No matter how many times I have been to Europe, I always want more of it. The contrast between old and new is so defined, but it is always ever changing and never boring. Most recently it was a new discovery in Central Europe, specifically Dusseldorf, Germany paired with a return visit to elegant, intriguing Vienna, Austria.
We flew Business Class on Air Berlin's first flight of the season LAX non-stop to Dusseldorf. AB is an excellent alternative to the better known carriers with three times a week service, going to four during peak season. Assets included 19 brand new lie flat seats on their modern A330 jets with direct aisle access, attentive service,strong hubs in Dusseldorf, Berlin and Vienna, oneworld membership, long haul personal entertainment,complimentary food and beverages in all classes and very competitive fares. I returned in economy which was fine.
In Dusseldorf, we stayed at the modern Melia Dusseldorf Hotel adjacent to a large urban park. After about a ten minute walk, we were in the heart of downtown with both modern and traditional areas. Many museums, galleries and a long stretch of restaurants called the "longest bar in the world' added to the flavor of this prosperous looking city. It reminded me in some ways of San Diego, of course without the ocean.
A fun evening was had by all at Jum Schlussel Restaurant and Brewery with its own special brew served a unique way. As opposed to Bavaria, their beer was served in small, juice type glasses but refilled as quickly as it was consumed until you put a coaster on top of the glass. Then you were done. With asparagus season underway, the extremely fresh, tender white stems were being served at least 6 different ways. Of course the extensive menu had many other local dishes.
The next morning, after a hardy hotel breakfast, we were off on a short flight to Vienna. Often overlooked, Vienna crosses East and West with a refined elegance and style not seen elsewhere in Europe. Culture is in the DNA here from the days of Mozart and the Opera, Vienna Boys Choir and the equally famous Spanish Riding School are testament to its riches. Unique Schoenbrunn Palace, many museums and galleries, the legendary Viennese Coffeehouse scene and gourmet dishes with a nice strudel for desert made the evening complete. Nightlife takes over from there and there is plenty of it.
Our home was the dynamic new Melia Vienna Hotel, open less than two months. Breaking from tradition, the hotel was in a new 58 story tower, one of the tallest in Europe. It takes several of the lower floors as well as dramatic Restaurant 57 on that level and a uniquely designed indoor/outdoor bar on Floor 58. The sleeping rooms are spacious, well designed and comfortable. The complex is just 10 minutes via subway from The historic State Opera House in District 1.
During our days there, we visited Kunst Haus Wien, a provocative private museum as well as Schoenbrunn Palace. We had lunch at Café Central, an historic Viennese Coffee House with outstanding food and of course coffee. One evening we dined in an historic space researched from the 1100's two basements down from the street. The vaulted ceilings and antique lighting added to the atmosphere of Zwolf Apostel Keller. Of course the Wiener cuisine was suburb.
Our final night we dined at Restaurant 57 with a 5 Star meal fit for royalty with the most tender beef and sides to match. The asparagus celebration continued with even asparagus ice cream, maybe a celebration carried a bit too far.
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