We scheduled almost three days in Vienna. We arrived on Sunday evening. The kids were shocked at how early the sun set. It probably didn't help that we were fast approaching the shortest day of the year. But by 5 pm when we were walking to the hotel from the train station they couldn't believe that night had fallen. Vienna's transportation is awesome. There is a train that leaves you right in the city center in about 15 minutes. It was a quick 7 minute walk (after we asked a cab driver which direction we needed to head in) to get to the Marriott we were staying at.
One of the fabulous thing about staying at an American hotel is that we get to experience American foods once again. I know, who goes to Vienna for a hamburger but it made the kids super happy to see an American Sports Bar in the lobby, complete with the NFL on the big screen. A few Burgers,Fries and sodas later and they were happy campers. Jess and Joe elected to stay in the hotel and rest while Andrea, Alexa and I headed out to find the Staatsoper.
The Staatsoper is the Opera house. And I was convinced I could find a sign in which I could stand in front of the Staat...leaving only me and the "soper", which is my maiden name. Alas, those Austrians, put their little signs way up high and I never was able to get a good picture of it. But we had fun trying. There was also a Market in the area there that we weren't able to find until our friend Maeve showed us the next day. We ended up getting lost, well, more like, wandering in the wrong direction. We stopped for a Starbucks, righted ourselves and headed back out into the night. We must have at least appeared to know what we were doing as a group of tourists stopped us and asked where to find something to eat.
|random man walking under the chandeliers. This street is one that they waltz on in the beginning of the Ball season.|
The next day we woke up and headed out to the Schonbrunn Palace. This palace began it's existence as a hunting lodge on the outskirts of the city. It's now within the city limits and was transformed into quite the country cottage for the Imperial Family. Marie Antoinette spent time here as a child.
|Christmas at Schonbrunn Palace|
|Lollipops bigger then Joe's head|
|Alexa photo bombing our picture|
After the Palace we left to meet Maeve, a friend of ours who moved to Vienna from Barcelona a year and a half ago. her daughter Chantalle is very good friends with Andrea. She took us to this great pasta place and then back to St. Stephen's where we got to go inside and look around. We even got to see Chantalle for a few moments when she got off the bus from school. But she had studying to do. And we were cold from the long day outside, so we headed back to the hotel for some swimming and dinner.
Our third morning we were a bit slow to get up. We went to the Hoffburg in the center of Vienna to visit the Imperial Apartments. It really is a fascinating history. One I've clearly forgotten. But in walking through the china rooms, where one setting came from Milan and another from Rome, reminds you of how vast their empire once was. We also learned all about Empress Sissy, who was an independent minded, if not severely depressed Empress of a beloved Emperor. After we were finished with the history lessons, it was back outside into the freezing temperatures to see another market.
|Kids at Rathous|
The Rathous market is the largest and most popular of all of the markets. It had the biggest number of stalls and the nicest mugs. We loved that they decorated the nearby trees with all sorts of different large lights, hearts, snowmen, trains. It was very whimsical. We went first in the afternoon and then came back at night since it was very clear that the lights would be beautiful at night.
|Heart light tree|
|ice skating with Chantalle|
Merry Christmas to all and to all a good night.