If you go to Vienna with kids you must visit Schönbrunn Palace. It was the summer palace of the Hapsburgs, built to it’s glory by Maria Theresa back the mid 1700’s. I guess you should go there even if you don’t have kids along. It’s amazing. We had such a fantastic day there wandering the gardens and seeing the views and exploring the Children’s museum. That museum was the best children’s museum I’ve been to. Whoever set it up certainly knows what makes kids tick. My kids could have spent days in there. First, there was the dress up part. Yup, they could have spent a few days in there trying on those baroque clothes. Well, the girls could have for sure. Don’t let Charlie’s uncomfortable face fool you, he was just trying to play the serious part. He was eating this stuff up. Here’s the best photo of the day ^^^ Not sure if I’m scolding Emmeline or if she and I are singing an opera duet. The whole mcshumland crew.Some smiles, and some funny faces thrown in there. The girls put on outfit after outfit, adoring themselves in the mirrors. Don’t you love the sparkly shoes? Totally authentic. Mcfarlands rock. I think by this point Charlie might have been a little tiny bit tired of that wig. ^^Hazel and this gentleman couldn’t keep their eyes off each other. Clearly that lady in the red dress is jealous. Sweet Ms. Emmeline Rose.
This ^^^ was not a posed shot. Emmeline spent about half her time there admiring her reflection. It is a pretty adorable reflection. Next we made it to the hair styling room. This was another huge hit with both genders. Another hour whizzed by with these kids styling wig hair. No one quite managed to style it into the shape of a ship like Marie Antoinette would have done, but they came up with some elaborate stuff. And then there was the dining room. These kids spent another huge chunk of time setting up this table for the fanciest feast of their lives. Wish they’d be that excited and focused about setting a table at home!We also got to walk through rooms set up like they would have been for the little ladies and gents of the eighteenth century. I love this room ^^^. Pictures weren’t really recommended so those were the only ones I have.
The grounds weren’t too bad either. Miles of gardens and tree lined tunnels and verandas overlooking grand views. It wouldn’t have been too bad of a life, Hapsburg royalty. Maybe just a little hot and tired. We also got to see these amazingly elaborate carriages.
This hedge maze was fun, but it was hard to tear the kids away from that playground in the background. They designed a really elaborate “factory” game and were including kids from all over Europe in their play. I LOVE playgrounds that encourage kids to work together. So, while they played we got to sit on this lovely bench and relax and eat Corny bars.
We ended the day with a concert for me and the two big kids and their big cousin Maddie in the Royal palace back in the heart of Vienna. Hazel and Charlie REALLY didn’t want to go to a concert, but I pushed and prodded and threatened and forced until they acquiesced. During all that forcing I worried I was pushing them away from music and culture. I just didn’t think you could be in that city where music is part of its bones and pass up a chance to hear Beethoven in a palace. My mother would have pushed, my grandmother would have pushed, so I pushed. And it was a pretty tedious concert (56 variations on an old harpsichord piano) and they were the youngest in the audience by about 65 years, but they made it and were happy afterwards. All those old people looked at me worried, like I was crazy and was going to ruin their experience. Luckily the kids were quite (drawing in their programs) and I think I caught a few impressed glances. Someone has got to raise the next generation to appreciate the arts, right? I don’t think they will survive if our kids aren’t exposed. I still wonder if this pushing will push my kids away from the cultural things I love. It may, but I also remember resisting my mother and now somehow these experiences feel a part of who I am, I’m compelled by art and music since it was planted inside of me while I was young. Anyway, sorry about the rant, this is something I’m wrestling with. Here they are before and after the concert. I think they were a little tiny bit happy they had survived it.
Aside from the whining about the concert, this was a pretty perfect day. Especially since it ended with this sunset and Jeff arriving finally to join us for the last part of our trip. It was so good to see that man.