What a cliff hanger eh? I ended that last post teasing that the next day (chronicled below) was magical, and then proceeded to wait 10 months before actually writing about it…well, suffice to say our stay in Italy was amazing and exhausting and I just couldn’t bring myself to sink 2 hours into writing posts while we were there…so here…10 months later, the Austria/Italy adventure continues…
St Stephan’s Cathedral is a massive (now) gothic church that dominates the skyline of the Vienna city center as it has for a long time. Originally built in the middle of the 12th century this church has gone through rebuilds, rearchitecture, and revolutions, but always been a symbol of Vienna. Singerstraße, the street our place was on was one of the roads that squared in Stephansplatz where the cathedral is, so we walked through here often. Kewl.
We woke up on second full (and final) day in Vienna to a bit of rain, but headed due north to a giant park situated between a tributary of the Danube river and the Daube itself called Augarten. There was a croissant or two. We entered the expansive green space on the south side and let the kids amble about to tire themselves out while we notionally search for a few of the 5 or 6 playgrounds rumored to in the park. When I say this place was giant, I’m not joking…in The States it would probably be constantly contested by some developer of mix-use apartment/town home crap.
Anyhow this park has been around in some for since the 1600s, but the the most interesting part about it are the decrepit World War 2 Axis anti-aircraft towers. These things are so impossibly huge and massive that apparently it is too expensive to bring them down. When Austria was liberated by the Soviets, they were unable to force the surrender of the power inside as even their most powerful guns were unable to inflict serious damage.
By this time the rain had calmed down and the kids (and their parents) were ready for a stroller nap, so we rattled our way back across the cobblestones back towards Stadtpark. While exploring yesterday, we noticed that there was a food & wine festival of sorts today and if you know anything about us, you know that is our kinda business.
Turns out Genussfestoval, Austria’s biggest food and wine festival, was happening today. Score. Like…2x score. Vendors were in from all over the country with their cheese, bread, recipes, (zomg you guys this Boar cacciatore business that I ate) and of course wine.
The walk from Augarten hadn’t been the smoothest (no naps for kids), but the sight of people stretched out on the lawn eating and drinking and generally having a fabulous time in what became a beautiful day, put some extra wind in our sails. Erin found a grassy area of the park and accumulated some ground-cover-worthy bean bags and chairs, while I went up to the vendors and basically dumped out the contents of my wallet.
After some food, the kids (and here is the magic part) feel asleep in the stroller/bean bags, so I found an ATM and once again handed all of our money to the wine purveyors.
…ok, and I’m trying to figure out how to get this in here so I’ll just say it…we were served with real glass…in a park…at a festival…with tons of people around…real glass…amazing…
R woke up and went over and played with a bunch of kids he couldn’t communicate with, but they were playing with dirt and rocks and stuff so it didn’t really seem to matter. All in all it was an amazingly relaxing day, and when we all really started to feel like we were on vacation.
None of us were the mood to find a place to eat dinner or cook, so we just grabbed some more food from a vendor for dinner and headed home for the night…expect that on the way home we found a Ramen (yes Ramen) place called Shoyu and it smelled so delicious that Erin and I both immediately needed it. We took the kids home and I went back out in the chilly evening (in flip flops, to prove a point) to get the takeaway and have a beer while I waited.
Tomorrow we head for Italy!