for the week of 05/15/16.
Sun, 05/07/16. Auf wiedersehen, Wien.
Today we left Wien and went back to Paris. We had a great time in Wien and it's an interesting city, with its incredible emphasis on music the way Paris emphasizes art. Everyone's favorite experience was seeing the Magic Flute last night, though the skateboard ramp at the park was also a highlight for us. It was sad saying goodbye to Mima and Umpa who we will all miss til we are back in July. One weird thing about Wien is that, of the 5 or 6 songs we heard while in taxis or in stores or restaurants playing the radio, we heard "Don't cry" by Guns n' Roses twice. I've hardly heard the song since 1994. We definitely only saw a tiny slice of the city, but not sure when we will be back. We had a great time, but it didn't seem very kid friendly at all, or even really friendly period. People seemed kind of generally grumpy. Paris is similar sometimes though. Above are some photos from this whole long weekend.
Sat, 05/07/16. Magic Flute.
Today after a nice breakfast we headed to the Prater amusement park, which we quickly discovered was catering more to teenagers with really aggressive roller coasters and spinny rides. Before he hit the Prater, Mima led us to the very nearby cafe where her grandparents, Siegmund and Kamilla Zeisl, ran a cafe back in the day before it was taken over and destroyed by the Nazis. There is a commemorative plaque there with Siegmund's name on it, and words saying that the Nazis stormed this building and killed the people in there, with only one survivor out of the 38 people. In the Prater, we took Max and Gemma on the babiest ride in the whole place, called something like Arctic Voyage, where you have a fake camera and pretend you are taking pictures of the animals like polar bears and walruses, and one of the walruses squirted water at us, and even this was scary for Max who started crying, I guess mainly because it was dark. Then Gemma went with Jean on a log jammer type ride, which was really steep and hairy, but they liked it. After that, Mima and Umpa went home while the 4 of us took a taxi to the Lego store, but they said the German football team legos won't be out until May 16. At night we went with Mima and Umpa to pizza and then the Magic Flute, which was awesome. Max and Gemma were in good moods thanks to a 2 hour nap in the afternoon, and they stayed alert through the whole opera from 7pm to 10pm. It was a really good performance and we all loved it. Tomorrow unfortunately we have to leave. By the way, outside the Prater we needed to use the bathroom and it was difficult, just like it is in Paris. It seems all over Europe, all it takes is a child who has to go to the bathroom, and suddenly an otherwise completely upstanding citizen is instantly transformed, like Dr. Jekyll into Mr. Hyde. One instantly becomes a creature lurking in dark alleys, searching for a dark abandoned building, sneaking into the shadows of hotels or restaurants, avoiding ordinary citizens and policemen at all costs, and sometimes even crawling into dark corners of abandoned alleys to conduct illegal business. The bathroom freedom, along with the easy customer service, is one of the things I'm missing most about L.A.
Fri, 05/06/16. Antoinette.
Today we went to Stadt Park again and the kids played on the skateboard ramp again and then in another part of the park we didn't play in yesterday, where there was an extremely entertaining waterpump. We then got hot dogs and sat in the park eating them on the wonderfully sunny, hot day, with millions of people milling about. We got delicious ice creams and juices too on our way from the park to the Stefansdom, while Umpa answered difficult questions from the kids about Jesus, like "When Jesus came back from the dead, did he look like a ghost?" Umpa answered them very seriously. Then Mima and Umpa babysat while Jean and I went out to the Volksoper to see the ballet Marie Antoinette. It was great and got a huge rousing ovation. The dancing was very modern and good. I can never follow the story at all in ballets but I liked the dance and the music. They had an orchestra pit but the music was coming from speakers, though we weren't sure whether it was live music or not at first. We took a taxi there and tried to find our way back on foot, thinking we could follow the spire, make it to the Stefansdom, and then get back, but the spire we saw turned out to be a different church, so we gave up and took another taxi. Vienna seems pretty big, or at least big enough that wandering around is kind of difficult. Every street kinda looks the same. Max has been composing a piece that lasts 24 hours, and you go to the concert with a picnic basket with several meals and snacks in it and listen to the music all day. He sang it tonight for Mima who is a very willing and enthusiastic listener.