Vienna, Austria

Vienna, being the capital of the once-grand Hapsburg empire for 640 years and the cradle of classical music, makes it a place hard to pass up. We mashed this visit with another trip to the Alps, which are a short few hours drive from this gorgeous city.  We flew in late, found our hotel and walked straight to the Stephensplatz, the main city square, to find a quick dinner.  Obviously, we had to try their sausages (aka hot dogs) that were everywhere.  We sat on the edge of the fountain and ate, while watching the sun go down and the city lights get brighter.  It was unusually hot and humid during our time, so we were often looking for water to drink too.  ;)  Vienna is brimming with gorgeous buildings, although they are so well taken care of that none of them look too old (though they are!).  We stayed about a 3 minute walk from stunning St. Stephen's Cathedral- it was so nice to be in the center of it all!

Our first day started with a run through the city for Brian and I- just wanted to make sure we see all of this place before we have to leave- and running really is the best way to check stuff off.  We then went to Schonbrunn Palace, where we would spend the rest of the day.  A former Hapsburg residence boasting almost 1500 rooms, some of which are adorned with hand-painted walls- this place, as they say, rivals only Versailles.  The pictures below were from the interior of , which had the most ornate and stunning rooms I have ever seen! Brian snuck a bunch of pics in with his phone (See below)

I'm not going to lie- this day was pretty hot and sweaty, so we spent as much time as we could in the shade of the gardens.  :)

Schonbrunn had a fantastic playground for families too- the girls loved running through both of their mazes and spent close to 3 hours playing on the equipment while Brian and I sat in the shade and relaxed.  

St. Stephen's Cathedral (above)...that tile roof is something else!

After going to church on Sunday- one of our favorite things (even though it was all in German!), we took ourselves back to the city center. We couldn't see an opera while we were there, so we opted for a tour of their famous State Opera House instead!  It was so interesting to learn about this place, stand on the stage, and get a peak into such a huge pastime.  

This is one of several intermission rooms (above)- each were decorated so differently, but who wouldn't want to grab a mid-opera snack in here?? :)

These two...always holding hands and giggling about something.  Its so much fun to watch them be each other's best friend.

The word "elaborate" sums the opera house up quite nicely.  Coffered ceilings, ornate reception rooms, and lots and lots of gold trim.  Its definitely a fancy night out if you get to see an opera here.

Gustav Mahler, a German-speaking Jew of humble circumstances, became one of the leading conductors of his generation.  He served as the director of the Opera House from 1897-1907, and had to convert to Catholicism in order to secure this post.  


These carriages are really popular in Vienna.  The horses, and their owners, hung out by the St. Stephen's Cathedral until they were hired each day.  You could definitely smell the horses as you approached, but the locals take such good care of this city and were constantly washing the waste off of the sidewalks.  Either way, we steered clear of any puddles when we walked by , but I give this city a ton of credit- for being a big city and a huge tourist destination, its one of the cleanest places we've been.

These gorgeous buildings are ALL over Vienna- I wish we could've gone in every single one.  We managed some self-guided walking tours all over the main parts of the city, making sure we got our bearings, as well as seeing as many of the sights as we could.  We also spent lots of hours walking through the gardens and letting the kids play at any playground we came across.  What a fantastic city!