Monday, November 02, 2015


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.  IMG_2376

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.     IMG_2363We 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.   IMG_2364IMG_2368IMG_2369IMG_2371On the first day we hit the streets.  IMG_2373IMG_2374We passed by so many beautiful buildings, full of detail that seems a little lost in todays world. IMG_2378Our 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).IMG_2380

IMG_2387IMG_2390IMG_2394Clearly obsessed. IMG_2400IMG_2398IMG_2404Here is will explaining to Charlie why spiral staircases are built the way they are in old fortresses.  IMG_2406IMG_2408And 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.  IMG_2414And here they all are climbing on a replica of the cathedral.  IMG_2423IMG_2426IMG_2429IMG_2433Here I am inside, couldn’t get one of the kids to come and pose with me, crazy kids. IMG_2436IMG_2412I loved the juxtaposition of old and new in this city.  Like how those mirrored buildings so beautifully reflect the old ones.  IMG_2381

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…..IMG_2382

IMG_2383IMG_2438IMG_2443IMG_2445IMG_2449Peter got some awesomely tall shoulder rides through the city.  IMG_2451IMG_2452^^^ 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.  IMG_2459

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.  ^^

IMG_2473Here 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.  IMG_2475IMG_2484IMG_2489Emmeline was pretty IMG_2491IMG_2497IMG_2502More parts of the palace, that place goes on and on and on.  Love these Shumway girl cousins.  IMG_2504IMG_2528IMG_2537This 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.  IMG_2542IMG_2544Oh, boy cousins.  Em puts up with their teasing so much better than she does with Charlie'sIMG_2560IMG_2562For 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? IMG_2563IMG_2509We went to the schmetterling haus next (butterfly house).  It was hot and humid and brimming with little fluttering life.  IMG_2566IMG_2575IMG_2581IMG_2582IMG_2586IMG_2603IMG_2610IMG_2618Next 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!IMG_2624IMG_2648We wandered through courtyards and past amazing architecture while Rob took the kids to see this: IMG_8382And 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.  IMG_8384We 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!IMG_2626IMG_2628IMG_2634IMG_2635We 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).IMG_2639IMG_2652IMG_2653IMG_2657IMG_2661IMG_2664We 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.  IMG_2666IMG_2668IMG_2670IMG_2673IMG_2675IMG_2682

IMG_2684By 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!.


  1. Your photo's are stunning. So much beauty. Thank-you for sharing.

  2. sweet. I'm loving these trip reports sayds! we are going to Vienna in December and this makes me super excited! I'll have to get in touch with mary anne to learn the must-dos-in-one-day.

  3. Heck! Now we have to go to Vienna! Or, on second thought maybe we don't1 We've just seen the very best of that beautiful city! Love that Rob and Mary Ann and their great kids! They are first class! So glad you did it! You have an adventuresome soul and I love it!

  4. Love all the big cousin/little cousin interactions!

    Be sure to go easy on Emmeline. International travel is hard. Growing up is hard. Kids learn about who they are from their parents. If she infers that her parents find her difficult then she is going to think of herself as that way.

    1. This comment has been removed by the author.

    2. Oh Jenny, thank you for that wake up call! I just went through that post and noticed that I commented on my struggles with Emmeline twice! Must have been a rough day around here. You're right, I need to make sure I reflect goodness back to her. We really do adore her and all her spunk. It's such a good reminder to not label kids....growing up is hard, and I know she is doing her best.

      Thanks for the comment.

      12:43 PM

  5. Love your photos and your honesty! Thanks for sharing a slice of your life with us, and as a "young" mother (only 1 child) inspiring me that even as we have more children we can continue to travel! Perhaps with more headaches, but we can still do it! :) Thanks for sharing.

  6. So miss this place. We spent a whirl wind day there with two littles and loved it. The Vienna opera house was my favorite. And the roof of the cathedral. Our kids were really little (still are :) ) but they absolutely love looking at all the pictures and reading about our Europe adventures.



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