In college I loved listening to Billy Joel tell me that Vienna was waiting for me. To slow down, crazy child and relax, Vienna was going to wait until I got there. Sure, it’s kind of a cheeseball song, but I loved that reassurance, that I didn’t need to do everything all at once. That my dreams would wait until it was their time.
Vienna was worth the wait. It is a beautiful city. And we were lucky enough to be guided through it by Rob and Mary Ann who know it so well and have such great taste when it comes to picking what is most interesting and authentic. Rob is a master Flâneur (one who wanders city streets, an urban explorer, a connoisseur of the streets) so he knew all the good stuff off the beaten path. That’s my idea of really seeing a city….finding the roads less traveled, the places more local. It makes me feel like I’m really seeing the core of the place, not just the rosy façade. We loved staying in their flat with high ceilings and a little balcony with a view of a green little plaza. It was a full house, but they had it all so perfectly set up for us. The kids were delighted to be with their cousins, especially since they’re all so big and grown up and worthy of being idolized. On the first day we hit the streets. We passed by so many beautiful buildings, full of detail that seems a little lost in todays world. Our first stop was St. Stephans cathedral right in the middle of town. We climbed all 343 stairs to the top of the tower where we could look out over the city and get our bearings straight. And see amazing roof of the cathedral (which I was obviously really obsessed with).
Clearly obsessed. Here is will explaining to Charlie why spiral staircases are built the way they are in old fortresses. And here they are in the staircase. We walked down this staircase to the sound of what seemed like thousands of church bells all going off at once. That was one of my favorite moments in the day. And here they all are climbing on a replica of the cathedral. Here I am inside, couldn’t get one of the kids to come and pose with me, crazy kids. I loved the juxtaposition of old and new in this city. Like how those mirrored buildings so beautifully reflect the old ones.
These two cousins were inseparable. I love how Emmeline relates to almost everyone outside of our family. She’s kind and cheerful and mostly really pretty fun to be around. She’s not really always like that with us…..Peter got some awesomely tall shoulder rides through the city. ^^^ here me and Hazel are inside a really fancy bathroom in one of the main squares. It’s designed by someone famous….help Mary Ann, I can’t remember. You had to pay to use the bathroom everywhere you went, which the kids thought was the most unfair thing in the world.
Beautiful McShum women. Love it that Hazel has these women to look up to. The are as strong and smart and good as it gets.
Super fancy cake store. ^^
Here is the Imperial Palace, the seat of the Habsburg empire for more than seven centuries. It seemed like that palace went on and on forever and ever. Emmeline was pretty More parts of the palace, that place goes on and on and on. Love these Shumway girl cousins. This one? She’s got some sass. I love how photos make that sass look so much cuter than it is in some situations (say, when she’s trying to get her way with someone). She is really pretty cute. I just don’t see it all the time in the living present. Oh, boy cousins. Em puts up with their teasing so much better than she does with Charlie'sFor lunch we had wiener schnitzel at this pretty awesome off the beaten track find by BIL Rob. It’s the palace library cafeteria and they just serve one thing. And it’s huge and pretty awesome. See all those happy schnitzel smiles? We went to the schmetterling haus next (butterfly house). It was hot and humid and brimming with little fluttering life. Next super man Papa Rob took off with all those kids so that Mary Ann and I could wonder the streets in peace. What a treat!We wandered through courtyards and past amazing architecture while Rob took the kids to see this: And this stature of Mozart, no doubt he was teaching them stuff under the radar the whole way. That man has an amazing talent with kids, he can get them to do educational stuff and make them not only not notice, but love it. We met back up with him here at this awesome playground. Every playground I visit in Europe makes me hate US playgrounds even more. So boring!We had an early dinner (not sure why, since we ate so much at lunch, but still, the kids were whining so we stopped for pizza).We stopped in this incredible baroque cathedral where cousin will pontificated on the wonders of this multidimensional art. Loved hearing a super cool teenage boy (who Charlie idolizes) get so excited about art.
By the time we made it to the bribe (amazing gelato) the kids were beat and ready to call it a day. So Rob took them back to their apartment to veg out while Mary Ann and I took a last little trip up to see this power plant designed by Friedensreich Hundertwasser. Such a cool way to make a Power Plant much more interesting and aesthetically pleasing. I love his quirky style. What a mind.
What a day! I can’t believe we really did all of that in one day. It didn’t feel as crazy living it as I feel looking through all these pictures. That was a lot of cool stuff to digest. I think the key was having someone like Rob and Mary Ann guide you around….it felt pretty much effortless for me to expose my kids to all that richness. I’m sure it didn’t feel that effortless to our hosts. I highly recommend the Rob and Mary Ann Vienna tour!.