Happy Hump Day Everyone! I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas! We had such a good weekend with our Family here in Nashville. Our boys are at such a fun age and I truly feel like it was one of the best Christmases I’ve ever had.
Today I’m sharing part two of our vacation to Austria and Switzerland and answering the question I received the most about our trip.
“Why did you go to Austria?”
I was so surprised how many of you asked this! My Instagram DM’s were full of versions of this question from y’all! “Why are you there?” “Do you have family there or something?” “Where is this place?” “How have I never heard of this?” “Where is Vienna?” “How did you find this place?” “Who told you about Austria? I’ve never seen anyone go here.” “What made you decide to go somewhere so ‘exotic’?” I had no idea Austria was such an unheard-of destination! If it’s not currently on your bucket-list, add it immediately! It’s truly magical, especially at Christmas time.
For us, we had several reasons for making the trip. The main one was, we wanted to do a big vacation with our kids before Kent leaves. He’ll be gone (with the Army) for about 10 months next year, so we really wanted to take some time to get away from work and get in some good, quality family time. When we’ve traveled with our boys in the past, we’ve always stuck to Disney World, or somewhere with a beach. Since we had already done both of those trips this year, we were trying to think of somewhere new to go that they would enjoy. I’ve mentioned it on here before, but Kent and I decided a while back that we want to try to visit 40 countries before we turn 40. We’ve made it 17 now, so we’re not making great time, but there’s still hope! Haha! So we pulled out our list of countries left to see and started thinking about which one(s) Rock and Rome would enjoy too. Austria and Switzerland were the first ones Kent called out and I immediately agreed! They love, I mean love, trains (especially the movie “The Polar Express” right now.) and they really love all things Christmas. I knew we always spend a lot of time on trains when we’re in Europe, and when I started looking at all the things to do there this time of year I knew the boys would be in heaven!
As soon as we decided on our destination, I knew I had to convince my parents to go. My Mom has talked about going to Austria and Switzerland to see the Alps since as far back as I can remember. She has always said that is the number one thing to do on her bucket list. I told my Dad that we were planning a trip there and he agreed, we had to surprise her. We didn’t tell her until a week before we left and she was in total shock! We tried to get Kent’s parents to come with us too, but unfortunately the timing just didn’t work out for them this time. I’m so happy that mine were able to make the trip with us though. We made so many wonderful memories with them that I know I will remember forever and I hope my boys will too.
Where did you stay?
So our first stop on the trip was the capital of Austria, Vienna! I had lots of questions from you guys about the apartment we stayed in and it was this one. We absolutely loved it! Super nice and clean and the location was great! You couldn’t beat the price either, We had 1400 sq feet, 4 bedrooms, in the heart of downtown, with a deck and city views for less than $200 per night!
*Side Note: I’m still getting a lot of questions about what travel agent we used. We did not use one for this trip. We booked everything ourselves through here.*
Can you share your itinerary?
This was our fourth trip to Europe, but our first time traveling with my parents and our kids. In the past, we have always filled (more like over-filled) our days with things to do. I’m one of those people that wants to make the most of our time so I try to pack as much as I can into our trips. This time was totally different though. I knew we all wanted to see the Alps, and experience the cities, but other than that, it was just about spending time with the Family. We only had one activity scheduled ( in Zurich, Switzerland), and other than that we just made it up as we went along. I didn’t have high expectations of doing a lot or seeing a lot because I wasn’t sure what our pace would be like having the boys with us. The whole point of this trip was just to spend time together and make memories together so that’s what we focused on.
How long did you stay in each City?
We spend three full days in Vienna and I’d say that was the perfect amount of time (unlike Paris, where we spent 9 days and still hadn’t done everything we wanted to). The first full day we literally just spent wandering around the city. It is beautiful! We ate, we shopped, and found ourselves at The Graben. It has to be the prettiest street in the world.
*Picture via Pinterest*
They have these massive chandeliers hanging above the street and it is truly magical. We went inside Saint Stephen’s stunning Cathedral before heading back to our hotel that night.
On day two, we decided to visit Schönbrunn Palace and Gardens. It was amazing! I was really nervous that the boys were going to get super bored on our tour but surprisingly they loved it! They had these little audio guides for us to hold and the boys were so entertained following the path through the castle and looking for what numbers to hit next. I think Rocky just liked pushing the buttons, but Roman was listening to everything they said and re-told a lot of it to me on our train ride home that afternoon. They had the cutest little Christmas market set up outside of the palace to stroll through with food, and shops and entertainers on stilts! I think their favorite part of the day was just riding the trains though.
How cute are my Mom and Dad?!
On our final day there, we decided to get all dressed up and head back down to The Graben to take a family Christmas Picture super early in the morning. It had snowed all night and we wanted to take a picture in the snow with those beautiful chandeliers before the street got busy. But for some reason they had turned them off and plowed all the snow on that street so that was a bust. We went back to bed for a long nap and then woke up and went to the Vienna Christkindlmarkt. It was *amazing*. They had tons of rides for the kids so our boys were in heaven! The lights were beautiful and we had so much fun walking around, drinking hot chocolate, eating everything, riding the rides. and just taking it all in.
Group Selfie on a Train Ride.
On the Ferris Wheel with our babies. The view was so pretty!
After we put the boys (and my parents) to bed, Kent and I went for a long walk all around the City. It was so so pretty at night! Our favorite building was the Hofburg Palace. It was unbelievable! We only got to see the outside because they were already closed, but we wish we would of had time to go back the next day. It looked incredible and we looked it up online later and saw they have a riding school there and you can go watch the horses train!
What Restaurants would you recommend?
I know so many people have asked me about the food, and what restaurants I’d recommend there. Unfortunately I didn’t pay attention to this at all. So sorry! We didn’t research restaurants at all before hand. We’d just pop in and try random places as we went. One of our favorite things about Europe is that there are the most amazing little cafes and bakeries and restaurants and food carts literally everywhere. I will say, I felt like the food was not super special.:/ It wasn’t bad, just not as *amazing* as I remember it being in some of the other Countries we’ve visited. My Dad totally disagrees with me on this. He was in heaven eating Sausages for three meals a day Haha!
I didn’t carry my “big camera” with us most of the time, but I did pull it out one day so Kent could get some pictures of me and Rocky. It’s not very often I get to “match” with my boys, so when I saw this coat for him, I had to get it! Both my Coat, and his Coat are on sale right now if anyone is in the market for one! The cross body bag I carried was great too! It was the perfect size to carry just the essentials, plus I loved that it had the RFID technology built in!
Overall, Vienna gets two thumbs up from all of us! I can’t wait to share more of our trip with y’all. Next up, Salzburg!