Arwa Ma­maji’s ad­ven­ture travel with her tod­dler

Of Ap­ple Strudel and Sch­nitzel with Pota­toes!

Mother & Baby - - CONTENTS -

Among my daugh­ter’s favourite things is the song “Do Re Mi”. This song works like magic when you want her to shake a leg, eat her meal or pacify her when she cries. We de­cided to ex­pose her to the cul­ture and mi­lieu of the film ‘The Sound of Mu­sic’ and that took us to Aus­tria.

An­other good en­try point into Aus­tria is Robert Seether’s “The Tobac­conist”. A novel is based 1937 when Ger­many is about to an­nex Aus­tria. The book makes ref­er­ences to how the lives of com­mon peo­ple, such as the pro­tag­o­nist Franz, changed ir­re­deemably due to the event. The book also makes ref­er­ence to Sig­mund Freud, who was ex­iled on ac­count of the Jews be­ing un­der at­tack. Us­ing the book as the back­drop of our ex­pec­ta­tion, we landed at Vienna air­port. We de­cided to leave one of our suit­cases in an air­port locker

so we could be more mo­bile, hop­ping in and out of trains, buses and trams with one stroller and one suit­case.

We tai­lor-made our trip based on my daugh­ter’s rou­tine. We de­cided to soak in Vienna for two nights, then travel to Inns­bruck, and fi­nally spend a re­lax­ing week in a quaint Salzburg neigh­bour­hood.

We booked a small stu­dio apart­ment in one of the quiet by­lanes of Mari­ahil­fer Strasee, which gave us the flex­i­bil­ity to pre­pare meals for my daugh­ter. This area of Vienna has been home to Beethoven, Mozart and Franz, the pro­tag­o­nist of the book men­tioned ear­lier.

The walls are ooz­ing with his­tory in Vienna, and ev­ery­where you look, there is a mu­seum or a palace. Two days is too short to do jus­tice and ab­sorb ev­ery­thing. Add a baby in a stroller to this dy­namic, and it seems an im­pos­si­b­lity. How­ever, there was just enough time to sit and have some yummy goulash and ap­ple strudel in a quaint café, and soak in the vibe in the city cen­tre.

When in Vienna for a short while, it is im­per­a­tive that you be se­lec­tive and or­gan­ised. We de­cided to take the tourist hop-on-hop-off bus and get an ori­en­ta­tion of the city. We vis­ited Prater, an age-old amuse­ment park, Sig­mund Freud’s home, and took a guided walk­ing tour in the city cen­tre the next day.

Vienna has the largest col­lec­tion of Klimt, and his fa­mous work ‘The Kiss’ has been re­pro­duced on ev­ery sou­venir you can imag­ine. But my daugh­ter had a pref­er­ence for the out­doors, so we had to skip see­ing the real paint­ing. I wish to re­turn to Vienna some day and get “Klim­to­sised”, I mean hyp­no­tised by Klimt when my daugh­ter is at an age where she can also en­joy his work.

To im­merse one­self in Vienna and suck the mar­row from it would take a life­time, but from the brim, I loved what I saw.

Our next stop was the idyl­lic Inns­bruck. In this town, right out of a fairy­tale. there are many things to see and do. But what we en­joyed the most was our aim­less am­bling around the old town, and get­ting lost in the back al­leys. My daugh­ter en­joyed be­ing out in the open and meet­ing peo­ple around the squares. She danced to the tunes of street mu­si­cians, and smeared ice cream all over her face and clothes!

We in­dulged in a day tour to the Swarovski gallery. The gallery

has many spec­tac­u­lar art­works dis­played by var­i­ous in­ter­na­tional artists and a huge play tower for chil­dren. This worked well as my daugh­ter slept through the gallery visit, and woke up in time for the play tower.

Our next stop was Salzburg. We planned to stay here for a week and I had two things on my wish list. One was the Sound of Mu­sic film tour and the other was to dis­cover a lit­tle more about Mozart and his life.

The Sound of Mu­sic tour was a riv­et­ing ex­pe­ri­ence. We boarded a bus in the af­ter­noon, that took us to all the lo­ca­tions where the film was shot, while an in­ter­est­ing host dished out snip­pets about ev­ery scene in the film. This also gave us the op­por­tu­nity to visit the city and its out­skirts. We sang all the songs in the bus as a group, and my daugh­ter en­joyed hum­ming along. We also dis­cov­ered that sch­nitzel is never eaten with noo­dles as in the song My Favourite Things. It is, on the other hand, ac­com­pa­nied with mashed pota­toes. That’s how the Aus­tri­ans like it.

In­ter­est­ingly for us, the orig­i­nal Trapp house where the Von trap fam­ily lived, was a stone throw away from where we stayed--the Schloss Ai­gen neigh­bour­hood. You can­not leave Salzburg with­out a slice of Mozart, though it is be­lieved that he did not like be­ing in his home­town as much as in Vienna. We picked his house, which is now a mu­seum, to get a lit­tle insight into his life.

As for my daugh­ter, she en­joyed be­ing in Schloss Ai­gen, which is a fif­teen min­utes bus ride from the city cen­tre. She en­joyed the long walks in the woods, and splash­ing away in the small streams. She loved pick­ing peb­bles and watch­ing the sky for paraglid­ers. As a fam­ily, our fond­est mem­o­ries of Aus­tria would be sleep­ing supine on the grass, star­ing up­wards, and watch­ing glid­ers fall from the sky like stars.

Arwa Ma­maji is a trav­eller. Af­ter her daugh­ter was born, she changed gears to live slightly off cen­tre. She is a film­maker and writer and, runs a blog called post­cards­fro­ma­mama. word­press.com. She loves black and white pho­tographs, is most com­fort­able in run­ning shoes and is stingy about clean­li­ness. She is al­ways look­ing out for new ideas for great sto­ries and is truly, madly, and ut­terly in love with cin­ema.

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