Austria,  Easter,  Family Travel,  Spring,  Travel

Week 11 & 12 of 2024 (In Review): Vienna

Happy Easter, friends!

Last week was a continuation of all the good things from Week 10 as we took a little trip for a change of scenery to Vienna. We haven’t travelled anywhere since October and coming off of how magical Rome was last March, we wanted to have at least a little holiday on my last maternity leave year over spring break.

Not having travelled since the little one was 16 months old and is now 21 months old was a great excuse in itself to do so. We want to raise a flexible and adaptable child who can sleep and be at other places without raising much of an eyebrow about it. (Personally I love that excuse for taking a trip!)

Vienna is a city that’s grown on me, big time, and continues to do so. We visited there over eleven years ago, also in March and the weather was absolutely terrible. You don’t need great weather to see what’s so great about a city, but what I learn after each trip is that Vienna in some ways is very similar to Berlin. You can’t just go into the center, see the historical sites and come out with this fulfilled feeling that you have seen that city or that you even know that city. With large and sprawling Vienna, the magical definitely also lies in its neighborhoods or districts, which are numbered very similar to Paris‘s arrondisements.

This time we stayed in a new-to-us neighborhood, Sechshaus, within walking distance of Schönbrunn Palace and the Mariahilfer Straße shopping district. As we were traveling with both a dog and toddler, I didn’t have any time to break away and head to an art museum or anything like that but we had some lovely dining, coffeehouse and shopping experiences. I was living for our accommodation as well that had a wall of skylights above the bed so I could awake to staring at the blue sky and clouds! This concept wouldn’t be as great in June when the sun rises at 4:00am but in March it was perfect. Our little Mouse loved running like a cackling goblin around our fifth-floor terrace and scaring the daylights out of me because gahhh it is so high up! But my heights issue is my thing, not his, so I’m just sat there trying not to burst with worry.

Traveling with a small child is still great. I know a lot of people say “a vacation with a child isn’t really a vacation – it’s just parenting somewhere different” (lol) but even though what we do has to be tweaked a little bit, it already has been tweaked to accommodate getting a dog eight years ago so we are kind of used to this. I guess I’m finding it’s one of those parenthood things that you are just happy to do child-friendly things because you love your kid and it’s fun for you to see them discover new things, explore new environments and delight in all the good things about life. It’s a little different but it’s still a holiday, it’s still a trip somewhere different and interesting. I am really conscious that this (for example, early toddlerhood) is a very specific and fleeting phase of life and that one day I’ll have all the time in the world to peruse an art gallery. For now I’m happy to just do these sorts of things. Ya dig?

An ideal Vienna day for me (with a toddler and dog in tow)? A lovely morning stroll around the Schönbrunn gardens, followed by lunch at Trezniewski’s, an old-school, open-face sandwich (chlebíčky) buffet that has long been a favorite of ours and so many other Wieners and visitors alike. You’re given drink tokens to give the barmaid and she pulls your drink vom Fass (from the tap) and you scuttle to a standing table (or if you’re lucky, one of the few sit-down tables inside). The weather was fantastic during these days and Mouse enjoyed running around the alley, nearly running into other people, drawing a few smiles here and there. We are in the crazy-running-away-freedom! toddler phase in case you didn’t catch the drift.

From there we had some playground time at the Volkspark, a pram-nap and a stroll, and since we were right in front of Demel and it was wheelchair accessible, well, there would be our coffeehouse experience. I do adore a good Viennese coffeehouse and its very particular lingo you wouldn’t find anywhere else. The Melange, the Großer Brauner. The Einspänner. The Franzizkaner. (If you head to Vienna, be sure to familiarize yourself with these terms and why they got their names – it’s pretty interesting and you’ll see them everywhere)

Happiness is going to your favorite Austrian chain restaurant and having a peaceful, quiet and pleasant time with your young toddler. (I had to take a video because I could barely believe it was pleasant to go out to eat with a small child). Happiness is also sometimes just getting takeout Asian noodles and heading back to your accommodation to let your little one run around freely after two previous “restaurant-like” experiences that day. I think everyone is happier that way and this is why holiday apartments are top in my book with a small child. Happiness also happens to be picking out some items that I can’t easily find here in Czechland. The Julius Meinl flagship store in the center is the best for anytime of foodie needs your heart desires, and I do always love a good browse in the Denn’s Biomarkt when in a German-speaking country.

We headed home the same morning that all the Easter markets opened so we timed it just right to visit the ones at Freyung and Am Hof before departing and ended up with a giant pretzel to enjoy on the three-hour journey home.

Always glad to pop in and say hi to Vienna and get to know with every trip more about what makes this city tick.

Otherwise, we’ve celebrated the vernal equinox the past week! On the first day of spring I sat in the sun making daisy chains and drinking coffee while M napped in his pram and had such a beautiful afternoon out. It seemed like a really good use of time, and whoah, I’ve been going through a slight coffee obsession period! I’m typically a tea gal but I delight in the little robot automat coffees for 20kc you can find all over the city. It also hasn’t helped that a Starbucks (first Starbucks in Budejovice!) has opened in our fair city. (For anyone wondering why I care about Starbucks, maybe see this page).

Our Little Mouse at 21 months has been more and more… toddler-ish. He uses intonation sounds and some sign language to communicate with us right now but often breaks into a spate of jargon or babbling which sounds exactly like words… but aren’t words. It’s a very dear time! He also goes into what we call “gremlin mode” at times, however, becoming a marauder and looking for something, anything interesting to pillage. Things are fun and busy!

I’m wishing you a very peaceful and pleasant Easter time (if you observe).

PS, Can’t believe eleven years ago our very first trip since moving abroad was to Vienna for Easter! Things sure were different.