Tag Archives: culture

Two Days In Taipei

We only had two days in Taipei on our way to Thailand last winter.  You can read all about it on my guest post on The Mother of All Trips blog hosted by Mara Gorman.

Descending the stairs of the Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall.

Descending the stairs of the Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall.


Vienna ist fur Kinder

Vienna ist für kinder!  Vienna, Austria boasts castles, boat rides, music history, gorgeous Hapsburg-yellow buildings, and fantastic parks.  We lived in the 19th district of Vienna for six months with two young kids and we fell in love. Many activities and museums are designed specifically für kinder (for children) and others are just naturally fun für kinder. Here are a few of our favorite hidden family hotspots. Read more »

Reflections on Austria

Things are different in Austria.  This is why we came of course.  If things weren’t different, we’d be wasting a whole lot of energy on this trip.  First off, I should be very clear that Austria is not Germany.  They are pretty particular on this point.  Austrians ruled the world (or at least a big chuck of it) for 800 years and they did it relatively peacefully.  The collective consciousness is calm and independent.  Maybe they are calm because of the wind that never stops blowing (my own personal theory) and independent because they have had 5 different governments over the past 90 years (and only the very independent can survive the school system). Whatever the reasons, they have been amazingly successful within the EU and are certainly benefiting from the lifting of the iron curtain. Trams wait for pedestrians to cross in front.  Drivers are prepared to stop for Read more »

Postcard from Austria

Life is great.  I know this is the least interesting part for everyone else.  Who really wants to get a postcard from Hawaii saying ‘It’s beautiful here!”  I should begin anyway with what a big success our Austrian Adventure has been so far.  We’ve seen opera and ballet, visited Eastern European countries, gone skiing in the Alps, and eaten an enormous number of pastries.  An unexpected bonus has been the family time.  Since we are somewhat isolated here, we spend a lot of time just the four of us and this is wonderful.  We have some new family traditions now – heading to a “heurigan” (wine house) after school on Fridays if we are in town or taking the tram whichever direction comes first.  We’ve maintained the weekend pancake tradition but it has metamorphosed into Swedish pancake/crepes with Nutella and “schlag”(whipped cream).  The girls are growing and learning so fast it’s hard to keep up.  Logan goes on exciting field trips for school, is loving piano lessons, and can say “fart” in several languages (I know I know).  She plans to be reading before we leave Austria.  Zoey can ride the public bus, transfer to the Read more »

The Hair of the Smokey Dog

Some more cultural observations from Vienna:

From my own personal experience I know that there are many ladies in North America that augment the color of their hair.  I’ve heard that the number of women who periodically dye their hair there is amazingly high, but I never paid much attention because, except for a few noticeable cases of angst, the overall goal of the dye-job is to make it look reasonably natural.  That is not the case here in Vienna!  Sure, there are still the teenagers with protesting heads of blue and green, but there are also seventy year-olds with funky patches of orange, fifty year-olds with not-quite-natural shades of red, thirty year olds with streaky multi-colored mixes, and women of all ages in their obviously-not-so-natural basic black.  And the hottest current color and all-time favorite, or maybe the one that stands out the most to me, is the bleached blond.  Sometimes Read more »

Would you like something to drink with that?

It turns out that wiener schnitzel is more often made with pork than with veal.  This apparently isn’t because of any moral outrage over eating baby cows, but has to do with the iron curtain being erected between the producers of veal in Hungary and the consumers in Vienna. The local farmers in Austria couldn’t keep up with the demand, so they had to substitute with pork.  Now that the curtain has been drawn, pork has become preferred because the higher fat content of the pig appeals more to Viennese palate.  Anyway, I can now order schnitzel without concern for the poor baby cows, but with more concern for my cholesterol. Read more »

Culture in Threes

About a month ago Ashley went down to the main opera hall to see about some cheap tickets.  She was figuring that we might as well expose the kids to some high culture here in the heart of high-culture land, now that we have two balls in our dancing shoes and our composer of the month is about to change from Beethoven to Mozart.  As she was in the process of purchasing some cheap seats (for 9 euros apiece) for Madame Butterfly, supposing it an appropriate beginner opera for the girls (and me too), she was offered an even better deal for a ballet.  It seems that in a promotion to allow kids access to the ballet they offer some kid’s seats for 15 euros apiece.  And knowing that kids don’t usually come alone, they offer accompanying adult tickets for only 7 euros apiece.  The deal sealer is that they have kid’s seats in the front row of a box, with the parent’s seats just behind. Read more »