Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Vienna Day 1

We got to Vienna in the early evening. We wanted to get out since we had been in the car all day so we just took a walk around the neighborhood of our hotel. We stayed pretty near the city center at a Marriott called The Imperial Riding School.

The train station was right behind our hotel which might sound bad but it was great. Train stations in Europe are nice, like little malls. There was a grocery store in it too which was nice for us.

The neighborhood around our hotel had really pretty streets with these huge beautiful buildings. After walking for a bit we realized many of them were embassy's. We found embassy's for Germany, England, Iran, China, Italy.

The building on the far right was the British Embassy. There was a gate with a do not enter sign. Naomi opened it and started to enter and a guard started moving her direction. Ken got her and explained she couldn't go in and showed her the guard. Since then it's turned into one of the kids favorite anecdotes. When they tell the story now it usually sounds something like:

Julius:  Remember when Naomi almost went to jail?
Naomi:  Yeah! I opened the gate and there was a guard that almost took me away because I wasn't supposed to go in.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Austrian Rest Stop #1

 Dad kept mentioning how Austria has the best rest stops. I thought, sure, how great can a rest stop be?? He said they always have sit down restaurants, not fast food. Many have incredible views. 
We pulled off at this one first. It was awesome because we were traveling with kiddos. There was a whole playground outside. The restaurant had seating inside and outside so you could watch the kids. It was a perfect break.

 Inside there was a slide that went downstairs to the bathrooms.

 Pirate ship playground.

mini zip line

 And to top it all off I had the best wiener schnitzel I had in all of Austria. At the rest stop.
There were pumpkin seeds in the crust. Need I say more?

Ken had this beef dish with giant beans. We had them several times in Austria...a little sour, kind of pickled, good.


 We left Venice and drove almost 6 hours to Vienna.
As soon as we crossed the border into Austria I was in love.
I took all of these pictures out of the car window while we were driving...I just couldn't help myself.

Monday, June 16, 2014


 We left the castle in Tuscany and drove 3 hours to a hotel in a town near Venice. When we got there Dad realized there was a bus that takes you right to Venice (about 30 min) and the bus stop was right outside our door. Dad was sure that would be much easier than driving in and parking. And it was. So we went to Venice for the afternoon and evening.

 And oh my goodness we loved Venice!
We weren't even sure we were going to go on this trip but it was on the way to Vienna so we did. 
It's really touristy, which I don't ever like, but I just ignored that and the city itself is amazing. I could have photographed every house, window, shop, canal, view...all were incredible. I did in fact take tons of pictures. And I'm putting most of them here because I just can't edit this batch. It's hard to imagine how it ever came to be.

 Rialto Bridge

 We rode down the Grand Canal and got off at St. Mark's square to wander.  We made our way out of the tourist traps and just wandered some of the quieter streets.

 St. Marks Square

 The cathedral was under construction

 The Cathedral

 The Bridge of Sighs
Prisoners had to walk across it into the prison.

Yummy treats

 Loved the porch and rooftop garden

 Good water

We walked through this square that looked like it had almost no tourists. Lots of local residents were hanging out and kids were playing. It was great.

 There was a garden planted in the square.

 Dad took us to a restaurant he goes to every time he's in Venice.
La Zucca
As soon as I knew what the name meant I was sure I would love it.
It just sounded like my kind of restaurant.

 Dad and I had the pumpkin flan. It had cheese and pumpkin seeds on top. YUM

 And stuffed mushrooms. YUM

 Ken got a pasta dish. YUM
The kids shared a vegetable lasagna. YUM
They gobbled it up and Julius couldn't stop talking about it all the way home.