30 April 2012

Spud's Vienna: 6 Favourite Things

Here it is. Spud's official top 6 experiences he had in our recent 5 day visit to Vienna.

6. The Easter Market. This would probably be higher on the list if we were allowed to actually buy something but those gorgeous delicate eggs would never have made it home in tact.

Decorated eggs as far as the eye can see ...

5. Hot Dogs. Not just ordinary hot dogs. Awesome, giant hot dogs that are way less messy than at home ... read this earlier post to find out what makes them so special.

4. Transportation. We took trams and the underground as much as possible. From our perspective it was all clean and safe and reliable. From Spud's perspective, well, it was about things that go. That says it all.

3. Photographing architecture. Spud is in love with structures of all types. Modern and antique alike. So he was in his heaven; whether taking a little trip out to the Hapsburg's summer palace or spontaneously popping into a random church in the city ... happy kid.

2. Making bread at Zoom, the Kindermuseum. And eating it! Posted earlier here.

1. Riding the over 100 year old ferris wheel! Not to mention the other rides. And just taking in the fair-like festivities after dark.

28 April 2012

Be Creative Every Day: Draw A Stick Man

Spud's GrandMary sent this fun, creative, online activity to us, called Draw A Stick Man.

There are 2 episodes (we wish there were more!) each one telling a story that requires the listener to draw in props throughout. Such a great idea.

Here is Spud's stick man in a tiger costume!

We are going to try it on our iPhone next ... it's free!

27 April 2012

Strolling to Stephansdom


We did and saw a lot of cool stuff in our 5 days in Vienna. But some of my favourite sort of travel days are the ones where nothing much seems to happen ... where you just get a chance to quietly take it all in. Our first morning was like that. 

We arrived to our flat late in the night and being jet lagged we were up and out pretty early the next day. We started to walk. All we really knew was that we were going south, towards the old centre using their famous old church, known as the Steffl as our destination. We purposefully just trundled along, not over mapping or planning, perhaps hoping that we would take a wrong turn and see something unexpected. It didn't really matter where we were going, we just wanted to be there. 

Unfortunately the walk only took about 30 minutes and we didn't get lost. But we had fun admiring the architecture, old and shiny-new, and the canal, and the trams, and bike lanes, and just all the things that were different from home. And then finally to the grand European square, Stephansplatz, and the Steffl itself. 

Hubs and I have seen many, many old churches, and it's easy to find one thing or another to appreciate about each one. But Spud, being born and raised in a city where a building is considered old if it was constructed in the 1930s, was in his little heaven. He's always had a passion for architecture and it was a treat to hand him the camera and watch him take it all in. So some of these shots are mine, some Hubs', and some Spud's ...

21 April 2012

Vienna's Kindermuseum and The Museum Quarter

We didn't get near enough time to explore this area of Vienna but the museum quarter is in my top favourites list. Museum after museum and a several cool gathering places that are well used for meet ups and hanging out. I liked the artsy-hipster people-watching. Spud found fun places to explore and play. Coming from Vancouver, a similar sized city but with nothing even close to this level of cultural coolness, I have serious museum envy.

Love the versatility of these structures that make benches for sharing and mini tunnels for climbing around in. And they are mobile!

Here's the modern art museum. Love it when old meets crazy big, bold and new. Makes me so happy.

Here's the Leopold where we saw some Klimt and loads of Schiele. One of my highlights for sure.


The workshop that we signed up for was all about food. It covered many aspects including nutrition, production, issues around famine, and even the social side of food like the act of breaking bread with friends and family. The whole space was incredibly interactive (and beautifully designed!).

Spud is making bread!

Here Spud is choosing from different plates of meals, and putting them in the boy's "stomach" to see whether he declares them healthy or not. In German. The staff were genuinely lovely and helpful and even translated this activity for Spud.

After taking in all the exhibits while the bread baked, it was time to sit down and eat. Here are Spud's creations. They must have been good because he gobbled it all up.

TIP: The museum runs on a workshop-style basis so you have to sign up for a particular time, rather than showing up and hoping to just browse around at your leisure. It's worth it!

20 April 2012

Our Vienna Travel Journals


Here's a little peak into what sort of journaling we got up to while travelling in Vienna. We each managed to fill 1 of our pre-made journals in the 5 days we were there. Now they are lined up and ready to be bound together.

We had a mixed-media free for all. Watercolour. Stamps (which were added when we got home). Maps. Postcards. Stickers we found along the way. On and on.

These are the backs of our journals...

Inside Spud's are a lot of inventions ...

This one, he invented for me ... I think he was picking up on my love for Viennese coffee ...

This envelope holds a little book about our trip to the nearby amusement park.

Here's Spud's Vienna tram ...

My depiction of the whirlwind it took to get us to Vienna ...

My ode to their over 100 year old ferris wheel.

Hubs' ode to Klimt and Schiele.

15 April 2012

Family Friendly Eats in Vienna


We somehow ended up at Schwedenplatz a lot (it's an underground stop as well as a place to catch trams), where they have a lot of street food options. Gelato, noodles and donair! 

But the most memorable for us? The hot dog stands.

First they impale a fresh baguette-style bun on one of these spears above. It makes a hole to slip the wiener in. Perhaps it warms the bun as well? Then they sqeeze in the sauce of your choice (it makes eating it way less messy!). Then the wiener of your choice. Which can be a bit overwhelming. We asked for suggestions. Seen above is a sausage filled with cheese! (I didn't know that the wiener was named after Vienna — in German Wien ... no wonder they know what they are doing here.)

This is reportedly the most famous schnitzel house in Vienna, which is usually enough of a reason for us to avoid it. But for some reason, we decided to try it. And we were glad we did. The schnitzel itself can feed a small family, it's that big. If you are like me, and have had bad versions of schnitzel in the past you might look at it think it's dry and tasteless. But this is not the case here. It was tender and tasty. And the kid ate a remarkable amount of it.

That salad was not very Spud-friendly but I loved it!

And yes, we played with our food.

We saw this ad after we ate at the restaurant ... and thought it was kind of awesome that the man in the ad was actually our waiter!

Excellent value. Great ambiance. Ridiculous desserts! Really and truly. For lunch we ordered off the pre-set menu and had lovely things like goat cheese ravioli with beetroot sauce and other gourmet-ish yummies. The kid had bacon wrapped wieners with fries. Say no more!

And for the jet-lagged adults ... really good coffee.

Our accommodations included a kitchen so we had no problem squeezing in the missing food groups into our day. We always had a simple breakfast at home. Packed snacks of hard boiled eggs, apples, and chopped veg. And usually had a shmancy salad for dinner at home. Finding a Zielpunkt or Spar in our neighbourhood (North Praterstrasse) was no problem if we remembered that they are closed on Sundays.

Our favourite grocery store experiece was at a big one we found at the north train station (Wien Praterstern) on a Saturday night. It was packed! The line ups were crazy. We think it was so busy because it was open later than other stores in the area and that everyone knew that most things would be closed the next day.

In terms of dairy and produce, we found it had everything we needed. As a bonus we also found some delicious, warm, ready to eat chicken and pork at the deli. (Note: check to see if you are expected to weigh the produce before you get to the checkout). Even if you don't have a kitchen, you could picnic or at least have some nutritious snacks on hand.

All in all, we were able to eat well pretty frugally and got to try some new and locally traditional things.