What I Did on My Summer Vacation

… is I went to Vienna with DrBob and Secondborn! Firstborn is 18 and we have given him the right to decide whether to go on vacation with us. He declined, this time, and we didn’t push because we really needed someone to water the tomatoes and feed the cat.


We drove, so we were able to stop at Melk Abbey on the way, trés Baroque and recommended by Rick Steves as well as my husband, so you know it’s fancy and historically significant! Also stripy, which is more important, if you ask me. Then we went on to Vienna and our AirBnB apartment. Very nice, would recommend.

I consulted several websites and a 14-year-old guidebook (what? The prices change, but the locations don’t. Though details about public transit do change over time, I learned. Oops.) to make a very detailed action plan. We didn’t actually manage everything on my plan, but we gave it the ol’ tourist try! Highlights:

  • St. Stephen’s, in the central square. The locals call it Steffl, which is Austrian for “Steve.” I seem to be the only person who finds this hilarious.
  • Coffee at the Café Hawelka, immortalized in this musical gem by Georg Danzer – unfortunately I couldn’t find the video with the naked guy in the Hawelka, which is what the song’s about, but at least you get to hear some Viennese.
  • The Hofburg, the Habsburgs’ winter residence. Very fancy and conveniently located right in the middle of town, so they don’t have the fab gardens, but the Platz behind the castle is quite impressive.
  • Schönbrunn, the Habsburgs’ summer residence! Better gardens, but more walking than the Sniglet was really able to enjoy.
  • Café Central, very fancy and Art Noveau, plus cake! Can’t go wrong with cake.
  • Café Engländer for dinner. Seriously, people, if you blow your entire food budget on this place and have to eat ramen for the rest of your trip? WORTH. IT. So very yummy.
  • The Vienna Museum is right next to the Karlskirche, which was very impressive from the outside (probably inside too, but we didn’t go in). The museum is also really interesting, Viennese history is ace. I love those little models of the city, and Snig really liked the stuff about Vindobona, which is what it was called when the Romans were there.
  • I was actually not all that excited by the Naschmarkt, but we did go there, so here it is on the list.
  • What was exciting was this Heuriger in a nearby village called Gumpoldskirchen, very old-world gemütlich and friendly.
  • The KunstHausWien houses the Hundertwasser exhibit, which was My Thing – i.e., the other two had to put up with it because I really like this guy’s work. Yeah his vision was unrealistic and probably unrealizeable, but it was MY kind of unrealistic, so neener. And also see above re stripy things. I like stripes.
  • The Prater was the Sniglet’s Thing, because he really likes the whole Volksfest/county fair thing. But then we made him go on the giant ferris wheel first thing, so that soured him a bit. This was pretty much the last thing we did on the trip, so we were all kind of tired and crabby by then. I should plan better next time.
  • Last dinner at the Melker Stiftskeller, which YUM. Also to get there we had to walk through some of the best parts of the city, so that was a nice final-evening thing.

Song du jour of the day: The Radetzky March, by Johann Strauß. It’s really easy to see this sort of performance in Vienna, and I’d’ve liked to, but this is both too fancy-pants for the Sniglet (would complain, wouldn’t sit still) and too popular for DrBob (would roll his eyes to the point of damaging them, probably).

3 responses to “What I Did on My Summer Vacation

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