Vienna’s Versailles.  A suburban oasis, filled with flowers, stables, fountains, and busloads of tourists who have all come for the view.



We are tourists and loving it!  Well, at least I am.  Since school has yet to start, Mike and the boys have been briskly touring all of Vienna’s famous parts, which meant that today they were more excited about feeding the ducks then learning about the Neptune Fountain.  In this culture of fresh bread that loses its integrity by evening, it means we’ve always got some crusty bread lying around for ducks.

“The water makes it soft, like soup!  Mom, these are the ducks’ croutons!”  Yes, Eli.


Shonbrunn is beautiful, also home to the zoo and a children’s museum.  We’ve noticed that lots of famous buildings in Vienna are this same shade of yellow.  I wonder if hundreds of years ago there was a sale on yellow paint?




As jaded as it sounds, touring palaces gets old when you live across the street from one.  After taking a few forced photos of ourselves in front of fountains and making the kids hike to the top of the hill, we had a picnic of ham and cheese pretzel rolls, then took them to the playground.  Vienna through the eyes of children!  The playground at Schonbrunn is the best we’ve found so far in the city, and we can’t figure out why none of the guide books or websites mention it exists.

Where else can you flap yourself up and down in a giant metal bird swing?


Or get lost in a labyrinth originally planted in the 1700’s, made of hedges taller than even Mike?



Here is Jake, climbing all by himself to ring the “climbing chiming bells.”


Here is Daddy… what are you doing Daddy?….


Helping the boys make a video of a tsunami destroying Schonbrunn….. ah, okay.


Hey, they sell Ben and Jerry’s cookie dough ice cream here!  In fact, everywhere sells Ben and Jerry’s cookie dough ice cream.  Why only cookie dough?  Where’s the Half Baked?

Another neat thing we’ve discovered in Vienna are the public toilets.  Giant, stainless steel structures, with automatic locks and running water, and little green lights that tell you when it’s okay to open the door.  Very different from crouching alongside the road in Zambia, hoping nothing runs down the sand into my shoes!  Of course in Zambia, Jake and Eli were less interested in the details of my experience and weren’t repeatedly opening and closing the door to make sure I knew where to find the soap.  But I guess here, I don’t have to worry about truckloads of strangers driving by and getting an unexpected glimpse of my nether regions.  “Mom, did your toilet seat turn around yet?”  The toilet seats here do this crazy thing where the entire seat literally spins around through a stream of soap and water, like a car wash.   Except it’s a Seat Wash.  Jake and Eli were ecstatic.

Another fun and unexpectedly educational day, out experiencing the city.  We are always learning something new!