One Weekend In Vienna - Travelling With Children
The Vienna Giant Wheel
The Vienna Giant Ferris Wheel (Das Wiener Riesenrad) was one of the things that my children wanted to try in the Prater amusement park in Vienna, when we took a weekend trip to Vienna, the capital of Austria. Most of the time I was scared to death sitting in that old "tree box" 210 feet (64 meters) up in the air going round in the big wheel. I survived.
Last weekend we took a trip to Vienna, Austria. We are a family of four. Our children are a four year old girl and a five year old boy, their dad and me, the mum. It was the first time the children went by an airplane. I'm not sure what they expected, but they seemed to like it and they weren't scared at all. Maybe I was the one, who was most excited. I have always wanted to see Vienna with its beautiful buildings and rich cultural life. I knew that this trip wouldn't be a trip for adults and classical concerts even if we happend to spend the New Years Eve there. It would be a short family vacation with a visit to a zoo and an amusement park.
We had only two whole days to spend in this beautiful city, and that's why we decided not to do and see too many things. Kids' legs can't walk very far and their parents will probably get tired pretty too. When travelling with children, you should adjust to them and their ability. They can't decide or really plan what to do on a trip, but you need to do things they like. Otherwise you'll probably end up with tired, screaming kids at the end of the day.
Waiting at the airport ...
9.30 a.m.: We packed the car and drove more than six hours towards Helsinki, the capital of Finland. The plane was leaving 5.30 p.m. and one hour later (5.30 p.m. in Sweden) we landed in Stockholm, Sweden. At 8.20 p.m. the next plane left Scandinavia and 10.40 p.m. we landed in Vienna, Austria. It had been a long day. We took a taxi to the hotel a little outside the city centre. We got a very large room, almost like a suite. The whole family loved this hotel even if was pretty small and didn't have a restaurant. It had a very familial atmosphere. They served a good breakfast, and we were happy to have chosen this hotel.
The Schönbrunn Palace
After a nice breakfast, we bought the Vienna card at the hotel reception. With the Vienna Card we could use all public transportation in the city for 72 hours, and it also gave us discounts on several tourist attractions in the city. This morning we went to the Schönbrunn Palace. There were thousands of other tourists waiting in line at the entrance. At last we got in and were audio guided through 30 rooms. This was not very interesting for the children, but they were going to get their fun too.
I was amazed by the Palace. Palaces always seem to fascinate me. After the tour we went to the Schönbrunn Zoo. It took the whole afternoon to see all the exotic animals. All the activity this day made us very tired and hungry. When we finally arrived at the hotel after a moment of tiredness and crying kids, the children could take a bath at the hotel. They were thrilled over the bath tub! Finally we were all clean, looked good and smelled good, but we were hungry. We desided to go to nearest restaurant that was a Chinese restaurant. It was a very good choice. The kids had some rise and spring rolls – one of their favourite foods. Me and my spouse had very good food too and shared a bottle of Austrian red wine. My feet hurt a lot after this day, but I was happy and slept like a baby all night.
We woke up to a sunny morning and had a nice breakfast again. This was the last day in year 2011. We wanted to see some of the great, beautiful buildings in Vienna and went on a sightseeing tour by bus. Before that - while waiting for the tour to start - we explored a little of the Karlplatz by foot and tried the famous Sacher torte at a Café. I tried to take in all the impressions in the City – everything I saw, tasted, heard and smelled. I really enjoyed the atmosphere.
During the sightseeing tour, we could rest our legs for a while and just learn about the history of Vienna, the cultural life and facts about the buildings. It was already 3 pm in the afternoon as we got off the bus, did some shopping and went back to the hotel. Just like the day before we took a bath and put some nice clothes on. After all it was New Years Eve. I knew that I wouldn't experience any famous New Year's Concert in Vienna this time. I'm the only one in our family, who would have the patience to go to a classical music concert or to the opera. It would be very nice, but I put my family's interests first.
This evening we went to a small, cosy Italian restaurant that the hotel staff had recommended. They served delicious food. I couldn't have had any better food in New Year's Eve. When we went out on the Vienna streets, fireworks were being shot all over. We took the tram and the metro to an amusement park. The Vienna Giant Ferris Wheel (Das Wiener Riesenrad) was one of the things that my children wanted to try in the Prater amusement park in Vienna. Most of the time I was scared to death sitting in an old tree box 210 feet (64 meters) up in the air. I survived. The fireworks were getting more intense. I was a little worried to be around thousands of drunk people and the smell and noise of fireworks being shot all around us. That's why we decided to go back to the hotel. From the hotel room we watched fireworks when year 2011 turned into year 2012. We had a short night ahead of us. The next morning we left Vienna.
7.00 a.m.: A taxi took us to the airport. At 8.45 a.m. the airplane left for Frankfurt, Germany. We spent many hours at the airport in Frankfurt. Everyone in the family was very tired. On the next plane to Helsinki, our four year old daughter slept all the way. Around 6.00 p.m. we arrived at Helsinki airport. We thought about staying another night at a hotel in southern Finland instead of driving home because of our tiredness. I was the one, who wanted to sleep in my own bed, so we kept driving. Finally we arrived at home 1.00 a.m. and my three cats were happy to see us.
It was a very good trip. I loved to spend time with my family. I got to see Vienna, a city I've always wanted to go to. Of course you can't do everything you'd like to in a big city, when you only have two days. At least I got a taste of the beautiful Austrian capital. I'm so proud of our two children, who had the patience to sit for hours in the car and to be waiting for airplanes at four different airports. I would do it all over. Maybe we'll go to a different destination next time. Vienna was great for everyone. I will remember this trip for a very long time.
St. Stephen's Cathedral
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