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Austria: The hills are alive

If you’re like me, as soon as you hear Austria, you think of Julie Andrews running up a mountain, twirling about with her arms in the air. While that isn’t exactly reality, the beauty of the country portrayed in the movie is.

As soon as you arrive, you’ll spot the breathtaking views and, if you are lucky enough to take a train through the mountains (especially at Christmastime), you’ll notice little villages with Christmas lights and trees, much like Dr. Seuss’ Whoville.

There are two exhibition halls run by Reed Exhibitions in Austria, one in Vienne and the other in Salzburg. For this article, we’ll focus on the more globally used center in Vienne. 

The main exhibition hall, Messe, is a wellrun, clean and modern facility built in 2004. It’s a spacious facility able to accommodate very large shows and is conveniently located near the city center. From the airport, it takes approximately 20 minutes by taxi. Taxis are a safe way to travel in Vienna as well as taking the underground. The closest underground stop to the facility is on the U2 line called “Messe Prater.”

When using the underground in Vienna, it is most cost-effective to purchase a multi-day/ride pass. You can purchase 24-hour, 72-hour and week passes. To purchase a pass from a machine, you must use cash; they do not take credit or debit cards. Austria uses the Euro as currency. The week pass is valid Monday-Sunday and costs approximately $20 USD. If you purchase the pass on a Saturday, you’ll need two 24-hour passes to get you through until it is valid. A final note on the underground, once you validate your ticket, you must be prepared to show it. It is an honor system for the most part, but they do have random officers checking. If you do not have a valid ticket, you can face stiff fines of almost $100 on the spot.

Exhibit construction in Austria is much like the rest of Europe. Build and burn is typical as well as system rental construction. Raised floors are usually required if electrical is being run on the ground. As with all shows, be sure to read the show manual thoroughly. Rules can change from show to show, but overall there are no odd venue rules to be aware of.

Since the Messe is in a convenient location, there are restaurants and shops within walking distance. However, the center also has very nice facilities serving breakfast, lunch and coffee in the halls. These areas are typically open during build up as well, so no need to pack lunch or snacks on those days.

If you have time for sightseeing, there is plenty nearby to check out. The Museum of Art History is particularly interesting and is located in the Museum Quartier near Marie-Therese-Platz. Another great place to visit is the Rathaus – the city hall of Vienna. Inside, located on the ground floor, is the Rathauskeller. It’s a terrific place to try a good, traditional Viennese dinner.

I hope you enjoy Austria and the beautiful landscape. And as they say… So Long, Farewell, Auf Wiedersehen, Goodbye. Until next time.

Kelli Steckbauer is the director of global business for MG Design, an exhibit design, event planning and management services provider.

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