Watch how a Carnevale mask is made by one of the last real Venetian artisans

While we were busy getting lost in Venice, we stumbled into a small workshop and studio where a Venetian mask maker was busy working away, crafting some bold and beautiful masks in the traditional way.

We interrupted them and got to know Margarita, one half of the married duo behind Mistero Buffo (www.misterobuffomask.com ). While Venice is flooded with cheap imitation masks made en masse in factories elsewhere, Margarita and her husband are some of the few trained Venetian mask makers left creating theatrical, decorative and Carnevale masks by hand, using traditional techniques and papier mâché.

Margerita told us each mask is unique and never replicated. She also told us that each mask takes several days to produce, due to the many steps involved in the process.

Margerita was kind enough to take a break from her mask making and show us, step by step, how a Venetian mask is made. Check out the video below!

There is no denying that travellers are always on the lookout for gifts and souvenirs to bring home—a certain something that will help to remind them of their exciting trip. However, many travellers can often become caught up in buying cheap knick knacks and gifts from tourist traps. Putting together a list of top souvenirs to bring home from a UK trip can be difficult since there are just so many amazing things that you can shop for. To avoid purchasing something you may only decide to throw away in a few months, we’ve put together a short list of some authentic items that you may wish to consider when travelling to the United Kingdom.

Tea from Whittard and British Tea

If you are visiting the capital of England, London comes with its very own Whittard tea shop—a very popular chain tea shop that sells exquisite teas, both hot and iced. They provide a lovely selection of quality teas from across the globe. From fruit infusions and flowering teas to oolong and flavoured green. Why not sample a few of their teas from their house blends? If you’re not a big tea drinker, they also have a wide selection of coffee and hot chocolate for you to choose from. Not only that, they have incredibly creative flavours such as strawberry, tiramisu, and even salted caramel! If you miss out on shopping in London and are perhaps visiting somewhere further afield, there are plenty of tea shops hidden around most towns and cities. It’s certainly well worth a visit.

Chocolate and Sweets

cadbury chocolate

It’s no secret that the British are absolutely in love with sweets. The British are well-known for making some of the most delicious sweets (candy) and chocolate that is often craved across the globe. The famous British Cadbury chocolate bars taste so much better, compared to the reformulated ones that you can easily find in your local supermarket. Some fantastic favourites to try are Dairy Milk, Wispa and Aero. For travellers coming from the United States of America, the Hershey Company has banned the sale of Cadbury’s chocolate in the US, which means bringing back a bar of Cadbury’s chocolate will certainly be a special treat.

Museum Gifts

museum shop

There are plenty of museums dotted around the UK, but for travellers heading to London, you should take some time out to visit The British Museum and V&A Museum, which offer more than your regular museum souvenir shop. Admission to most museums in London is free, so your budget might be able to accommodate a visit to the museums’ shops. Both museums are known to commission special pieces and gifts for their own lines of accessories, homeware, and jewellery, which are based on their exhibits. Not only are some of the most commissioned artists based in the United Kingdom, but the collections are typically only available for purchase at museums. How’s that for a unique gift?

Vintage Treasures

Vintage pieces

England is a treasure trove of gifts and unique antiques that range from small simple trinkets to extravagant historic artefacts. With so many different shops for you to visit and what seems to be an endless selection of vintage goods for you to choose from, you are bound to discover something that will catch your eye. If you are spending enough time in London, you should definitely focus your treasure hunt on the numerous marketplaces, such as Camden, Brick Lane or the Old Spitalfields Markets.
The weekends, in particular, see markets popping up throughout London. In East London you can easily visit Old Spitalfields Market, Brick Lane Market and Greenwich Market to fill your bags up with authentic vintage gifts.

Union Jack Souvenirs

union jack souvenirs

For travellers visiting London, a short walk along the streets of Central London will unearth a world of ubiquitous souvenir shops selling key chains, hats and t-shirts emblazoned with the Union Jack. You can discover incredibly interesting keepsakes that will certainly commemorate your trip to the UK!
If you are one of those, who start to think about gifts just when you stand at the airport and realise that your trip is nearly over. Union Jack souvenirs are obviously the option for you. As you can easily get literally anything labeled with an Union Jack at any British airport. :)

In Austria the Christmas spirit begins to creep in during November. That’s when the first Christmas markets open. Vienna has an enormous variety of Christmas markets to offer. Actually it seems there’s one Vienna Christmas market around the corner no matter where you are and indeed you don’t have to walk far from one to another in Vienna’s city center. You can either follow the sweet fragrance of chestnut, gingerbread and alcoholic punch or you can ask the receptionists at your wombat’s CITY HOSTEL for directions and recommendations. Normally, Christmas markets are more expensive and touristy the closer they are to Vienna’s main sights, like the city hall or Schönbrunn palace. It’s not necessarily a bad thing if you visit Vienna as a tourist and carry enough cash :).  Those locations also make for really nice photos, with the sites and monuments all lit up and decorated.

The slightly hidden markets, like the one at Spittelberg, are normally populated by locals. Especially at Museumsquartier and Altes AKH you’ll meet students and young locals. It is actually a habit among Austrians to visit a Christmas market to drink some punch (Punsch) or mulled wine (Glühwein) before you go out. In some places you have many different versions of Glühwein or punch, but the main concept is always the same: Hot alcohol (in case of Glühwein, hopefully wine) and spices mixed with more spirits. Looking for inspiration? Here are the most important Christmas markets with directions and opening hours in Vienna:

Vienna Christmas World at the Christmas Market

15 November – 26 December 2019
Su-Th 10.00 am – 9.30 pm, Fr & Sa 10.00 am – 10.00 pm
December 24, 10.00 am – 6.00 pm
December 25+26, 11.00 am – 9.30 pm
Rathausplatz, 1010 Vienna
wienerweihnachtstraum.at

Christmas Village at Maria-Theresien-Platz

20 November – 26 December 2019
Su-Th 11:00 am – 9:00 pm, Fr & Sa 11:00 am – 10:00 pm
24 December 11:00 am – 4:00 pm
25+26 December 11:00 am – 7:00 pm
New Year’s Village 27 December 2019 – 6 January 2020
11:00 am – 7:00 pm, 31 December 11:00 am – 6:00 pm
Maria-Theresien-Platz, 1010 Vienna
www.weihnachtsdorf.at

Christmas Village at Belvedere Palace

22 November – 31 December 2019
Mo-Fr 11:00 am – 9:00 pm,
Sa, Su & hols. 10.00 am – 9.00 pm
24 December 11:00 am – 4 pm
25 + 26 December 11:00 am – 7 pm, 31 December 11.00 am – 6.00 pm
Prinz-Eugen-Strasse 27, 1030 Vienna
www.weihnachtsdorf.at

Christmas Village in the Altes AKH

15 November – 23 December 2019
Mo-We 2.00 pm – 10.00 pm,
Th-Fr 2.00 pm – 11.00 pm
Sa 11.00 am – 11.00 pm, Su 11.00 am – 9.00 pm
Alserstrasse/Spitalgasse, Hof 1, 1090 Vienna
www.weihnachtsdorf.at

Old Viennese Christmas Market

16 November – 23 December 2019
Daily from 10:00 am – 9:00 pm
Freyung, 1010 Vienna
www.altwiener-markt.at

Am Hof Advent Market

15 November – 23 December 2019
Mo-Th 11:00 am – 9:00 pm
Fr-Su & hols. 10:00 am – 9:00 pm, food until 10:00 pm
Am Hof, 1010 Vienna
www.weihnachtsmarkt-hof.at

Christmas Market & New Year’s Market, Schönbrunn Palace

23 November – 26 December 2019
Daily from 10:00 am – 9:00 pm
24 December 10:00 am – 4:00 pm, 25-26 December 10:00 am – 6:00 pm
New Year’s Market 27 December 2019 – 5 January 2020
Daily from 10:00 am – 6:00 pm
Schönbrunn Palace, 1130 Vienna
www.weihnachtsmarkt.co.at

Art Advent – Art & Crafts at Karlsplatz

22 November – 23 December 2019
Daily from 12:00 noon – 8:00 pm, food until 9:00 pm
Karlsplatz, 1010 Vienna
www.artadvent.at

Christmas Market at Spittelberg

14 November – 23 December 2019
Mo-Th 2:00 pm – 9:00 pm, Fr 2:00 pm – 9:30 pm
Sa 10:00 noon – 9:30 pm, Su & hols. 10:00 noon – 9:00 pm
Spittelberggasse, Schrankgasse, Gutenberggasse, 1070 Vienna
www.spittelberg.at

Winter Market at Riesenradplatz

16 November 2019 – 6 January 2020
Mo-Fr 12.00 noon – 10.00 pm
Sa, Su & hols. 11.00 am – 10.00 pm
24 December 10.00 am – 5.00 pm, 31 December 12.00 noon – 2.00 am
Riesenradplatz, 1020 Vienna
www.wintermarkt.at/wintermarkt

Christmas Market at Stephansplatz

15 November – 26 December 2019
Daily from 11:00 am – 9:00 pm
24 December 11:00 am – 4:00 pm, 25-26 December 11:00 am – 7:00 pm
Stephansplatz/towards Churhausgasse, 1010 Vienna
www.weihnachtsdorf.at

 

source: wien.info

If you’re visiting Vienna these days you’ll have to face moody autumn weather. Maybe the best way to escape fog and rain is to take advantage of the Viennale, Austria’s most important Film Festival. As The Guardian once commented on the Viennale: If the prime purpose of a film festival is to open up exciting new vistas and present work one is unlikely to see elsewhere, then Vienna in autumn is the place to be.So you obviously chose the right place to be.

The international Film Festival takes place since 1960 and offers a broad spectrum of artistic movies from around the globe. Many movies are shown in original language (subtitled in german). Commonly it is known for the variety of movies, serving the needs of main stream and more critical minded cineasts. This year, the programme has been restructured and the Vienna Film Festival is showing 300 international films of various genres, from historical to contemporary over mainstream to arthouse cinema.

The Viennale 2019 takes place from October 24th until November 6th. Participating cinemas are Metro, Filmmuseum, Stadtkino Künstlerhaus, Urania and Gartenbaukino. All of them are places with a unique atmosphere and wonderful charme located in the city center. Every single one is easily reachable from every Wombat’s The City Hostel in Vienna. A special goodie is the retrospective in Vienna’s Filmmuseum. The Viennale retrospective shows movies from previous editions of the festival. By the way, the Filmmuseum is worth a visit at any time of the year. For additional information, directions and most importantly the festival’s program check out their website www.viennale.at

Hosting Models since 2010

For the 9th consecutive year now, Wombat’s The City Hostel is an official model accommodation for the MQVFW.19.
The Fashion Week takes place in Museum Quartier, just a 10-minute stroll from either of the Wombat’s in Vienna. It has become an ever-growing event, that may not yet put Vienna in the focus of the fashion world as the fashion weeks in Paris, Milano and London do. But it definitely puts fashion in the focus of Vienna, as the creative fashion designers and fashionistas of the region gather and mix with an international audience. It’s this mingle that creates a great personal, yet professional atmosphere. Over 10.000 guests visited the shows last year and many recurring visitors came back for the shops. The shows feature local labels, Viennese design schools, as well as renown international brands.
A special thing about MQVFW is the long term cooperation with designers from Thailand. On September 12, they are celebrating their 10th anniversary. On this occasion, three Austrian and three Thai designers show their collaboration representing the history of 150 years of trade relations between the Kingdom and Austria.

The event will start off with excerpts of Marcel Ostertag’s collections “Heroes” and “Lovers”. The organisers are really excited that the designer is back in Vienna presenting his work. Marcel Ostertag is a former ballet dancer of the Viennese Opera Staatsballett. For his autumn/winter collection was inspired among other things by David Bowie, Grace Jones and Doris Ostertag, the designer’s mother.

At the same time, there will be many pop-up stores, fashion-specific events and parties during the whole event. Vienna will turn into great fashion festival. Every day a different event will take place at different hotspots in the city. An absolute must for fashion fans and the ideal platform for creative minds. The official Vienna Fashion Week Party 2019 will be on September 14, at Pratersauna including VIE I PEE. 5 floors and 10 DJ will be ready for fashionistas and party animals.

In short, the MQ Vienna Fashion Week is a hidden gem in the fashion world and would definitely add a great, authentic, off-the-beaten-path experience to your stay in Vienna.

http://mqvfw.com/fashion-shows/

Events 2019

What’s your favourite travel outfit?

The Oktoberfest runs from Sept 21st – October 6th 2019

What do hostel workers need most after an exhausting summer season? A 16-day beerfest, along with a hostel full of intoxicated guests. NOT, you would think, but we actually still enjoy this.

OK, we could do with less puke in the elevators, but there are the bizarre moments making up for the downsides. Like the guest we only saw wearing a helmet (“to avoid injuries when passing out”) or the guy wearing a zebra costume for breakfast. I asked him where he got that one from, to which he replied, “I don’t remember, I woke up in it.” Or the guy who returned at 3am with nothing but his underpants (he couldn’t tell how that happened, but we know it). We have seen it all, and whatever you do, we won’t tell your girlfriend. Here’s how to Oktoberfest:

Avoid the weekends.

Especially avoid Saturdays. Especially the Saturday on the second weekend, when FC Bayern has a home match. Do yourself a favour and go on a weekday. Even on a Tuesday afternoon, it’s still the biggest party on earth. It’s easier to find accommodation. You”ll have to line up less than an hour for the rollercoasters, you’ll get inside the tents without lining up for hours and a free spot at a table will be much easier to find as well.

Don’t try to reserve a table

Because they don’t accept table reservations when the tent is likely to be full anyway. You just enter the tent of your choice. Scan it for empty spots and ask the other people on the table “ist hier frei?” – that’s it, and it’s also a good conversation starter.

First eat, then drink!

Oktoberfest beer is stronger than the regular stuff. It can get quite warm in the tents, so you will be thirsty and might drink more than you intended. The salt on the pretzels will do the rest. Start your day with a hearty lunch – I recommend one of the many beer halls. Augustiner Bräustuben (http://www.braeustuben.de/) serves excellent pork knuckle for just €9,20. The alcohol will hit you in a much more enjoyable way when you have some lardy food in your stomach.

Leave your stuff at the hostel

The Oktoberfest throng is a pickpocket’s paradise. You won’t want to be paranoid all the time about the contents of your pockets. Also leave your eyeglasses at home, you know, drunk people sometimes throw around their arms in a somewhat uncontrolled manner…

First rollercoaster, then binge drinking

Have mercy on me. I don’t want the contents of your digestive system raining down on me when I queue up. Please!
Still, if you are not yet completely wasted, sneaking out of the tent after the first Maß and go for a ride on the giant carousel or one of the rollercosters is definitely worth the experience.

Which tent?

There are 14 big ones and 20 small ones altogether with seats for 100,000. The first one you’ll see at the main entrance is the Hippodrom, well known for its champagne bar (WTF?) and the occasional celebrity visitor. Schottenhamel is a large one (it seats 10,000) and the tent where it all starts when the mayor taps the first keg. The biggest one is Paulaner Festzelt (capacity 10,900). The best about it is the large outdoor area on its southern side, so you can enjoy the autumn sun. The locals’ favourite is still Augustiner, the only one left tapping the beer from traditional wooden kegs. The tent where the shit really hits the fan is Hofbräu – like the Hofbräuhaus beer hall it’s very popular with tourists who intend to party hard. Mind that the waitresses will ask you to leave when you have an empty stein in front of you and refuse to replace it with a full one immediately. All the tents come with very cheesy oompah-style brass music playing traditional Bavarian songs like “Sweet Home Alabama” or “Country Roads”. You will certainly hate it until you’ve finished your fifth stein, then you’ll love it.

Don’t go to the wine tent

This is a BEERfest, for chrissake! Don’t be a nerd and drink wine. You just don’t!!!

Try not to pass out

The tents close just before midnight and those who can’t make it on their own legs any more will be brought to the slope under the “Bavaria” statue by the security guys. There are hundreds of “Bierleichen” lined up there every evening and the pickpockets will leave you with nothing but your underpants. You have been warned!

 

All in all the most important thing is to have fun. Go out and party hard!