We LOVED Vienna. Loved it! Austria is probably one of my favorite European countries. I would move here in a heartbeat if given the chance. The people were very friendly, the city was beautiful and there was MUCH more variety in just about everything compared to Italy.
We go to Vienna around 5pm, and dropped our stuff off at our apartment, parked our car and then went in search of dinner. We really had no clue where we were going, but found a little oriental place to eat at. We wandered around Old Town Vienna after dark and then went back to our apartment to get some sleep.
We stayed in a residential area of Vienna. It was 2 blocks away from the metro line, one block away from the parks/trails along the Danube Canal and there were bike lanes and trails all over the place. I could EASILY live in a place that was so easy to get around without a car. It seems like a very family-friendly, laid back city.
We got up the next morning and went exploring. We didn’t exactly know where we were going since we didn’t have a map yet, so we just kind of winged it. Abbie loves the metros.
The kids loved the inside of the metros. Even Ben liked to try to hang on!!
We found our way up to Museum Quarter and went to Hofburg Palace. The palace was beautiful, and had gardens surrounding it. We found out later than the National Library is in the palace and we wish we would have been able to go in it, but by the time we figured it out, they were closed. Bummer. Maybe next time.
I wanted to see the Lipizzaner stallion performance also, but again, that didn’t work out either. We just weren’t in town long enough to be able to do everything we wanted to. And since I’ve seen them perform 5-6 times in other places, it was okay.
This was the view of the city hall from Hofburg Palace. And Mark tickling Ben. He’s pretty darn ticklish!
We decided to take one of these old time bus tours, but it was kind of a waste of money. I couldn’t hear the guide half the time through the headset, and it was so bumpy it was really hard to get any decent pictures. I guess it gave us a better understanding of the lay out of Vienna, but other than that, it wasn’t that great.
After our hour long ride through town, we decided to go find some of the areas that we thought were neat on the tour. We walked through Museum Quarter again to get back to the metro. I love cities that have metros. I would love to live in a city that has a metro system some day (Washington, D.C. anyone??). Ben had had enough and cashed out.
We grabbed a Starbuck’s on our way back to the apartment so we could put the kids down for a nap. (No, the drink didn’t have coffee in it, or Abbie wouldn’t have gotten any of it. She didn’t take a nap though, even though it didn’t have coffee.)
We had looked up a Chinese place on line during our
nap two hour fight with Abbie to be quiet and go to sleep, so we headed there after Abbie woke Ben up from his nap. Yes, we were having lots of fun at this point… I was about ready to give my 3 year old away.
We passed by St. Stephen’s Cathedral on our way to the restaurant. A few interesting facts about the bells of this church: 1. The largest one is the 2nd largest swinging bell in Europe, weighing over 44,000lbs. 2. Ludwig van Beethoven discovered he was completely deaf when he saw birds flying out of this bell tower, but couldn’t hear the bells at all.
This was another little church we passed on our way to the restaurant. And the restaurant, by the way, was REALLY good. It was some of the best Chinese food I’ve had in a while. I think we were the only non-oriental people in the restaurant for most of our meal. I suppose it’s a good sign when people who really know the food like it as well.
After dinner we walked around and took a few more pictures before heading back to our apartment.
Back side of St. Stephan’s Cathedral
Some place that was famous for making cakes for famous people. Good thing they were closed when we passed by. Abbie was enamored with them.
Some place that offered hundreds of different kinds of schnitzel's. We didn’t eat here either but the place was quite busy.
On Saturday we spent the morning in Bratislava, Slovakia, but I’ll do a separate post on our visit there. Ben was excited to bring his countries visited count up to six. Not bad for a nine month old!
After we parked our car, we decided to go to Stadtpark to let Abbie burn off a little energy. It was neat to see lots of families there, and there were a surprising number of dads with their kids at the park.
Stadtpark was the first public park in Vienna, opening in 1862. There is a building that is now a restaurant/café on the park grounds called the Kursalon and that is were Johann Strauss played his first concert in 1868.
We wandered around for a while and then went to find TGI Friday’s. Note to anyone who cares: when you order a burger “medium” at places in Austria, it is much closer to an American “rare” than medium. The thing was practically still mooing..
Abbie had been asking to ride a horse since we’d been in Vienna. There are horse drawn carriages everywhere, and she was most interested. We encountered a line of the carriages outside where the Lipizzaner’s perform and Abbie begged to go pet one. Normally when she does this and you take her to pet them, she’s afraid up close. But not this time. She had lots of fun petting the horses.
We wandered around a little more until we came across a film festival going on in front of the city hall building. We didn’t stay to watch anything, but it was fun people watching for a bit and it looked like they had lots of good food there. Too bad we’d already eaten.
The next morning we packed up all of our stuff and stopped by Schonbrunn Palace on our way out of town. I think this easily could have been my favorite part of the trip, but Mark and I were both super distracted by Abbie’s sudden fever and neck pain and we spent most of the time there rushing through so we could leave and trying to figure out why Abbie all of a sudden didn’t feel good.
Schonbrunn, which means “beautiful spring”, has 1,441 rooms and was built between 1638 and 1643. They used to go hunting in the area that is now the gardens and there is a natural spring on the premises. There is now also a zoo on the premises.
This is the Gloriette, which is at the top of the palace grounds and has beautiful views overlooking the palace and Vienna. There is now a café in this building and we grabbed a quick lunch here before getting on the road to get home. The weather wasn’t the best, but Mark ran down to the edge of the hill to take a few pictures of the palace before we left.
Overall, our time in Vienna was fun. It is a beautiful city and I wish we could have spent more time there, and that Abbie wasn’t being a typical 3 year old during the majority of our trip. But I’m glad we got to see it for at least a few days before we move back to the States!