Today was our first and only full day in Vienna. We’ll leave tomorrow to head back to Czech Republic, so we really tried to make today fun and special. One thing that Bethany really wanted to do was go and see the Schönbrunn Palace. I didn’t know much about it until I stayed up last night researching and mapping out our course to make sure I knew how to get there and what it would be like. The more I read online last night the more excited I got as I knew it would be a fun day for all of us.
It’s an amazing place. The size is almost overwhelming, and I don’t just mean the house itself, but the estate. It must be a quarter of a mile from the front gate to the house and then it’s completely surrounded by huge garden areas. The back yard has it’s own hill with an entire other structure that top. When you stand and look from top you can see all of Vienna. I joked that we think the White House is a big deal, but it might as well be a guest house compared to this palace. In one entire section of the grounds there is a zoo. Yes, a literal zoo that was honestly the highlight of the day for our kids. I don’t think I’ve ever been so close to so many exotic animals, and they were very active today so it there really wasn’t anything we didn’t see. Here’s a bunch of photos from the zoo.
Another part of the gardens include human size mazes. We spent the first few minutes in the maze worried we were going to lose our kids, but then Bethany ran after Titus and at one point he came flying by me from the other direction (apparently doing a circle) and I just started laughing. It was crazy in there and finally Titus ran all the way back to the entrance and we could hear him yelling “I found it! I found it!” We couldn’t convince them to try to do it again, so Bethany took the kids to the play area right next to the maze and I went back in. When you reach the end you go up the stairs to overlook the entire maze. It was actually a lot of fun. There’s a short exit to get out of there so I did that and joined them at the park.
When everyone was winding down we decided to go on the audio guided tour of the palace house. I thought for sure the kids were going to melt down as we had been walking all morning, but to my surprise the tour people gave our kids headsets and they thought it was great. People were staring at Avery because she was holding the headset to herself just like everyone else. “This is the ‘millions room’…” the guide would say, “…and everything in here is solid gold.” Imagine a two and four year old listening to that, but that’s what our kids were doing.
Thankfully it wasn’t a really long tour so when we finished we ended up leaving the entire facility. Avery fell asleep in the stroller on the way back to the car and they both were out by the time we drove back to the hotel. Bethany and I joined in the napping fun too and we all woke up again around 5pm. I did some hunting online for good food and we were amazed to find a Mexican restaurant called Fresco Grill! It’s owned by Americans, and they serve really great burritos (very similar to Chipotle). Honestly, I was so excited to have Mexican food and the cherry on top was that they had Dr. Pepper! Dr. Pepper in Vienna! Cheers!
After dinner we finished things off by going on a giant ferris wheel. When we bought our zoo tickets this afternoon they offered a discount to buy the tickets combined with the ferris wheel so we did it. It’s a really fun little 10-15 minute ride and you’re inside a giant box thing. Unfortunately, it was a little dark to really see, but I bet in the day time the view is spectacular. Here’s a few shots of and from the ferris wheel.
Although we had some time off right before we came to Czech, we haven’t really just vacationed as a family in a really long time. It was a lot of fun to just be together and enjoy a new place in this land they call Europe. It’s been a very relaxing and fun trip, and we’ve trie not to tie ourselves to too much of a schedule. We’re thankful for this time as a family and praise God for this little trip and some time of vacation, or as they say here, holiday.
Looking for more photos of our day today? Look no further than right here. Enjoy!