Vienna - The beautiful City of Dreams in eastern Austria

Posted by ~Summer~ on November 04, 2011

As the capital of Austria, Vienna has a population of 1.7 million and is by far the largest city in Austria. It is often said to be "The City of Dreams" because it was home to one of the world's greatest interpreters of dreams, Sigmund Freud.

I remember studying about Sigmund Freud and his id/ego/super-ego theory back in communication studies in NTU. Actually, I only remember it vaguely because you know, your memory lapses after pregnancy. Worse after you step into motherhood.

Id - Freud says we are born with our id and it is based on the pleasure principle, meaning you will do whatever that makes you feel good, without any consideration for the circumstances. Somehow, I think an infant demonstrates this best:

Hungry --> Cry
Diaper soiled --> Cry
Too warm --> Cry
Too cold --> Cry
Buay song or any slightest discomfort --> Cry

That's right. They don't care if you are sleeping, bathing or having a dinner at a posh restaurant with hundreds of eyes on you. They just cry if they want to.

Ego - As the child grows in the next three years, he/she understands that other people have needs and desires too and while trying to meet the needs of the id, it also takes into account the reality of the situation.

Child: Mummy, I want to go the the playground and play swing, weeeeeee!
Mummy: I would love to my dear, but mummy needs to make lunch now or daddy will be hungry.
Child: Ok, let's go after lunch then. *smart kid*

Super-Ego - By five, the child develops the super-ego which is the moral part of humans. It forms as a result of how we often tell them "Yes, you can do this" and "No, you can't do that" in somewhat our best efforts to cultivate ethics. In a sense, it is also the conscience and separates the right from wrong.

Scenario: Child snatches toy from friend and wants to bring it home. Mummy says "No, that doesn't belong to you, it's Peter's toy". Child obediently but reluctantly gives back the toy to the friend. In some cases, they might ask you to buy a new one but that would be another case altogether.

In a normal, healthy person, the ego is the strongest so it can satisfy the id's needs and yet not upset the super-ego. Well, I guess Angel is slowly moving into the ego phase and I'm honestly hoping I can take a dump in peace or have a uninterrupted shower in the near future.

Ok, theories aside, back to my vacation in Vienna.

We stayed in Stanys Apartment Hotel which I would strongly recommend to anyone visiting Vienna. Not only was it clean, sleek and modern, it was also conveniently located near the Westbahnhof Station which made it easy for us to travel to Budapest for a day trip.

For dinner, we had some yummy Asian food at a nearby restaurant and to our joy, the boss could communicate with us in Mandarin. Did you know? We have a nickname as the 饭桶 (rice bucket) family. Nope, not because we are loafers or good-for-nothing, but simply because my hubby, me and even my baby lovvveee rice and let's just say we need plenty of them for every meal. Yeah, we are typical Chinese Chinese. Love rice, noodles and soup.

This was the Stephansdom, an impressive Gothic edifice of dark stone with a multi-coloured tiled roof and a north tower rising to 450 feet. Well, sadly it was under construction when we were there. As one of the city's most recognisable landmarks and a symbol of Vienna's freedom, its most distinctive feature is its diamond patterned roof. It was here in Stephansdom that Mozart held his wedding in 1782.

We bought a balloon flower model for Angel from a clown who was busking in the city centre. It cost us 2 euros just for that. Well, I may not be an expert but I can easily replicate this flower after all the balloon modelling I did, in somewhat a moment of craze, for Angel's rainbow party. Maybe I should consider busking in Orchard road next time, $0.50 for one balloon?

The Albertina is a museum in the Innere Stadt (First District) of Vienna which showcases classical art, architectural drawings, photographs and modern graphic works.

This building that appeared strikingly beautiful to me was the Wiener Staatsoper -Vienna State Opera.

In the Burrgarten park of Hofburg Imperial Palace, we saw the statue of Mozart which was one of the most photographed landmarks in Vienna. Thank goodness we were there at night. Mozart was placed on a pedestal surrounded by puttis playing different musical instruments. Even if you don't study music, you'd probably still know that Mozart was one of the greatest and most prolific composers of all time. He started composing since he was 8 years old and had over 600 works. Hmmm, I probably didn't even know how the treble clef looked like at 8.

The impressive Hofburg Palace, which had housed some of the most powerful people in Austrian history, is currently the official residence of the President of Austria.

This was the Volkstheater, loosely translated as People's Theatre, located in the seventh district of Vienna.

After a good night's rest, it was Day 2 in Vienna and we were all set to explore more of this pretty city. I tied up Angel's hair in two ponytails firstly because the weather was scorching hot and she's one toddler who perspires even in an air-conditioned room, secondly just because I thought she looked cute in it and I wanted to take some pictures of her. Alas my plan failed, as usual, as she would realise something's binding her tresses together and tug at the bands till they fell off.

What's a better way to start off a day of sightseeing than a cup of coffee and delicious pastry? Well, it would be cheaper coffee and cheaper pastry than the ones we bought.

Our first stop was the Schönbrunn Palace, an UNESCO World Heritage site and an important cultural monument in Austria.

There was a beautiful, huge sculpted garden, called the Great Parterre, and you could even find a maze here. The gardens are the one thing I find alluring about all these palaces in Europe because you would never be able to see this back in Singapore. If we had so much space, we would be building more HDB flats, hotels, casinos or just some man-made tourist attractions.

Wherever we went, Angel would always be fascinated by flowers and she would go "发, 发" instead of "花, 花". Yup, I'm still working on her pronunciation on this one.

Located at the back of the garden was the Neptune fountain which was designed as the crowning element of the Great Parterre. At the top of the 60 metres hill was the Gloriette structure - A gloriette ("little glory") is a building in a garden erected on a site that is elevated with respect to the surroundings. This one that we saw was the largest and most well known gloriette in the world.

Next, we made our way to Tiergarten, the Vienna Zoo, which was conveniently located on the grounds of the Schönbrunn Palace. It is is the oldest existing zoo in the world and was voted as Europe's best zoo in 2009 and 2010. How could us, the zoo fanatics, miss out on that after we've been to the zoos in Zurich and Iceland?

Today, the Vienna Zoo is considered one of the best and most modern zoos in the world. The animal compounds have a particularly huge and natural design. More than 500 animal species - from Siberian tigers and hippos to one-horned rhinoceroses - live here.

Check out my little girl trying to read the map and guide the way. Again. She always does that when we are overseas and it's just fascinating to see what she would say and which direction she would lead us to. Usually the wrong one, but you should always let your kid try, right?

We saw a beautiful white peacock which seemed to be a little petrified of the over-friendly kid and kept scuttling away.

The turkeys caught our attention for a while because one of them seemed to be getting into a tantrum and kept doing vibrating movements. Better be safe than sorry, so we kept Angel close to us and away from the angry birds.

I loved this shot of Angel as she walked through the 'tunnel'. I was like the typical mum, arms held out waiting for her at the end of the tunnel, and gave her a hug and a kiss when she arrived, telling her what a great job she did. Yeah yeah, I just want to be there at every of her accomplishments.

Anyway, we had a fun time exploring the huge zoo and letting Angel get up close with all the animals. I am quite certain that we will become members of the Singapore Zoo, and Night Safari, when we get back next year.

The highlight of Tiergarten is definitely the giant pandas as it is one of the few zoos worldwide to house these huge but cuddly animals.

This Zoo had a world premiere event in 2007 - For the first time ever, a panda baby that was naturally conceived in a zoo was born in Schönbrunn. The second panda baby was born in August 2010. The mummy panda is Yang Yang, daddy is Long Hui, and the two sons are Fu Hu and Fu Long. Cute.

Soon, it was time to leave Tiergarten and continue on our sightseeing journey.

We arrived at the Naschmarkt which was basically a huge outdoor public market. Like a big pasar malam. You could find vendors selling all kinds of things here from textiles, fruits, flowers to spices and wine. Our greatest consolation was to find an air-conditioned supermarket which allowed us to escape temporarily from the scorching sun. By the way, dear, you should never take a picture when you have a huge chunk of apple in your mouth! *chuckles* Well, you still look handsome larrr!

Jw loved this shot and said I should enter it for some baby contest. Well, I guess it's pretty hard to win this kinda stuff but hey, as long as I think my kid is the most adorable one in the entire universe, that's all that matters, right?

We decided to have our lunch at Nordsee because it had really fresh seafood, you could choose which fish you want from the tank when it was still alive and kicking swimming, and voila, within twenty minutes it would be fresh out of the pan lying in front of you. Sounds a little mean, but oh well. We had a grilled sea bass which was really finger-licking good accompanied by some butter-fried spaghetti which Angel loved.

 Anyone wants to hire her for a noodle ad?

After lunch, we had a nice stroll and walked to Karlplatz, a town square on the border of the first and fourth districts of Vienna. Here, we saw the Karlskirche church and the famous sculptures "Hill Arches" by Henry Moore which adorned the water basin that reflected the church building.

Further up was a beautiful fountain and a column which was a Soviet victory monument that commemorated the Soviet’s triumph over the Nazi. What amazed me was that people were gathering around the fountain waiting for the right moment when the wind blew and the water would splatter on their faces and bodies. A good way to keep yourself cool during the hot summer. Some youngsters were even climbing over the ledge into the fountain and having a great time frolicking there.

This was Beethoven's statue, yet another world famous composer, who was born German but moved to Vienna in his early 20s. My favourite piece by Beethoven is the Fur Elise (I'm sure you heard it before but might not know the name) and I'm still hoping one day I can learn it. I will, it's just a matter of which day.

Then, we walked a long way, making a few water breaks in between since it was simply too hot, before we reached Stadtpark - City Park. We specially made a trip here because jw said it was the most famous park in Vienna and we should pay it a visit.

That said, I had to sadly say I wasn't that impressed by it. Not only was the canal dried up, but I also did not see the flowering blossoms that I would expect in a park.

Nonetheless, we spent an hour here just idling and having some ice cream to cool down.

There was a famous statue of Johann Strauss - the King of Waltz, in Stadtpark which unfortunately was under works. He left us a considerate note to let us know that he would be back and there was also a substitute statue in its place.

Don't worry, Johan, here comes Summer, the pseudo Queen of Waltz!

Daddy: Baby, I know you love me but you don't have to polish my shoes for me!
Angel: Wait long long daddy, I'm just trying to yank you off so I can be No. 1!

This was the Belvedere, a historical building consisting of two Baroque palaces the Upper and Lower Belvedere.

Our final destination in Vienna was Prater - an amusement park with turbulent roller coaster rides, spooky ghost train, Ferris wheel and all kinds of attractions for the young ones. It was definitely a paradise for every kid, and since we kind of dig into carnival games, this was a good hangout place for us too.

That's something about amusement parks, be it the multihued colours, the vociferous music or the myriad of kiddy games that somehow brings back a sense of nostalgic and you feel like a kid all over again.

We took a ride on the Ferris wheel since it was one of the notable landmarks of Vienna and had a splendid aerial view of the beautiful city.

Thank you Prater, for letting Angel have so much fun and for teleporting us back to childhood days once more.

To top off the entire trip, we were simply thrilled to be able to find bubble tea (with pearls!!) and a steamboat buffet at the Prater train station. 回转火锅 rox! It was definitely a superb way to fill our stomachs and the perfect ending to a wonderful stay in Vienna.

To see more of the world, visit my Travelogue page here.


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