Schweizerhaus

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A.k.a. “Swiss House”

A.k.a. “The Place Where You Can Eat A Huge Roasted Piece Of Pig”

With a reputation like that, how could we not try this?  Tourist trap be damned.  We are going to the Schweizerhaus tonight!  And we get to ride the tram!

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Every weekend we are learning something new about Vienna, and this weekend was devoted to the Prater, a huge public park almost 5 km wide and home to the oldest amusement park in the world.  There are trees and fountains and playgrounds around every corner, not to mention this 9 meter swing.  It even makes Mike looks small.

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Hold on, Jake!

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I’m not sure why they are taking their shirts off all the time these days.  They are also starting to need deodorant.  What is happening to my babies?

And when did they get old enough to think going on rides like this is fun?

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The amusement park portion of the Prater is loud, vibrant, busy, and overwhelming at times for those of us who easily reach sensory overload.  The mix of people was equally impressive, once again revealing the unifying variable of “parent” that crosses any cultural divide.  We were queuing for tickets and dodging through strollers with short, light, dark, tall, and all human traits in between.  If there is an immigration wave occurring in Europe I suppose it matters somehow, but for all of us parents, we are just trying to treat our kids to a little magic on Saturday night.

Objective accomplished.

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A day spent in the park works up an appetite!  Luckily the crafters of this urban oasis have made sure nobody will go hungry.  Kebab stands and Wurstel carts stand alongside shops selling fried bread and huge chocolate dipped marshmallows, all very tempting, but we were in the mood to have dinner sitting down.  Enter the Schweizerhaus.  A Vienna institution, it is an outdoor biergarten that specializes in pork knuckles.  And beer.  I’m not so sure that I’ll ever love German or Austrian beer, it’s a little bit bland and watery compared to the IPAs we’ve snobbishly grown to love, but we are in Europe in a beer garden, and it’s time for Happy Hour!

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Deciphering menus remains a challenge.  The smell of garlic was strong in the air and we kept trying to figure out what people were ordering, only later to discover it was the “erdapfelpuffer mit knoblauch,” sort of a big flat tater tot smothered in garlic.  It was probably a good thing that we didn’t figure out the erdapfelpuffer though, as we had a hard enough time conquering our Pork Knuckle.

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Heavy and crispy with a crust of roasted fat, the pork knuckle was like nothing we’ve ever had before.  After two plates of schnitzel, fries, and a platter of kraut salad, we ruefully wished we only ordered the Knuckle.  It was huge!  And delicious.  So delicious we are going back again next weekend.

To visit the Schweizerhaus, and maybe take in the Ferris Wheel too!

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