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Finally, Vienna Explorations!

December 21, 2007

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It was a red letter day, when I finally felt strong enough to make it into the city! We may have had to give up some things, but I was not about to leave Vienna without seeing anything but their top hospital. I had to take it a little slow, but I was bound and determined to see and do a little. It was a little strange to be out and about in the world again and at first my senses felt overwhelmed, just by traffic and the rush of life, but as the day progressed that wooziness wore off.

The mass transit in Vienna is one of the best we have used. Instead of the endless steps that are common in such stations, they had tons of escalators and sometimes elevators. This was a slight problem because I wore my Crocs and had recently read articles (with graphic pictures) of people who lost toes on escalators. Some say there is something about the way they are built that can make them dangerous on escalators. Having just recovered from one bloody mess, I was extra leery of creating another, so we decided to take the stairs or hunt down the elevators. I made a mental note not to wear them for any more touring in Vienna...duh.

We started at the famous 13th century Gothic masterpiece, St Stephen’s Cathedral, with its unusual multicolored tile roof in the central area inside the Ringstrasse. There are always a colorful line-up of people dressed in Mozart-like period costumes, hanging around this prime landmark. Maybe too touristy for people who live there, but great fun for our little Mozart.

Many of them are selling tickets to various performances around Vienna and there was a likable fellow from Croatia who stood out. We had planned to see many performances, but my bloody-nose-recovery took care of that window of time. Still, we wanted to at least see something and this sounded as good as anything else. We gabbed, haggled and then decided to go for it. We hadn't meant to buy tickets here, but left with them for the following night, half happily and half wondering if we did the right thing.

Inside the church, Mozart wanted to light another candle and pray for her Grandpa which she always does on her own volition. Later she climbed on a statue of it outside and we debated about which was our favorite gargoyle.

Wien, as they call Vienna in Austria, is yet another Mozart town. He played one of his first concerts at six in Vienna, he happily moved there as a young man, and later even died there at thirty five. So, of course, we had to see the “Mozarthaus Vienna” that is made into a museum and we liked the presentation much better than his two houses in Salzburg.

On the way there we ran into a bookstore that had some English books, which made our Mozart squeal with delight. Needless to say, we took a break here (Mozart in their comfy kid chair) and did a little reading. Between the store and the museum, we found two great new kids books on Mozart.

So for you book lovers, here is what we got: “W.A. Mozart a musical picture book” by Betz (ISBN 3-219-11233-1) and by National Geographic, “Mozart, The Boy Who Changed The World With His Music” (ISBN 978-1-4263-0002-8). They are both really nice in different ways and helped reinforce all that we have learned lately about this genius. The picture book even comes with a CD. We all learned by reading them together.

She also already has “Mozart's Magnificent Voyage” by Classical Kids that provides biographical information about Mozart through an entertaining story that is laced with his most famous music. That is a  great series! We are glad that we brought it with us along with the Boomerang and Jim Weiss storytelling series.

I am not sure if I mentioned this or not, but I don't see it so I hope not. One of the things we found interesting is that Mozart was extremely affected by his extensive travels as a child. He even traveled with a piano like our little Mozart! I knew he had traveled, but I never took into consideration how much or how  that colored his whole life and how it was much different than other children. He saw much more of the world than most children of that time and was exposed to the best in the world, which impacted his music and his entire life.

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Hi,

We may be in Vienna for 3 days during July, I really want to explore the beauty of alps for 1 day at least, but is it feasible trying to do that from Vienna? I can't seem to find enough information about how to get from Vienna to Hallstat or a closer Alp location. Your blog is amazing,I love reading up on all your adventures!Thanks you

Cristina

I've been to Vienna in Aug 2008 for 5 days. And we are going back in little under 2 weeks. The city is magical and you surely missed a lot. I cannot pinpoint what i loved, b/c i loved it all. I do recommend the Zoo, particularly for the kids [but then again two big kids, me & hubby , loved it!]. And the Planetarium (near Prater) is supposed to be neat. We haven't visited it (it was closed when we went to Prater). I plan to see the Technical Museum (again, was closed when we passed by it) and the Clock Museum this summer.

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