Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Eating Vienna, with a toddler

So my husband and I met when we took a Master study together in Nice, France, seven years ago. We both graduated in summer 2010 and are still in contact with some of the friends we studied with back then. Several months ago we agreed to all meet in Vienna for a weekend in July this year. Friends were coming from all over the world to meet up, so we decided to drive to Vienna for a weekend getaway on the 9th of July.

Unlike our Paris trip (read here) this Vienna trip wasn't personally designed for babygirl. An itinerary was offered by a friend and we followed his lead (which was great, but is very different from our usual toddler-friendly plans). And because the idea of the trip was to see and talk to people we hadn't seen in a while, sightseeing was not our focus. We wanted more of conversations-over-drinks kind of thing. And we ended up eating all the time :)

We left home early on Saturday, around 5am. Babygirl was asleep so I just moved her (in pajamas) into her carseat. My husband arrived home the night before around midnight from Brussels, so he was completely sleep-deprived and he made me driving mostly.

Taking a little break from driving
We made our only stop after we passed Graz, in a rasthaus somewhere 100 km before Vienna. Babygirl woke up and she needed to go to the bathroom so we decided to stop to have breakfast and coffee. The rest area has a cute little playground so we spent some time to play.

After driving for another hour, we arrived in the hotel we were staying in at around 10am. All our friends were already there so we had another coffee, talked, caught up a little, and decided to walk around the city. We stayed at the AllYouNeed Vienna Hotel 2 by the Danube at Schwedenplatz, so we crossed the bridge and walked all the way to Stephansplatz. After spending some time in the city center and enjoy the sight of Stephansdom (which was being renovated), we decided to go eat lunch at the Museumsquartier area. We had Wiener schnitzel (the Viennese steak -very thin breaded pan fried cutlet of veal) and some refreshing lemonade while babygirl (and another toddler of our friends) playing in the green area in front of the restaurant. There were some fountains the kids enjoyed, but surprisingly no playground. She didn't enjoy the veal steak so we ordered her (an overpriced) baby-sized spaghetti napoletana (spaghetti with basic tomato-based sauce).

After lunch our friends were going somewhere (I'm not sure but I think they might have gone to Belvedere?) and we decided to split with them in front of Hofburg palace and get ourselves back to the hotel to check in. After sleeping three hours straight (all the three of us!) we met our friends in the hotel lobby and went off for dinner. Our host (one of us in the group, Austrian) promised us a very traditional Austrian dinner in an old place called Heuriger 10er Marie.

Our great dinner place: Heuriger 10er Marie
We took a metro from our hotel to Ottakringer, which was extremely exciting to babygirl (remember her impressions from Paris metro?) walked a little, and there we were! A beautiful old family-house-looking restaurant with friendly staff who sat us all (thirteen of us!) in one cozy table in the corner of their garden on the side of the house. Foods were amazing! We ordered wiener schnitzel (AGAIN, of course!) this time the chicken version, at pretty cheap price (€9 with side dish included, huge portion). This time around babygirl enjoyed the steak! The side dish are served in buffet we can choose by ourselves, I took corn and bean salad and my husband took potato and onion salad. We all drank wine spritzer like real Austrians (mixture of white wine with bubbly water) which is kind of funny because it's actually also a traditional drink called gemi┼ít (basically adapted word from German word gemischt -means mixed) in the region where my husband comes from in Croatia, Zagorje.

The restaurant has huge garden with some empty area where the two toddlers play football and climbed fences (there was no swings or slides meant for children whatsoever, weird, right?) until around 11pm when we decided to leave because babygirl wanted to go to bed.

The next morning after enjoying breakfast at the garden of the hotel, we went to the Alte donau where our friends enjoyed the Danube with the pedal boats and went swimming. Babygirl refused to go on the pedal boat so we stayed at a bar on the river bank and let her play around. By the lunch time they're back, and we walked toward the Donauinsel (the Danube isle) across Ponte Cagrana and had lunch at a Greek restaurant called Taverne Sokrates. Rather nostalgic to our Greek trip last year, my husband got chicken souvlaki with greek salad, while baby girl and I got greek lamb chop with grilled vegetables on the side. With great view of the Danube full of swans, the lunch was excellent, at just around €13 per main course.

Babygirl and her dad on coordinating jumps
After the great lunch, we said goodbye to all of our friends, then we let babygirl jumped her energy out on the floating trampoline on the Danube (which cost €3 for 10 minutes -but the lady let my husband jumps along babygirl), and went straight to take our car at the hotel and drove straight home. We didn't make a stop because babygirl was deep asleep the whole ride, so we made it from Vienna to Zagreb in one leg in less than 3 hour, with our beloved little Chevrolet which by today, is no longer ours :)

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