Vienna, AUSTRIA : PART TWO
In July 2016 we traveled to Vienna, Austria! You can read the first post in this series HERE.
Day 2 – Zoom Kindermuseum
Our second full day in Vienna, Austria was definitely on the slower side. We took our time in the morning, then made our way over to the Museumsquartier again, where we found ZOOM Kindermuseum. First we ate a quick lunch at the nearby cafe, and then spent time playing on this large grassy water bed in the courtyard before the entrance to the museum. A tentative Porter “tested the waters”, unsure of what would happen if he stepped on it, but then found himself bouncing around among the other children.
Inside ZOOM, toddlers and babies can play for one hour inside a sea-inspired wonderland. Walking in, you’re “under the sea” with urchins and creatures made of different textured materials, and little coves to explore. Up a winding ramp, we found ourselves at the helm of a ship, which Porter LOVED. Again, there are a few places to explore around the “ship”, and a gangplank to walk over to discover a jungle, or dress up corner, and much more. We loved watching him play and it was great for him to have something special to do, too.
Walking home, we stopped to explore the Naschmarkt, not fully realizing what it entailed. It’s amazing! From our first passing, at the very end of it, it looked like a couple of small buildings serving food, but it is actually a narrow market, with shops on either side, selling all kinds of great stuff. Souvenirs, spices, cheese, lunch, meat, vegetables, you name it. If you go to Vienna, definitely spend some time walking, shopping, eating and drinking there.
Day 3 – Danube Cruise to Bratislava
You may read about our day in Bratislava, Slovakia in a separate post HERE.
We returned in the late afternoon, and decided to walk around during golden hour. We first walked by this beautiful Russian Orthodox Cathedral that was actually our view from our hotel room. Gorgeous!
And since the hotel was very close to Belvedere Palace and gardens, we just headed over there.
Everything was spectacular! From the grounds of the palace, to the setting sun, to the peacefully quiet neighborhoods during dinner time.
Day 4 – Schönbrunn Palace
On our final day, the plan was to have an early start and arrive at Schönbronn Palace as soon as it opened. This was in order to avoid crowds/lines as much as possible, but also because it is a bit out of the city. With tours of the Palace, gardens to explore, and a zoo, I knew there would plenty to fill our time, too. Unfortunately, our reality now is that everything takes much longer than planned for – including getting out the door. Kids, man!
Getting to the palace was quite easy on the metro. Once there, we decided on a shorter tour of the Palace, first. Thank God we chose the short tour because Porter was not having any of it, that is until the very end when he found the fire extinguisher inside the stairwell.
It was a really informative, interesting tour of the beautiful main rooms. No pictures were allowed inside, though. Schönbronn is a classic European palace, full of history, art, and beauty. Not to be missed.
After our tour inside, we moved with the crowds around the gardens, and up to Gloriette for the incredible views.
At this point, I was tired. Retiring on a bench to feed Henry, I asked Matt if he wanted to cut the palace visit short and go back to Rathaus for lunch in the park again. He agreed, and an easy metro ride later, we found ourselves back in the gazebo, enjoying the afternoon.
Yet another late afternoon walk home through Vienna:
Enjoy your vacation!
It’s taken me a few years of traveling to realize that we don’t have to see and do everything. There is no obligation to travel like other tourists or how the travel books recommend. After all, these are our vacations. The time we take to get away is necessary for us, as expats, to recharge. Which might sound strange because living as an expat can seem like a vacation. But it has its difficulties, too, like the fact that this is not our home and we don’t have a normal support system around a lot of the time. Also, one of the perks to being an expat is taking advantage of the ability to travel, if you are fortunate enough to do so.
When we found ourselves eating lunch at Gastronomie, in the park, we weren’t doing anything special or uniquely Vienna, perhaps, but each one of us in the family were relaxed. Which is something I forget we need to focus on while on vacation in a new place. We ate and drank slow. We tried new foods and let the toddler play in the water fountain for a long time. And we were able to strike up conversations with locals!
Schönbronn Palace is an incredible UNESCO World Heritage Site, full of fascinating history, and is an amazing sight to behold all around, but I’m glad we ditched out a little early to return to something that made us happier 🙂 Maybe when we’re older and without the burden of children’s needs/timelines/schedules we’ll get to leisurely tour a palace again. Ha, if we should be so lucky!
What I love about Vienna
Vienna is truly a remarkable, beautiful European city. Do not hesitate to ever go!
- It is so easy to get around on foot, by train, and metro.
- There is FREE WIFI around the city! I absolutely loved this for planning and mapping things, as well as sharing way more than usual on social media.
- History, arts, and culture abounds.
- The food and drinks!
- Everything is beautiful: the architecture, the parks, the waterways and surrounding countryside, the people.
- There is so much to do and enjoy, no matter what you like.
- It is a fabulous family destination – many places with child friendly areas, also breastfeeding friendly.
I’m really happy we were able to go to Vienna. It was a great place for our first trip as a family of four and really nice to return to Europe again.