Thursday, 3 January 2008


We arrived in Vienna and stayed near Westbahnhof - about 2.5 km from the centre of the old town (St Stephens, shown above, is pretty much the centre...) It was a city that we loved visiting!

Here we are outside St Stephen's after visiting the Catacombs beneath the Church (and the square). Lots of bones and tombs for the boys to look at.. lots of fun!

Here are the boys on the famous 'giant wheel' of Vienna. Look closely at Cameron's hands...its Dad's camera again! The Giant wheel was destroyed in the war and rebuilt, and is one of the iconic 'things to do' in Vienna. Working on the age-old formula of buy-a-photo and exit-through-the-gift-shop, it seems quite successful! We had a great ride, looking all around, and the boys were a bit sad that the neighboring fun-park in the Volkspraeter was closed for the Winter. The weather was reasonably clear, and we could see from the mountains to the new centre and the old town.

Here was a spinning globe outside the planetarium. To see Europe, head up on the platform behind. To see down under, you had to head...well...down under!

One of our many tours by foot took us to this park - lots of fun dashing about in the snow, chasing the poor ducks and pidgeons, running on the iced over lake (only after we saw lots of others doing it...
Strausse - famous composer in Vienna, or the German translation of Ostrich (OK, its 'Strauss' without the last 'e')...! Here in the park is the golden statue of Strausse. Never seen an ostrich with a violin, so I guess it must be the composer....
From the Volkspraeter Wheel, we wandered through the Volkspark and crossed the canal heading back into town. A couple of happy boys after dashing around the park, jumping on the big chunks of snow left on the sides of the paths from the snow-sweeping trucks.
This is the 'HundertwasserWein' - a building designed by the famous artist/architect Hundertwasser. The boys thought it was fabulous and wanted to go and see the Hundertwasser museum nearby. Here they are below on the stairs in the courtyard of the museum, with a few typical Hundertwasser features...
The boys loved the exhibition, and think they can draw some pictures in 'Hundertwasser style'!

Here are the boys at the Shoenbrunn Schloss. The boys were amazed at the size of the gardens, and were really interested little tourists inside. They asked lots of 'interesting' questions and discovered some interesting facts (for example "If there were 15 children, why are there only 11 in that picture?" and "Why do they all have the same face?", and by the end, the whole tour group had adopted them!
We set ourselves the task of using public transport to get to an attraction in the Vienna woods that we thought the boys would love - the biggest underground lake in Europe. It was a gypsum mine until 20 Million of litres flooded it, and it is now a lake! In WWII, the fusilage of the Hienkel 162 (one of the first jet planes) was assembled in here. It was deep underground and the Allies couldn't bomb that deep. The fusilages were shipped to Wien airport and put together there. Below is a sign showing the dimensions of the Seegrotte.

One of the many dark caves on the huge underground lake. We walked into the mine, and then had a boat tour. Really interesting stuff! It was only us, and a young Italian couple on the tour. It was warmer underground (constant 9 degrees) than the -5 above ground!

Here are the boys in the entrance tunnel - everything went in and out through here - the mine trucks and also the plane fusilages! These two 'dwarves' were about the right size to work in here, I would reckon!

We also visited the Butterfly House at the Hofburg Schloss - the kids loved it! Not as good as the Melbourne Zoo Butterfly House, but it was a great place to strip down and get warm after walking in the snow! Once again, I had no control over the camera, with both boys having a turn to tour the Butterfly house and capture their view.
Overall Vienna was great. We were there for New Years Wve, but the boys were so tired from all the walking and doing interesting stuff that they had 'crashed' by 9pm. At midnight, all of the fireworks sounded like a mixture of small arms fire and larger mortars and rockets... A bit of colourful fireworks in the sky, but the Viennese seemed to favour throwing crackers at each other...!!

We caught the plane back from Vienna and are now planning our next trips...which we will let you know about soon! Happy New Year.

1 comment:

Quilterin said...

Hi Nicole!
I just took a look at your Berlin-Blog and I`ve seen that you traveled to Vienna!
That`s a wonderful city! I was there in august last year.
My brother is living there and I will visit him in summer again.

Hope you enjoyed your time in Vienna!