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Quattro Citta, Tre Paesi in Quattro Giorni

Community Highlights Family Travel Quattro Citta, Tre Paesi in Quattro Giorni

It's not a bad life when you can have dinner in Venice, arrive in Vienna for breakfast, have lunch in Bratislava and finish off with dinner in Bergamo. This was how we spent our recent long weekend (yes, the school does have never-ending holidays).

The kids had been desperate to catch an overnight train; so after undertaking some financial investigation Dan discovered that the cheapest overnight train was from Venice to Vienna (the added plus was that it was operated by OBB Austria, not the locals!). Departing after school on Wednesday, we just made the Bologna/Venice train - fortunately arriving at 6pm. The weather was beautiful, and a far cry from the last time we were here with the grannies ('acqua alta' and 6 degree temperatures). A walk through the streets, pizza, beer for me (Dan not drinking due to training - such dedication) and a few photos later and we were ready to board the overnight train.

Venice

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The kids were giddy with excitement and we soon settled into our little carriage. The beds were narrow and Dan and I were assigned to the top bunks - sleeping in missionary position was a must as one small roll could see one dropping over the edge. The children certainly slept better then us, but it was still a fun experience and waking up to breakfast in Vienna was great fun.

Overnight Train
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Our accommodation was not available until 2pm, so leaving our bags we filled in the time with a morning coffee, a play in a local park, and walks through Vienna's pristine and beautiful streets (with the song 'Vienna' buzzing in our heads - see below). A visit to the Prater (amusement park) for rides and an excellent Wiener Schnitzel. A little rest after lunch, a clean-up and some free time for Dan, and we were then ready to search out a place for dinner (ending up in the charming pedestrian-only Spittelberggasse).

Vienna Day 1 - Amusement Park, Gardens & Dinner

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Feeling well-rested the following morning, we ventured out to see the Spanish horses undertake training in the Hofburg Palace. The Spanish Riding School is a traditional riding school for Lipizzan horses. The school puts on performances in classical dressage. However these performances are very expensive and booked out months in advance, so seeing the training is a cheaper option at 50 euro for the family. Overall this was a disappointing experience (no photos allowed) - even though we were in a beautiful arena the horses just trotted around and around, and the most exciting part for the kids was when the horse did a poo. Not sure if we had a dud day or dud horses. Refuelling with coffee and a biscuit we enjoyed the beautiful scenery and tranquility in the nearby Volksgarten.

Vienna Day 2 - Gardens and Hofburg Palace

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We then boarded the local underground for a trip to the Schönbrunn Palace. This palace was the Habsburg dynasty's summer residence and the Hofburg palace was their principal winter residence. This palace is also surrounded by magnificent gardens, and contains the Tiergarten Schönbrunn (Vienna Zoo) - one of the oldest zoos in the world - and it is here where we spent lunch and the afternoon. One of the highlights was definitely the seal show, where one of the (biggest) sea lions leaps into the air to grab the fish, and splashes down wetting all the unsuspecting tourists below. Some of the children thought this was terrific fun as they were drenched in fishy water; a lovely cool shower on a 27 degree day. Dinner again alfresco, with a refreshing beer for me and lemonade for Dan.

Tiergarten Schönbrunn

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Our time in Vienna ended too quickly, and we certainly could have had a few more days here to cover off many of the fabulous attractions. We completed the morning with a coffee and beautiful apple pastries before catching a train for Bratislava (still singing Oh Vienna). Our time in Bratislava was short but sweet, and lunch was the first port of call (spicy chicken, beef goulash, chicken schnitzel) in a beautiful street next to St Michael's Gate. After lunch we walked the streets of the old town, saw the magnificent Danube River, and climbed the hill to the Castle of Bratislava. Finishing our tour at the brand new Bratislava airport for our last (fortunately) Ryanair flight to Bergamo.

Bratislava

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Bergamo for dinner and a half-day of exploration the following day. The weather was certainly cooler and rain dampened our spirits a bit. However, what a beautiful town. The town has two parts - citta bassa (lower town) and citta alta (upper town). The citta alta is the old town and you can reach the top by taking a Funicular which rattles up the rocky face. After exploring the town - which incorporates medieval, Renaissance and baroque architecture - we enjoyed a traditional dinner of mixed meats (rabbit, chicken, pork) and polenta. On Sunday we spent half a day once again exploring the old town, coffee and brioches, Piazza Vecchia, climbed the Torre del Campanone, and finally La Rocca (an old fortress with excellent views of the town). Topping off the day with a slice of Pizza we trundled back to catch the train home to Bologna.

All in all a fantastic quattro giorni.

Bergamo

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This featured blog entry was written by happellfamily12 from the blog La vita in quattro valigie.
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By happellfamily12

Posted Fri, May 03, 2013 | Austria | Comments