Austria

I have to apologise to Austria. We are always just passing through and never spend enough time in the country!

We wanted to break up our journey from Croatia to Germany, so we spent some time in both Vienna and Salzburg.

Not wanting to bore the girls too much with the incredible history of Vienna from Mozart to the Habsburgs, we decided to see a training session of the Lipizzaner stallions.

Now a training session might not be as exciting as you think. Sophie pointed out that the horses were going in circles, and then ovals. Or maybe it was ovals and then circles. When the announcer announced at the end of the session that the horses were cooling down to “think about what they had learned,” we couldn’t help but laugh!

Claire runs through the maze

Claire runs through the maze

The girls would say the best thing we did was to visit the Habsburg Imperial Palace. We didn’t actually go inside because we’re getting a little cheap coming to the last leg of our trip, but the grounds are free (don’t let them trick you into thinking they aren’t – there is a ticket booth but  for a very small portion).

We walked around the vast public park at the rear of the palace, and then we found the children’s area. The girls loved the labyrinth made from hedges and ran all over the maze as fast as they could trying to find the centre. They ran so fast that I had a hard time taking pictures, as they would disappear and then pop up somewhere I didn’t expect!

Next they found a series of mirrors that made it hard to see where the other person was. A Chinese boy joined them, and a game of tag broke out around the mirrors.

The girls found a huge “bird” where they could sit in the head and make the giant wings flap. They also came across a giant contraption for water play that led to more than one person with a wet shirt.

It’s rare to find a playground that still interests Sophie, but she was the first to run around trying all of the features.

The girls stand beside the fountain used in the opening scene of the Sound of Music

The girls stand beside the fountain used in the opening scene of the Sound of Music

What was really fun about Vienna was meeting up with a woman that we had met hiking in Sapa. She showed us all the best spots to eat local food, so we had our share of Weiner schnitzel, goulash, and tafelspitz.

After leaving Vienna we headed for Salzburg. We toured the city by bicycle with who else but Fraulein Maria (yes I can see you laughing). It was actually a very scenic way to see the city.  We biked all around the old town and out into the country to see the locations where they filmed the Sound of Music. We also learned a little history along the way.

We had a good view of the Alps from Salzburg, which still have snow on them. One day we will have to come back and check out the skiing!

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