Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Vienna, Austria

A couple of weeks ago J. was sent to Austria to do some survey work for an air show. Lucky for W. and I, daddy invited us along. We flew out of Dusseldorf and into Vienna on a Thursday and couldn’t have asked for a better flight. Short and sweet is nice- especially when traveling with a three year old and being 34 weeks pregnant. From the airport we took the metro to downtown which was cheap and efficient.

There’s so much to see in Vienna, it’s hard to find a place to start. J. scoped out the area by taking a tram around the city, and W. and I rested. We were then ready to check out the local scene. There are churches galore and being the home of the Hapsburg empire, there are no shortages of palaces and monuments to see. We strolled through the main shopping district and then headed over to the winter place to see what we could find. Horse drawn carriages dominate the streets here so it was precarious crossing the roads, but somehow we made it.

The Hofburg Imperial Palace is an impressive site in central Vienna and it is home to several institutions including the Vienna Boy’s Choir and the Spanish Riding School. This is the place where Marie Antoinette was born…

A number of museums are also located close by in the Museumsquartier- a few of which J. had time to investigate. W. and I decided the butterfly house was the place to see- beautiful and great for children, but with extremely high humidity and lots of heat for our winged friends I came out with a drenched shirt and frizzy hair- just how you want to look while touring a big city!

From the time I was a little girl, I have always wanted to see the Lipizzaner stallions at the Spanische Hofreitschule (Spanish Riding School) J. and W. both agreed to accompany me, and it was one of the best performances of horsemanship I have ever seen. I was very impressed and excited to have been able to experience one of my life long dreams. For anyone traveling to Vienna, I recommend spending an evening here- or at the least viewing a morning exercise at the school.

The Danube River cuts though the city, however there is a long narrow island of park for city dwellers to enjoy nature upon. This is a perfect place for children being that cars are not allowed and there are playgrounds and ice cream shops aplenty. It is a good place to go to see the city from the river and to get away from the masses of tourists in the city center.

We were lucky enough to find a hotel in the downtown with in walking distance to most attractions we wanted to see. Very friendly staff and excellent breakfasts:

J. was able to enjoy the city a bit more because of the fight schedules and had a wonderful time exploring the summer place of the Hapsburgs: Schönbrunn Palace. Here are a few photos from our trip- (remember I am huge pregnant here and the camera was the last thing I wanted to carry around… sorry for the sparcity…)