of St. Leonhard. The hotel rooms were clean and included a complete ensuite bathroom and a balcony; from our balcony we overlooked the Alps. The hotel was quiet with plenty of free parking. The total cost was 21 EUR per person per night, including an ample breakfast buffet. The very convenient hotel location was 5 minutes from a free park and ride, from where it took the 95 bus 15 minutes to reach the center of the old city.

The owner of the hotel recommended Simmerlwirt, a local restaurant in St. Leonhard, a 5 minute drive away. The Austrian cuisine is very good, and the prices are very reasonable. We enjoyed two dinners in the restaurant courtyard.

We had only 1 1/2 days in Salzburg, but we took a 1 1/2 hour, well narrated, mini-van Panorama tour in the afternoon, and returned the next morning to visit any sights that interested us. Salzburg is very small, and we felt we had enough time there.

We had a marvelous trip, and we would be happy to answer any specific email questions about any of the places we visited.

Bob and Lynn Wolff Walnut Creek, California and Kihei, Maui, Hawaii