So we didn’t really have much explicitly planned for Vienna. Part of this is because, despite what it may look like from this blog, neither Erin or I are really good when it comes to planning these types of things (we still don’t have a place to stay on our last night here). Also, when you are traveling with two small children, reality, naps, and diapers can make short work of your plan. I also realize that the posts on this trip have featured my kids in pictures extensively. Sorry not sorry. This is a different kind of trip than our soirees to Thailand, and we like to take pictures of those little buggers.
The plans that we did have in Vienna were centered around going to parks and eating. We started the morning out by cooking breakfast in the apartment and heading west across the city center towards the Heldenplatz (Hero’s Square) and Volksgarden (People’s Garden). These two large public spaces are situated in front of the building that is basically Austria’s White House (at least the West Wing), and has been the seat of executive, dynastic, or imperial power in Austria, in some form or another since 1200 and something. We checked out a few statues; there was a fountain…pigeon’s were chased.
We then cut due south to the Nachtmarket, an outdoor market that has existed in Vienna since the 16th century. I was expecting this place to be very touristy, but was pleasantly surprised to find it packed with what appeared to be locals, but who knows. I was also happy to see that apple-computer-guy-sitting-solo-at-the-cafe/bar-pounding-out-the-next-big-thing is not a solely American phenomenon (and yes, I realize that sometimes that guy is me). While much of the two blocks that we walked were restaurants (Uzbeki food anyone?), there was still a farmer’s market vibe with folks selling their wares. We bought some dried fruit..out of which the pineapple was deleted almost immediately by my son…and sat down to a lunch outside…with wine…because the kids were being really good…
…the kids were starting to fall apart, so we settled up our bill and headed back to the place to relax a little bit. When everyone (and I mean everyone) woke up, we headed towards the U station to take the subway northeast of the city center. R is at the age where he wants to continuously split himself into several different people and participate in all options for everything all at once. For example, when given the chance to decide between elevator, escalator, or stairs, he may choose escalator, but then after being on said escalator will immediately conclude that he wants to get off and get on the elevator…he is also willing to burn down the entire city in order to do so. This…adorable…behavior, which also leads to multiple elevator stops…because why push one button when you can push some number more than that…makes what should be a 5 minute subway trip, considerably longer. And, you just want to scream because the whole reason we are at the subway in the first place is to take him somewhere where he will have fun. #parenting …ok…better now…
The Prater amusement park is like a permanent carnival located in one of the more northern parts of Vienna. It’s big claim to fame is that is houses the oldest functioning ferris wheel in the universe, or something. The area itself has some pretty cool history as well, something about hunting grounds for rich folks and a World’s Fair. Today its full of B-side attractions. I kid you not, there was one called “Daytona Beach” (don’t step on the needles!?), and another where you ran through a Michael Jackson themed fun house, presumably trying to get away from him. Despite the age of the rides, the whole place had a distinctive charm and we found ourselves having a really good time. R rode a couple of coin-op cars, and the two of us rode a culturally insensitive American West “rollercoaster”.
All of us did ferris wheel and had a dance party in front of the aforementioned king of pop fun house. We skipped the gypsy-fortune-teller-henna-tatoo-palm-reader (we are getting pretty East here and Romania is just one Hungary away…who is being culturally insensitive now) and the really really really ridiculously high spinning swing (of doom), but we did eat (surprise!) some sausage-stand Kasekrainer’s (Frankfurter filled with chesse) for dinner.
We got back on U and headed home. R and I had a brush with physical injury disaster as I was trying to get him situated in the subway. It started to move, quickly, and I was off balance and still holding him, flinging me forward (backward?) into the seat divider, him in between me and it…I got my hand out quick enough though to avoid any serious harm…people looked at me like I was an idiot anyway…and they’re probably right.
Exhausted from what was probably our longest day yet we all crashed hard. The next day would start slow, but end up being, as far as these things go, magical.