Monday, December 6, 2010

Winter Weekend in Vienna

an "old world" Vienna alley way, decked with some lights
a view of snowy Parkring street, adjacent to Stadtpark
the snow covered bicylce and pedestrian path beside Parkring
This little alley was full of Christmas cheer.
This little Vespa was covered in snow.
Sorry for the quality... cell phone pic.
A window display at Demel, Vienna's famous pastry shop and chocolatier, established in 1786.
We tasted the Demel torte, which was mostly chocolate, with some cinammon, sprinkled with candied lavender shavings.
They're also famous for their candied violet petals.
In another Demel window, you'll find Danish lady.
Their displays change monthly and apparently they get pretty elaborate.
the twinkle lights on Graben street
the beautiful chandy lights, floating above the shoppers on Singerstrabe
Vienna's town hall... cite of the Vienna Christmas Market
Claudia kept screaming "BREAD! BREAD!"
So we bought her this giant piece of friend bread at the Market.
Russell tried it too. He said it tasted like a big crouton.
It was fun to look between the Market boothes and spy snippets of Town Hall.
I believe this was the Parliament building... besieged by the throng of Market-goers
going on a stroll through Stadtpark.
Unfortunately, poor Claudia spent most of the trip tucked inside her "trolley",
muffed and covered with blankets.
monument to Johann Strauss, Vienna's famous composer of over 500 waltzes
They call him the "Waltz King."
I thought he looked extra pretty in the snow.
Here's one of the (less grand) entrances to the 650 year old Hofburg complex,
the winter residence of the Hofburg royal family.
The complex now houses several museums,
the Vienna Boys Choir and the Spanish Riding School.
Vienna was the Imperial Capital of the Habsburg Monarchy from 1278 - 1780.
During this time, the Habsburg controlled a significant chunk of Europe.
We took a (very brief) tour of the Imperial Apartments and the Treasury.
There were endless rooms filled with fancy smancy, gold encrusted thingies like this.
The Habsburg Monarchy typically entertained between 300 - 400 guests a night.
Guess you need lots of blingy servingware for that kind of entertaining.
I loved the hand painted collections, myself.
Look at that cute little lobster plate!
A beautiful snow covered dome adorning part of the Hofburg Complex.
the altar at Stephansdom (German for St. Stephan's Cathedral)
This amazingly ornate structure dates back to 1263, but actually stands on the ruins of an earlier cathedral that was consegrated in 1147.
Eerily, while some excavations were made in the last ten years for a heating system,
a network of graves were discovered and carbon dating aged them back to the 4th century.
a candle for your prayers
another shot of the inside of the cathedral
ballroom on the grounds of Stadt Park
It wasn't enough for the Hapsburgs to have one palace...
the Hofburg Complex was just their winter residence.
The real deal is Schloss Schonbrunn, the summer palace.
Here it is... nothing fancy.
Claudia put on her finest powdered wig and hat for the occassion.
Just so you know, she spent the entire weekend in her puff suit.
She doesn't like to put it on, so we pretty much left her in it, save for diaper changes.
This was from the tour of the children's museum at Schloss Schonbrunn.
Mommy & Bop at the gates of Schonbrunn.
If memory serves, she was yawning, not screaming in this pic.
Despite the snow, there were blue skies above.
The beautiful gardens, covered in a snowy blanket.
Here's a view of the Gloriette structure above the palace.
The structure was erected to symbolize the glory of the Hapsburg Empire.
I wonder what the Hapsburgs think about the thousands of "peasants"
who crawl over their stately grounds each day.
And that concludes our tour of Vienna...

We decided we couldn't get enough of the snow, so on Thursday we hopped aboard the Polar Express and headed to Vienna, Austria for a three day weekend. We arrived in Vienna after a three hour train ride and headed straight to our hotel. It had been snowing all day in Vienna and continued to snow all day Friday. Initially, I was overcome by the beauty of the snow covered city. Shortly thereafter, I was overcome by the shrieks of my daughter, who screams like scorpions have been dropped in her diaper every time she goes out in the snow.

On the plus side, we discovered that sausage makes Claudia very happy. She probably ate her weight in brautwurst this past weekend. She also loved the cakes from Demel. I discovered that I love schnitzel, a traditional Austrian dish consisting of either veal or pork that is pounded very flat, covered in breadcrumbs and fried. We visited a few palaces, churches and parks... ate some good eats... and went to a Christmas festival. It was a quick, but fun trip.

I will say that travelling with a wee one is difficult. Russell and I both had several "serenity now!" moments. Hopefully, though, when Claudia is older, she'll look at these pictures and smile. If she does, lugging the stroller, diaper bag and carseat all over Vienna was worth it. =)


  1. I really feel sorry for you, Russell, and Bop. It must be terrible to hop on the Polar Express to visit such a dreary place for a weekend. :)
    I'm enjoying the pictures/posts! Keep them coming!

  2. Lovely! Wow, I heard Vienna is beautiful and it definately does not disappoint. So glad you guys are able to see such wonderful places. Love all your historic info in the posts.


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