Tuesday, September 07, 2010

The Great European Road Trip of 2010: The Finale

Our first stop was Peterskirche. Along the way we saw the lovely Carlskirche and got a nice view of the road ahead..

And saw yet another road named for a philosopher

This is Vienna’s plague statue:

And we made it!

We found in several of the cities we visited that if there was construction on part of the building, the area that was covered by the scaffolding was an image of what was behind it. A much nicer thing to look at than scaffolding!

The inside of the church was very ornate and had a beautiful ceiling.

This was a statue that Ian couldn’t pass up.. He said it reminded him too much of himself and Aed :)

Our next stop was Café Central. Ian was drooling over the opportunity to have a cup of kleiner brauner at this café. The Café Central was the café of choice for many big names such as Freud, Hitler, Lenin, Trotsky, as well as the Vienna Circle.

Aed enjoyed a delicious Rusk.. (can you tell these are a favorite snack?)

While Daddy enjoyed a delicious cup of coffee..

We wandered back over to the Hofburg area to consider whether we wanted to see anything else. Buuuuuuut after Aed took 15 minutes to scream himself to sleep in the stroller, we decided we’d had about enough sight seeing as well, so we headed home.

ERT Tip #13: Be aware that Austrian grannies are very sympathetic to screaming babies. They will stop you so they can have a chat with your exhausted, screaming child, none of which you will understand. If your child is anything like ours, he will resume his screaming as soon as she walks away thus prolonging the whole ordeal. We are all very thankful that cameras do not record sound..

Some sunny views along the way

Dinner that night..

It may not look like much, but that was without a doubt the best sweet corn that we have had since we left Indiana. I think it’s been over two years since we've even had a bite of Indiana sweet corn and it made our mouths very happy. :)

The following day was our last day in Vienna before we began the long trek home and it was a day well spent!

We headed to the Schönbrunn Palace first. We didn’t go in because we didn’t have time, but the outside was incredible. We are pretty sure that the insides would have been similar to the Hofburg anyway, based on the information we got about the Palace.

Our walk into the grounds was exceedingly picturesque

As was the little Gloriette on top of the hill that overlooks the city

This is only the back of the palace!

And this is the front.

We had plans to meet up with a family that just moved to Vienna later that day at the Vienna Zoo (conveniently located on the grounds of the palace). Carolyn graduated with a PhD in Philosophy last year from St Andrews and got a post doc position at a university in Vienna. She was pregnant with her little Katie at the same time I was pregnant with Aed, so it was very fun to get together with them with babies on the outside! Unfortunately, I didn’t think to take pictures of us all together – why do I always do that? You think I’d learn..

Anyway, so here’s a story for you.

It was really hot everywhere we were, so Aed was going through his shorts and t-shirts really quickly. In looking at the clothes I had packed for him, I noticed there were some lizard overalls that were really cute, so I decided to save them for the zoo. Seems appropriate right? Lizards for the zoo! Perfect! The only thing I was unsure of was if they would really fit him. They seemed a little small to me, but I figured since they were overalls we’d be alright.

I put them on him that morning and, happily, they just fit. I did not consider what would happen when my child’s diaper was filled after a morning of wandering. We met up with our friends and went to find something to eat for lunch. We sat down to eat, pulled Aed out of the stroller and were greeted with this cavernous sight..

A wedgie for the record books for sure! Turns out the lizard shorts just couldn’t make the space for that saturated diaper so they did what was necessary and gave Aed a mammoth wedgie.. not to mention the diaper spiling out the leg! After having a good laugh at our child’s expense, I went and found a changing room to relieve his little cheeks.

ERT Tip #14: Even if you forget to take photos with friends you may never see again, take a picture of your kid’s wedgie. These are the things worth remembering.

Ok, back to the zoo.

This zoo is the oldest zoo in the world! The animals however, are not.

(see the baby?? It was his first day out!)

Aed slept the whole time we were outside, but managed to wake up in time to see the huge catfish in the aquarium.

He loved watching those fish.. wonder where he got that?

So we wrapped up our time in Vienna with an unbelievably expensive tab for our parking while we were at the zoo and headed west with sugarplum dreams of people who spoke our language.

We broke up our trip with a stop in Ulm, Germany to see the world’s tallest steeple. The good news is (let me help you by telling you now that I am being sarcastic here) that the Garmin led us all over Ulm through pedestrian areas and construction zones, but never once to the cathedral. The better news is that I had packed the camera in the trunk.

ERT Tip #15: DO NOT pack your camera in the trunk. It is a dumb idea and not having any pictures of the world's tallest steeple only adds to your disappointment at not being able to climb the world’s tallest steeple.

Needless to say, we had to leave Ulm with no climbing and no pictures. We were planning on staying with some friends in Paris and were already going to be getting there veeeeery late, so we didn’t have time to make amends with the City of Mass Confusion.

We arrived in Paris at something like 3 in the morning and collapsed on the floor for the night. Ian did some sight seeing the next day, but Aed and I just hung out and did nothing much as I have seen most of Paris’s touristy parts and he needed some sleep.

Ian ventured to the lovely Notre Dame

(Rainy and cold! Paris was the only place that was cold!)

Saw the dome on the tomb of Napoleon

And, of course, the Eiffel Tower

As well as the Arc de Triomphe.

The next day we made an attempt at seeing the catacombs of Paris, but to no avail. We arrived too late and they wouldn’t let us in.. the nerve of some people!

But, on the way we found this..

Which made it all worth it.

Since we couldn’t see the catacombs, we decided to stick with our theme of death and head to a giant cemetery.

Along the way our pajama-clad baby (did I mention it was cold? We didn’t have any warm clothes for him in our overnight bag, so he wore his pajamas over his shorts! :) enjoyed a rusk on Daddy’s back (also.. your eyes are not deceiving you.. Ian did not shave for the duration of our trip so he’s looking pretty hairy here).

(I think this picture would be cool in a warm B&W.. if only I had time to edit my photos!)

The cemetery was very interesting and not at all creepy in the light of day. (well, maybe slightly creepy.. I always expect to see bones in cemeteries, but I have some issues with comprehending reality. So..)

And also, it was HUGE!

Our plan was to have dinner with our friends, hang out a while in hopes of traffic dying down, and then head up to Calais to spend the night so we could get the ferry in the morning. Aed decided to use this time to work on his walking skills and took off again and again walking all over the living room! It was so exciting and he had so much fun giggling and collapsing in different peoples’ arms each time he ventured across the room. We maintain that he was sleep drunk, and boy is he entertaining when he’s under the influence!

We decided to go not long after that, bid au revoir to our Parisians, and braced ourselves for what was sure to be a wild ride out of Paris. I thought we were going to die. The minute we left the side streets traffic became an organism. It was a weaving, dodging, bobbing bunch of insanity and it is miraculous that we got out of there without any dents in our car.

We resisted the urge to stop the car so we could get out and kiss the ground when we made it safely out of the city. We were fine coming in late at night, but going out when there are lots of other cars on the road was insane. I can’t imagine the city at rush hour! Nevertheless, we made it to Calais and got some sleep.

We boarded the ferry in the morning in great anticipation of driving in the UK, where we could read the road signs and knew the rules. Aed was excited too..

The ride was great, the weather was balmy, and the beautiful cliffs of Dover welcomed us back.

We made it home in good enough time and put our weary selves to bed.

Would we do it again? Not any time soon! We have had our fill of cross-channel driving for a while. However, we remain convinced that we never could have seen so much if we had done this by plane/public transport and are so grateful for the life adventures we had with our wee guy. It was quite the opportunity and one we are glad we didn’t pass up!

1 comment:

  1. Congratulations on surviving such an ambitious trip! What wonderful sights you got to see! I laughed when you said you could read the road signs in the UK...that's a new perspective. :-) Probably not how you felt the first time you drove there! (OK, at least not how WE felt.) Thanks for your great posts, Corrie.