Who needs Rome when you have Rescued Sea Turtles?

Reed may have made it to Rome without me, but I still found a coliseum!

Reed may have made it to Rome without me, but I still found a coliseum!

This caption is only the least bit clever, if you caught a previous (very short) post a couple of months ago.  Please, by all means, you must click here.

Rovinj is a great place for a Croatian vacation because there are so many cool towns within driving distance.  On our first day, Dad took us to Porec, where they have an old Roman coliseum and an aquarium housed in an 1815 Austrian fort.  The following is a recount of our day in the beautiful sea-side town of  Porec…

mom and Eliot in this Roman Colliseum

Mom and Eliot in this Roman Coliseum

Eliot growling like the lion of the coliseum

Eliot growling with G-pa like the lion of the coliseum

Can't quite get enough of my only coliseum, Eliot digged it too...

Can’t quite get enough of my only coliseum, Eliot digged it too…

After our Roman experience, we headed to the aquarium which is a two-for-one deal, since it is housed in an old fort.  The Austrian’s occupied this territory in the 19th century…(they seem like such NICE people to be taking over a whole territory like that, eh?!!)

This octopus put on a great show...

This octopus put on a great show…

But, Eliot's favorite where these high-energy eels.

But, Eliot’s favorite were these high-energy eels.

But, the highlight of the aquarium is the rescued sea turtles.  They bring them here for rehabilitation when they are found in fisherman’s nets…

Nola, the rescued sea turtle.

Nola, the rescued sea turtle with such wise and ancient  eyes…

Levisons, I am not lying… that was her name 🙂

Outside of aquarium looks more like a prison. The inside is sparse, but fun knowing it is an old fort.

Outside of aquarium looks more like a prison. The inside is sparse, but fun knowing it is an old fort.

From the top of the fort, cool views of the mediterranean and Porec.

From the top of the fort, cool views of the Mediterranean and Porec.

But, let’s squeeze in ONE more historical sight,  and that is….a prehistoric town which houses a CROATIAN CASTLE!  The abandoned town of  Dvigrad houses old ruins of a castle from the 14th century.

Perhaps we should have named this blog 'Da Castles in Europe...'

Perhaps we should have named this blog ‘Da Castles in Europe…’

Grandparents and castles, could he be happier?

Grandparents and castles, could he be happier?

One more pic of this old relic, cuz it is just that cool.  The castle is pretty good too, eh Dad?

One more pic of this old relic, cuz it is just that cool. The castle is pretty good too, eh Dad?

Further on down the endless mountainous drive, we pass the "Montana Bar."  Um, really???

Further on down the endless mountainous drive, we pass the “Montana Bar.” Um, really???

It is a “Night Bar!”  (?????)

Yours in Croatian castles and coliseums, Kim

Yours in Croatian castles and coliseums, Kim

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The Mize’s Invade Croatia

Its true.  My hubby flew back to the states for graduation and my parents took me and my nearly-three-year-old to Rovinj, Croatia (or Hrvatska in Croatian.)  Let’s sum it up.  Gorgeous blue ocean, fantastic seafood and friendly people who welcome tourists and make you feel like coming back….IT WAS SPECTACULAR!

This was our view from the hotel, of the town of Rovinj.

This was our view from the hotel, of the town of Rovinj.  I climbed the tower of that church in the distance, for spectacular views…

Croatia is on the magnificent Mediterranean coast, but is known for having hard rocky beaches, rather than long sandy ones.  I think this adds to the beauty.

The hotel's option for swimming, if the ocean is not for you...

The hotel’s option for swimming, if the ocean is not for you…

Vast sandy beaches they may not be, but gorgeous coastline for lounging there are...here I am, lounging with my pop.

Vast sandy beaches they may not be, but gorgeous coastline for lounging there are…here I am, lounging with my Pop and a beer.

And, here is my Pop.

And, here is my Pop.

Since much of the shore is hard rock, they build some oasis for kiddos to swim.

Since much of the shore is hard rock, they build some oasis for kiddos to swim.

Typical Croatian beach, I did leave out the pics of the topless sunbathers and I neglected to visit the numerous nudist camps. Not kidding.

Typical Croatian beach, I did leave out the pics of the topless sunbathers and I neglected to visit the numerous nudist camps. Not kidding.

However, being that we were there in May, it was a tad cold for the Mize’s…

This was our idea of swimming in Croatia.  Indoor style for our little guy.

This was our idea of swimming in Croatia. Indoor style for our little guy. Let’s be clear, he was the only child wearing trunks as shorts. Every other man and boy were in speedo-style.

In the evening, we feasted on amazing seafood cooked to order.  Here, local fish, swiss chard and

In the evening, we feasted on amazing seafood cooked to order. Here, local fish, swiss chard and potatoes.

Mom ordered a typical Croatian dish, made of ground beef, pork and veal.

Mom ordered a typical Croatian dish, Cevapcici, made of ground beef, pork and veal.

Here is the view of Rovinj in the evening from our hotel room.  Gorgeous.

Yours in Croatian evenings, Kim.

The Danube River Valley

One has to choose their route when traveling between Vienna and Salzburg.  I recommend the longer route, cruising the Danube’s Wachau Valley.  Lovely little towns are spread out along this wine country and our first stop was Krems.

First stop, !?!? town

First stop, Krems, on yet another May holiday(church in session, all stores closed)

Another sculpture. honestly....

Another sculpture. Honestly….see the 3 generations of Mize-Humphrey’s bottom right.

At least there was plenty of gelato and baked goods to be found.

Stores may be closed, but at least there was plenty of Gelato and baked goods to be found.

Dolphins in Austria, of course.

Dolphins in Austria, of course.

But, we continue on to Durnstein. INCREDIBLE town.

But, we continue on to Durnstein.

This is an incredibly lovely, traffic free town with one claim to fame.   Richard the Lion-Hearted was imprisoned here in 1193…

Check out the vineyard below, with the castle ruins above.

Vineyard below, with the castle ruins above that imprisoned Richard the LionHearted

Now, it is full of lovely shops, restaurants, and Heurigen (wine taverns where the vintners sell their newest wine).  We managed to push a 15 kg toddler in a stroller around the narrow cobble-stoned lined streets to find a lovely spot for lunch.

Great weather for an outdoor meal.

Great weather for an outdoor meal.

the entire town was full of the most quaint architecture.

The entire town was full of the most quaint architecture.

Doncha just want to stop and order a Bier in the garden from this gal in the dirndl?

Doncha just want to stop and order a Bier in the garden from this gal in the dirndl?

The view of the Danube river from above, the end of the main road in town.

The view of the Danube river from above, the end of the main road in town.

The Danube River along the Wachau

The Danube River along the Wachau, a region known for superb white wine, Riesling and Gruner Veltliner

(Actually spelled  Grüner Veltliner…)

So, as Eliot fell asleep in the stroller being bumped along cobblestones, we make our way back to the car and drive further along the valley to stop at another site. Willendorf, is a tiny town where the oldest piece of European art was found.  She is the Venus of Willendorf, a well-endowed little sculpture that was discovered and thought to be 30,000 years old.  The actual fist-sized sculpture symbolizing fertility is safely in the Natural History Museum, here I am pictured with the Monument commemorating the find.

The actual 30,000 yr old sculpture is safely in the Natrual History Museum, here I am picutured  with the Monument

Does this monument make me look fat?

Lovely route home, of course clouds roll in as we approach Salzburg (the story of our life)

Lovely route home, of course clouds roll in as we approach Salzburg (the story of our life)

Austria and Germany have the best rast-stations EVER! This one is situated picturesquelyh in the mountains.

Austria and Germany have the best rast-stations EVER! This one is situated picturesquely in the mountains.

Yours in flowing wine valleys and voluptuous sculptures, Kim

Yours in flowing wine valleys and voluptuous sculptures, Kim

Vienna Day 3: Naschmarkt and Yet Another Church

For my most persevering followers, a short recount of our third day in Vienna.   The most unique aspect of our third day, is that my loving husband had to leave to return to Montana for work, while my parents and I continued further travels.  This particular day, my father also left us to travel to Bratislava, Slovakia for work-related duties.  Did you know you could just hop a train in Vienna and be in Slovakia within an hour?  I love Europe.

At any rate, after a lovely morning at the market, it was an afternoon with just my Mom and my son!

The whole clan, at the Naschmarkt, Vienna!

The whole clan, at the Naschmarkt, Vienna! Eliot practicing his ‘be healed’ pose.

The Naschmarkt, famous for a range of spices and exotic delicacies, breads and seafood.

The Naschmarkt, famous for a range of spices and exotic delicacies, breads and seafood dates back to the 16th Century.

Let it be known, I stocked UP on the spices here.  Or perhaps, let Customs know….!?

Olives!  What is not picutured is the most tasty Baklava and other honey-infused treats.

Antipasta Galore! What is not pictured is the most tasty Baklava and other honey-infused treats.

Once we said a somber Auf Wiedersehen to my hubby (honestly, not easy, it would be a long 10 days!), we continued on through the 1.5 kilometers of market…until the lil ‘un fell completely asleep.

Sleeping toddler in a stroller means...spritzers all around!

Sleeping toddler in a stroller means…spritzers all around!

Here, a spritzer with pomegranate. Yummy.  Let’s review:  my child historically has been a POOR napper.  What I have to owe for a two hour nap while Mom and I feast on gourmet Turkish food, I will never know.  So, once he awakes, the search for a playground begins.

Sure enough, we found a playground next to the St. Charles church.

Sure enough, we found a playground next to the St. Charles church (Karlskirch)

I know I have blogged endlessly about churches, and even I am getting tired of the ceiling pics, but this one is unique.  It has an elevator to the top of the dome, apparently it has something to do with the renovations, they probably  make so much money on tourists taking the lift, they will never tear it down!?  So, as you view the pic above, picture me and Eliot at the very top peering down. 🙂

The view inside, of the elvator, and a final set of stairs to take you to the very top.

The view inside, of the elevator, and a final set of stairs to take you to the very top.

A stairway to the cherubs on the fresco's above...

A stairway to the cherubs on the fresco’s above…it is quite impressive to view a fresco from only 10 ft away!

Fresco, anyone?

Fresco, anyone?

Once you climb the 120 stairs to the very top (Eliot made it the entire way!)..the view is a tad bid disappointing!

Once you climb the 120 stairs to the very top (Eliot made it the entire way!)..the view is a tad bit disappointing!

You can see the Vienna woods in the background, but only through chain-link fence. Harrumph.

Yours in cherub-beauty, Kim

Yours in cherub-beauty,
Kim

Vienna Day 2: Schloss Schönbrunn

Ah yes, another Palace (“Schloss”).  I never thought I would say this, but I am nearly “palaced-out.”  Yet, Schloss Schönbrunn was impressive and only a short subway ride away from the center of Vienna.  It was the summer palace of the Hapsburgs (imperial family for many many years).   Reed and I decided to skip the full tour and only enjoy the massive outdoor gardens…so large that  the beautiful Mirabell Gardens of Salzburg, see here would only fit into a small corner.

The Mize-Humphreys descend upon yet again another summer palace!

The Mize-Humphreys descend upon yet again another summer palace! Here, Eliot, refusing to smile.  Perhaps he is ‘palac-ed out’ as well.

The "backyard" of the imperial family's 'cabin' home.

The “backyard” of the imperial family’s ‘cabin’ home.

In the distance you can just make out the Roma-esque Ruin that sits a the end of the hill (built in 1756, so not really of the Romans, but of the Roman-architecture) and and the incredible Neptune Fountain a the end of the garden.

Closer-up view of the fountain and ???___

Approaching the Neptune fountain and Roman Ruin and…lots o’ tourists.

Kim n E-man in front of Neptune Fountain.  Great fun.

Kim n E-man in front of Neptune Fountain. Great fun. I just LOVE Vienna!

Another view of Neptune Fountain.  Next, we walk behind the showers...

Another view of Neptune Fountain. Next, we walk behind the showers…

A small path allows you to view the palace from inside the fountain...

A small path allows you to view the palace from inside the fountain…lovely.

Man or beast? I dunno, but Buns of Steel to be certain.

Half-man Half- fish, named “Gluteus Maximus”….one of Neptune’s entourage beasts.

I neglected to mention how the we somehow dodged inclement weather on our Vienna trip, but here the clouds threaten to move in...

I neglected to mention how the we somehow dodged inclement weather on our Vienna trip, but here the clouds threaten to move in…a view of the back of the palace.

For an extra fee, Schonbrun provides incredible maze gardens and play area, great fun.

For an extra fee, Schonbrunn provides incredible maze gardens and play area, great fun.

Here, Eliot getting some serious Feng shui by touching each Harmony Stone (a 20th century edition to this 17th century palace).

Here, Eliot getting some serious Feng Shui by touching each Harmony Stone (a 20th century edition to this 17th century palace).

Not pictured, a really lovely lunch in the corner of the gardens just as you would enter the Zoo of Vienna!  Consistently, Austria doesn’t provide tasteless fast food  options when it comes to these venues.  Instead, we had a gourmet lunch only 50 meters from a bunch of gorillas and an Imperial Palace.  Also not pictured, the incredible downpour we  successfully waited out as we exited the palace!?

Arching gardens as we exit.  My lovely mum, hubby and exhausted toddler.

Arching gardens as we exit. My lovely mum, hubby and exhausted toddler.

Yours in flowery arches and  buns-of-steel-fountains,

Kim

Pondering Prater in Vienna

As if a full day of sighting-seeing on foot in Old Town Vienna wasn’t enough with Grandparents and toddler in tow, we thought it would be a good idea to ‘stop by’ Prater Park on our way home.   Prater park was once the Emeror’s hunting grounds that he donated to the people of Vienna as a public park, but now it houses an old amusement park.

Let’s be perfectly clear.  Vienna is known for it’s royal palaces from the decades it was ruled by the Hapsburgs….and the decadent Sacher torte (chocolate cake)…and it’s coffeehouses (they make a mean “cafe melange”)…and it’s music (Mozart lived here too) and more recently it is known for its museums.   Did we indulge in these things?  Besides a good caffeine-charge, no not really.  No, we went to an old run-down amusement park in the evening.  Because…..we….have….a….toddler.  And he LOVED it, of course.

Thankfully, Prater Park was only one subway stop away from our apartment but pulling a nearly three-year-old away from this gigantic park was quite a struggle.  Lastly, I will just mention, that it is know for it’s historic 220 foot tall ferris wheel (Riesenrad) with it’s own museum….because it is really THAT old- this is no London Eye!  (see here for our London Eye Experience).

So, let’s begin with the most cheesy photo of the day.

The Mize-walds ide the 1897 Wiener Riesenrod!

The Mize-walds ride the 1897 Wiener Riesenrod!

I know these computer animated photos are silly and only a money maker for the park, but look how happy Eliot looks!  I couldn’t resist forking over the Euros…

Here we are, more cheesy photos of a really happy kid.

Here we are, more cheesy photos of a really happy kid.

The ferris wheel did promise great views of the city and surrounding hills, and provided a cute little museum on it's history.

The ferris wheel did promise great views of the city and surrounding hills.  But, we decided it would be our last stop.

My overall impression of Prater Park is mixed.  It varies from a tired, worn-out park with cricket-y old rides, to a vintage park with classic-old-rides.   Then, they throw in a brand-spanking-new ride that towers over the entire place.  I mean TOWERS- check out these swings.

The Praterturm- 117 meters (>380 ft) tall, you just SIT in the swing!  Crazy.

The Praterturm- 117 meters (>380 ft) tall, you just SIT in the swing! Totally nutz.

But, first, the toddler rides.  Bumper cars for kiddos.

But, first, the toddler rides. Bumper cars for kiddos.

Bonus: there is no entrance fee, so you pay per ride.  Kind of a vintage way to do it…

Another look at the giant swing, and this Boomerang rollercoaster was GREAT fun, I do love a good coaster.

Another look at the giant swing, and this Boomerang roller-coaster was GREAT fun, I do love a good coaster.

Eliot was oozing with happiness.

Eliot was oozing with happiness.

Cheesy rides abound.

Cheesy amusements abound. What IS that gorilla thing??

And, a LIVE carousel.  Cruel or cool?? not sure.  The smoker-operator really adds to the ambiance.

And, a LIVE carousel. Cruel or cool?? not sure. The smoker-operator really adds to the ambiance.

Thank GOD there is an oasis of a restaurant for dinner.  Rick Steves even recommends this, Schweizerhaus, as a “local-style family dinner with great Czech beer…classic conviviality.”  And, he was right, it was very tasty with a lovely biergarten to boot!

They only sell Czech Budvar, NOTHING like our Budweiser thank God!

They only sell Czech Budvar.  Thankfully, NOTHING like our Budweiser.

Prost!

Prost!

for an explanation of Reed’s Ampelmanchen shirt, see our Berlin post, here…

Dusk approaches...

Dusk approaches…

So, it is TIME.

So, it is TIME.

We enter the old car (Gulp).

We enter the old car (Gulp). Look closely inside this one.  You can actually have a romantic candle-lit dinner! (LOL)

Going up....

Going up….

Prater Park at night!

Prater Park at night! (yes, they offer a smaller and newer ferris wheel for those afraid of heights)

Another fun shot at night.

Another fun shot at night.  Check out the height of those swings on the right! Seriously.

Vienna evening view from da wheel.

Vienna evening view from da wheel. Such an impressive city.

Vienna's financial district, far from the character of Old Town.

Vienna’s financial district, far from the character of Old Town.

All in all, if you have extra time, check out Prater. If you have a kid, how can you NOT?

All in all, if you have extra time, check out Prater. If you have a kid, how can you NOT?

Yours in swings and coasters,

Kim

Vienna: Hanging with the Hapsburgs

So let’s return to proper chronological order here….  and to a town I have always longed to visit, VIENNA!  The Grandparents flew into Munich on a Saturday (1.5 hour drive from Salzburg), and the whole clan departed the next day for a trip to Vienna.  We stopped in Melk, Austria on the way (see here) and on Monday we completed a whirlwind walking tour of Old Town Vienna.    Only a tad bit reminiscent of the Griswalds, the 4 adults and toddler really had a full day.

The Mize Clan in "Vien" Austria!

The Mize Clan in “Wien” Austria!

Only off the subway for minutes, I am immediately approached my Mozart himself.

Only off the subway for minutes, I am immediately approached my Mozart himself, selling concert tickets.

First stop off the U-Bahn, St. Stephans Church...

First stop off the U-Bahn, St. Stephen’s Cathedral, an icon of Old Town Vienna…

Huge pedestrian walk in the heart of Old Town, here you see the side view of the vast St. Stephan's Church

Stephanplatz- a huge pedestrian walk in the heart of Old Town, here you see the side view of the vast St. Stephen’s Cathedral, under renovation

After making our way to the Tourist Info for train tips, we really start our walking tour near the Opera and Albertina Platz.

Home of the Albertina Museum,missed by these Griswalds.

Home of the Albertina Museum,missed by these Griswalds.

We did skip the chocolate indulgence a the Sacher Cafe (another Vienna ‘tourist-must-do’ )…but thanks to Rick Steves we did stop at tasteful and thought provoking Statues…

Monument against war and fascism sits on an old concentration camp site.

Monument against War and Fascism sits on an old concentration camp site.This was a tasteful and moving corner of town, well worth a visit.

Remind us of the consequences of no keeping a government on track.

Reminds us of the consequences of not keeping a government on track.

Next up on our self-guided tour, Kaisergruft.

This old church houses the remains of the Hapsburgs (the Imperial family)

Kaisergruft: This old church houses a CRYPT-  the remains of the Hapsburgs (the Imperial family)

Historical note- the Hapsburgs ruled Austria from 1273 to 1818.

Nothing like a good crypt to perk up your morning.

Nothing like a good crypt to perk up your morning.

Across the street is the fountain of the four rivers, my opening pic of the Mize-Clan (photography by Reed Humphrey). By now, hunger prevailed so we sought refuge in one of Vienna’s many outdoor restaurants.

More wiener schnitzel!

Besides, Vienna is known for its cafes, a good reason to have more espresso….

We made our way through further massive pedestrian mall with contemporary retail shops to GRABEN strasse (‘ditch’ street).   Originally a moat for a Roman military camp, it now houses the Plague Monument.

Graben- the plage monument on the left.

Graben- the plague monument on the left called The Trinity Column.

The Trinity Column (no, for you pagans not Larry, Mo and Curly but the Father, Son and Holy Spirit) was erected as a bribe or ‘thank-you’ to God from the remaining 2/3’s population of Vienna that survived the plague in 1690.

The Trinity Column

The Trinity Column- see the old naked woman (symbolizes the plague) being tossed into the Abyss. Thanks again, Rick Steves.

We make our way down _______street toward Hofsburg Palace.

We turn off Graben and make our way down Kohlmarkt toward Hofsburg Palace.

Because this blog simply does not have enough palaces, here is an attempt to capture the Imperial Hofsburg Palace.

Hofsburg, quite massive, here is a shot of nearing the entrance.

Hofsburg, quite massive, here is a shot of nearing the entrance.

The grand front door! I personally love the road biker smiling at me, nice ride!

The grand entrance. I personally love the road biker smiling at me, nice ride!

Hofburg extravagance

Hofburg extravagance

And ANOTHER fountain, this time in front of Hofsburg.

And ANOTHER fountain, this time in front of Hofsburg.

Raise your hand if you're sure...

Raise your hand if you’re sure…

We entered Hofburg, but didn’t do the whole scene.  It is pretty massive and we wanted to save our feet for the Hapsburg’s summer palace the next day.

Across from the dripping-with-baroque architecture palace is a simple building.

Across from the dripping-with-baroque architecture palace is a simple building AND Roman ruins!

Turns out, an architect, Adolf Loos was a revolutionary dude who protested the ornate Greek-ish facades by building stripped down ‘less-is-more’ functional structures.  Apparently this building (among others) was considered shocking in it’s day as an anti-art nouveau statement.  These roman ruins appear at first as if the corner is left under constant renovation.  Instead, it is a bit of Roman-Vienna left as a museum.

Inside Hofburg, here one of the oldest gates.

Inside Hofburg, here one of the oldest gates.

Hofburg encompasses 640 years of arc13th Century to 1913.  Here, an inner courtyeard.

Hofburg encompasses 640 years of architecture: 13th Century to 1913. Here, In der Burg.

Note the statue of Emperor Franz II, and  tower behind with 3 types of  clocks.

One of the clocks shows the phases of the moon

One of the clocks shows the phases of the moon

Another view from with In der Burg

Another view from with In der Burg

I just think this Lion belongs on a cover of a Lonely Plant travel book.

I just think this Lion belongs on a cover of a Lonely Plant travel book.

We exit the Hofburg and near the Museum Quarter.  First, this little library…

Hofbibliothek.  The National Library

Hofbibliothek. The National Library

Enter, Museum Quartier

Enter, Museum Quartier

But, Eliot fell asleep in the stroller and we all had tired feet, so we just sat here and relaxed outside of Leopold Museum

But, Eliot fell asleep in the stroller and we all had tired feet, so we just sat here and relaxed outside of the Leopold Collection of Austrian Art.

So, a great day of sight-seeing, but it didn’t end there!  Since our lil guy slept so well while we lounged in Museum Quartier…we decided to visit Prater Park…the Amusement park in Vienna.  However, those pic will have to wait for another day.  This has been one long post…but Vienna is just like that.

Yours in Crypts and Cafes, Kim

Yours in Crypts and Cafes,
Kim