We recently traveled to Vienna, Austria and Bratislava, Slovakia.

Before we arrived both cities had been experiencing a heat wave, with temperatures reaching 100F (37C). When we landed in Bratislava it was disgustingly hot. Luckily things cooled down a bit as the week went on.

We took the hour long train ride from Bratislava to Vienna. Thankfully we got seats in the air conditioned car. We made our way from Wien Hauptbanhoff (which was not on any of our maps) to our flat on the very efficient Viennese public transport system. After a long day of traveling we found a nearby playground and ate pizza in the park.

The next morning we decided to beat the heat by getting out of the city center. We headed to Schloss Schönbrunn (Schönbrunn Palace), another World Heritage Site!

The gardens were very large and beautiful. The views from the top looking back at the palace were unbeatable. Someone, who will remain nameless, slept through the whole walk up to the top.

In addition to the (free) formal gardens, the grounds of the palace had paid sections including a public pool (expensive), a zoo, and a maze. We visited the maze portion and took advantage of the playground.

In the afternoon a storm started to roll in so we headed back into the city. We took the U-Bahn to the naschmarkt and wandered through the delicious looking food stalls. We returned to the market several times during our visit for tasty things.

We had some fun playing in a park before wandering down towards Stephanplatz. We passed the Sacher Hotel, home of the sachertorte, but alas, we didn’t stop in for a taste. St. Stephen’s Cathedral was very tall and very crowded. Neil was not impressed.

That night we dined al fresco at a Viennese restaurant near our flat. The schnitzel was amazing (and not greasy) and the goulash came with a hotdog/weiner!

Saturday morning we started off the day with a visit to a traditional Viennese cafe. Cafe Sperl had a gorgeous old interior and was very “kinder” friendly! There was a table in the back corner reserved for families with a box of toys to play with. Neil had fun while we enjoyed our coffees and pastries.

We then headed to see the Hofburg Palace. It is actually more of a complex made up of many buildings serving a variety of purposes today.

Children’s author Marguerite Henry wrote a book, The White Stallions of Lipizza, about the famous dancing horses of the Spanish Riding School. We realized that the school is in Vienna and we were excited to see a rehearsal (performances must be booked months in advance). Unfortunately, children under 3 aren’t allowed in. But we did get to peak at the stables and we saw some of the stallions walking to practice.

Across from the palace is the Volksgarten (people’s garden) which had lots of roses and fountains full of ducks. We like ducks.

After grabbing some take-away sushi we found a playground in front of St Charles’s Church and had a picnic. For some reason the sculpture that is usually found in the reflecting pool in front of the church wasn’t there and in its place was a piano.

Continuing on, we passed the Soviet War Memorial, a WWII memorial to the Soviet soldiers who died in the battle for Vienna. It was very windy and the spray from the fountain was blowing everywhere.

We took advantage of naptime to pay a visit to the Belvedere Museum, housed in a former palace. We saw lots of art like Klimt’s The Kiss and Judith and some weird face sculptures

After nap ended we spent some time playing with rocks in the gardens of the Belvedere. For dinner we feasted on Weinerwurst from a Würstelstand (hot dog stand) washed down with beer.

Our final morning in Vienna was spent at the Prater a giant amusement park/public park/sports complex. We rode the ferris wheel, took a ride on the liliputbahn (little train), and went swimming.

We then made our way to the train station and left Vienna for Bratislava!

Auf Wiedersehen!

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