TAKE TWO COUNTRY 6: Austria’s Really Perfect Landscape and Those Innovative, Healthy, Creative, Fine-Looking People!

“Anyone who keeps the ability to see beauty never grows old.” – Austrian Proverb
 

The easiest thing to do in Austria, based on our family opinion, is to appreciate beauty. The landscape all throughout the country is phenomenal. We meant it when we say, “jaw-dropping, inhale exhale majestic.”
 
During our first visit in the country back in 2013, we visited Vienna and Innsbruck and we were floored with amazement in every country landscape we saw during our train rides passing through towns from Vienna to Innsbruck. We can ride the train back and forth and we’ll never get tired of the nature, view and even houses with their happy cows grazing in the majestic field.

 

Here goes our first THEN (2013) and NOW (2017) travel family photo in #Vienna Stephanplatz! . . Beautiful Vienna! Beautiful Austria, we are so captivated by your beauty and culture! ❤️ We’ll explore this country any opportunity we’ve got. .

Never did a month pass that we didn’t talk about visiting again Austria. We wanted to go back to Innsbruck and leisurely enjoy the mountain peaks. However, this second time around, we enjoyed worldschooling our little travelers in Salzburg and discovered the UNESCO World Heritage Town, Hallstatt.

 

Salzburg
                                           

                                                                             
Salzburg is Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s birthplace, the city where legends are born. Kids noted that their mom was being “weird’ in the room where legend was born at No. 9 Getreidegasse in Salzburg, Austria. Like any “typical” traveler, Mozart didn’t quite like Salzburg as much as he loved Vienna. That fact alone comforts our traveller’s hearts. The understanding of Mozart’s childhood, dreams and environment he grew up basically validates our family trails we seek for our three Mozarts.

All about Mozart
Enjoyed the awesome creative vibes in this house! Mozart power! ❤️💚💞

 
We gave Salzburg landscape a chance to impress us like Innsbruck, but this traveling family somehow chases the fog, instead of the sun.
 
 
 

You know climbing the peak in that perfect moment of huge, gigantic enormous cloud covering over the peak followed by one cold long rain showers. Yeah, we like our peak views.. just like this. 😀 . .

 
Hallstatt 
Oh Hallstatt! A small village by Lake Hallstatt in the moutainous region of Salzkammergut. We went to explore Hallstatt from Salzburg on a day trip taking two trains one way. It was well worth a day visit and probably more! We really didn’t want to leave. Would you leave a view like this?
 

Another #nofilterneeded #familyphoto ! When we’re together enjoying majestic landscapes, that’s family bliss to treasure forever! .

We also enjoyed the Salt Mine which took more than 3-4 hours and we didn’t even notice! Definitely a recommended activity for kids in Europe – tourist mode or definitely event long term travel. How fantastic it would be to stay more than a month in this place, we can only imagine.
 

The oldest salt mine in the world. Read that China duplicated the salt mine minus that awesome ancient history and archeology behind the salt mine ❤️

One of our favorite country to explore is definitely Austria. We have explored 30 countries to date across three continents. That makes us well travelled family, right? We say, yes! We set goals to live the life we imagined.
 
 

COUNTRY 29: Slovakia, Little Big Country

“The way you call into the mountains is the way the echo will sound. “ – Slovak Proverb



Uummm, what’s  that body of water surrounding this country? None? Really? A landlock country… is definitely something new for our family. We had lived in a peninsula country for quite quite some time now. A little drive away from home will lead us to the Arabian Gulf. Don’t get us started on our archipelago, dearly beloved Philippines. 

Back to Slovakia… little big country surrounded by countries! It’s fantastic in a different sense. Two hours away from Vienna, Austria, ta da, Bratislava, the capital city of Slovakia. 
It’s like exploring a different world passing through the magic closet (yeah, like Narnia.)  
 Churches, museum, shops and Dr. Seuss House (not really but our hostel accommodation), our two days in the  country is satisfying to say the least. 

These traveling kids see our City Tour in different perspective.. education should be customized, travel with kids should b specialized to the kids need as well… You can almost see the traveling dad rolls his eyes at this! 😂

Waking up in an ambiance of medieval city, we definitely had a fun time going around the city, checking out monuments and restaurants alike. 

Bratislava is kid friendly capital city. Although, we never really see that many kids. Really.

A picture says a thousand words, yes, but the conversations our family had during our family travels will be treasured by all members of the family. 

Enjoying Bratislava Castle and Danube River

As if our days in Bratislava couldn’t get any perfect… we present you, bookstores and street art!

If we see a good library or bookstore in any city, we’re stuck for sometime for sure — this bookstore in Bratislava definitely would have made it to top 1 if are more stories about the country

Bratislava can easily have been a day trip from Vienna or Budapest. But hey, not for our family. There are lots of see, lots of discussion to make. It’s that Little Big Country. 

COUNTRY 26: Lithuania, Real is Beautiful 

Dogs cannot make dreams come true — people must do that. – Lithuanian Proverb

Well, we’ll, well.. Our  traveling family has a dog. We kind of know that our dog didn’t make us travel to a lot of awesome countries and made us realize our travel goals.  We are avid advocate of the necessity of goal setting. Set goals. Live the life you imagined. 

We’re glad to have made it to Lithuania. Positively surprising, this country indeed is. We visited two cities, Vilnius (the capital city) and Kaunas. We walked around these cities and for whatever reasons, the kids were very playful and carefree.  Even the traveling parents has lots of time for romance, in between churches, museums and monuments. 

Full Day City Tour in Vilnius means kids playing half the time!
We celebrated our youngest traveller’s 5th birthday in a very petite  ice cream and cake shop. 

She celebrated her 5th birthday in Lithuania 🇱🇹! She says this a lot 😕
Basketball and Trampoline, that’s a great way to celebrate 5th birthday, right?
Of course, we had fun exploring a new city for another year of our little explorer’s adventures. 
Read books and drink coffee. Those words are music to our ears when we had a long day exploring. The locals and residents are still heavy on reading in this country, cafes are so beautiful to observe and to just relax and enjoy a good cup of coffee and books. We took with us a lot of books home, too. 
Beautiful City, Books and Coffee

Exploring another city in Lithuania, Kaunas is the second-largest city, former citadel of Russian Empire, temporary capital of Lithuania during the interwar period, point of intersection of all main roads. In addition to all historic infrastructure, plazas and monuments, the  landscape is magnificent. 

Kaunas is seriously gorgeous!
Walking around Kaunas, there were a lot of stops to appreciate the landscape
Oh, the Ant and the Grasshopper story, it may look like. But did you know that Vladislavas Starevicius is the first to creat masterpieces in puppet animation?! She learned that while eating a bag of fresh strawberries we got for less than a euro.
If this country is a person, Lithuania is beautiful inside and outside. Do you agree? 




COUNTRY 24: Epic Estonia? Exactly! 

 “He who does not jump into water will not learn to swim.” – Estonian Proverb 



Tallinn, Estonia

Our family stayed right in the middle of  Tallinn’s Old Town. Needless to say, we  were deeply fascinated. We can  almost hear and  feel the stories of  Tallinn’s Old Town, one of the best preserved medieval cities in Europe and,  it seems  like  another super awesome  tick in our  UNESCO World Heritage Sites  family bucketlist.

Tallinn Old Town is captivating like our little lady traveller

 

Ghost stories, medieval history lessons, perfect view, another day well spent with kids… *swooonnnnn*

Of course,we will  not walkthrough our family travel blog readers with options on how to explore Old Town  of this  fantastic city.  When it comes to travel and  to life,  one family’s logic is another family’s crazy.

We would,  however, highlight what makes our family travel  memorable. After all, this blog, at  the very least, is a testament that we can travel to  places we’ve never imagined  if we set our goals together  as family.

When we travel, we are inclined to be biased to cities or countries who have the culture of reading. Reading is a symptom of desire to learn and innovate.  That’s really important to  develop anyone or any  place.

So, guess what we think of Tallinn, Estonia. We stayed one full  day at the Estonian Children Literature Centre, with lots of reading and creative activities for our kids, for free!  Yes, not  every kid can travel like our kids do (that’s why our kids are very grateful day in, day out… gratitude is our top family value,  right next  to faith.) But, every kid should have access to this kind of  learning environment. How we wish every city, province, state or territory would provide this to every kid, free read,  free to  play, free to imagine! The world would  be  a way  better place.

I guess,  what we are saying,  check out what this Literature Centre is about.

Estonian Children Literature Centre, Free, Fun, Fabulous
 


Tartu, Estonia

After having stimulating medieval lessons in Tallinn, we had  quite  an   impression of Estonia.  Much more when we visited  Tartu, the second largest city of the country and known as the intellectual centre of the country!

 

We breezed through walking around  Old Town, University of  Tartu, Toomemagi Park among others.   It’s not another  town in Europe for  us. We enjoyed staring at famous people’s statues  and reading the history behind them.

Again for us, our family travel adventure highlight is  the modern Science Centre AHHAA, full hands-on exhibits and the 4D cinema.


Science Centre AHHAA: This is the way to build a wall – take that D Trump.
With science, nothing is possible. Lift up a car, why don’t we?!


Epic Estonia has been viewed by the some travel blogs to be the worst tourism slogan because of how the small the country is. But hey, we’ve been to Estonia and it’s not the country’s size which decides how epic the country could be. He possibilities, the intellectual and creative opportunities, exactly epic!  

How did we bring “Epic” home with us?!! Books about Estonia!

COUNTRY 23: Finland and Dreams!

“Happiness does not come from happiness itself, but from the journey towards achieving it.” – Finnish Proverb 


Our gateway to Eastern Europe from Middle East  is Helsinki, Finland. Making Finland, our 23rd country to explore as family.  If you know our family up close and really personal (which will be the case if you read all our blogs because that’s really us! – read on! ), then you’ll know that NO. 23 is a huge life sign for us. Not in a Michael Jordan kind of way. But that huge and enormous impact. We guarantee, that Finland will play part of our family life’s future. We’ll do all efforts, of course, and God wills will pay the wave. Anyway, we are a happy bunch because we are loving our journey. 

That moment we landed in Helsinki… it’s like taking a huge breathe of fresh air! Inhale, exhale. We felt we were home in a strange land. Actially, we always feel at ease in Scandinavia countries like Sweden, Denmark and Norway. Although some geography experts will claim that Finland is not part of Scandinavian Region. Oh well, either way, these countries are our true north. (Literally and figuratively!) 

When in Helsinki, do what the city statues do

Unique Christian churches, busy people going on their business, convenient transportation system, artistic places everywhere and of course, playground of big and small kids abound. 

WHAT WE BELIEVE : Faith is personal, religion optional. Prayer is between us and God and very private, place of worship is communal – we just love this place!

We stayed in memorable accommodations  in this capital city – cabin by the sea and an apartment owned by an awesome artist. You know those phrases we, as  traveling parents often say during our holidays, became more surreal —-“People live this way?! Day in and day out? What a spectacular way to live.” Of course, the optimistic family family members will rave and say with conviction – We can live like this, too!”  

Cabin by the sea in the forest close to the city! Hhhmmmmm blissful family bonding
Our second apartment in Helsinki where we stayed is homey and artsy! Very! 💞
 
With  this energy and vibes, we started the first day of spring with the biggest bon fire our family has ever seen! And yes, spring coincided with Easter festivities, oh what fun.  Easter bonfires in Seurasaari is a Finnish Tradition during Holy Saturdays . According to Finnish folklore, evil spirits, witches and trolls are particularly busy on that day and bonfires are believed to scare them away. 

For our family, this actually  makes sense more than Easter bunnies, don’t you think? Since Jesus Christ is yet to rise, the Black Saturday is like a fun day for evil spirits, hence, bonfires can help! That’s how our family interpret this tradition. Anyhow, it’s really cool to witness world traditions  especially one that we can relate to. 

We are the Mom and Dad on fire with the desire to live life with kids 😄👍
Experience over things. Rationale over traditions
Another highlot of our Finland adventure will be life’s celebrations! I ur eldest kid traveller celebrated her 11th birthday in Helsinki at Linnanmaki, an amusement park we enjoyed way better than Disneyland. 
Traveling with 11-year old little lady! That’s a load of leadership there!

Oh yes, she’s feisty , courageous,  determined, gorgeous, visionary  and eleven! Her talents, wits, beauty and brain will sure change the world we live in. What better way to celebrate this by pumping the adrelin with adventure and sugar in a very metropolitan city? 
We definitely made family memories in this country. True to our vision of living up to the uniqueness and individuality of our family members, up to paving our own family trails. It’s just really fantastic exploring a new place while kids grow… by age and by number of countries visited. 
The strongest survives, and the most adaptable to change, THRIVES! Let’s keep traveling ❤️

Dr.Seuss’ House in Bratislava

“Why fit in when  you were  born  to stand  out? ‘ –  Dr.Seuss  

Oh  the places we find together, we even managed to find Dr.Seuss House!  Or  at least, that’s what  we call Hotel Galeria! A unique hotel very close to  the  Main Train Station in Bratislava, Slovakia (our 29th Country! )

Look, what our Little Lady Backpacker ran into while exploring Eastern Europe ❤️Congratulations, today is YOUR day!!

The facade of  the Hotel Galeria is full of colors, screaming for  admiration. The irregular shape and architecture is quite  pleasing to watch from  afar, much more in a closer view. 
This is the hotel lobby! Don’t you just love all the colors?!

The view from the inside  of the hotel also  never disappoints. The lobby looks like an artist hard-at-work and all wall and table covers look like abstract colorful painting!
Her bed and the colors! Including colorful towels. What a wonderful way to introduce the kids to backpacking in Europe 💞
This is not a sponsored post. We were just in awe having to experience a hotel like this that our eldest traveller described the hotel in her IG account as “one of the best hotels she has stayed at.” We book our hotel reservation one day before heading to Slovakia from Hungary.  It was  a reasonable rate for a 2-star hotel. 
Yes, it’s a 2-star hotel. We could recommend a lot of improvements on facilities, yes, but we always get what we paid for, right? With this hotel, plus lots of color, art and good customer service! 
Waking up to art in Hotel Galeria ❤️

What would you do when you see this Hotel? Do you dare check in? Would you? 😊

Hoops, the name of the hotel is Hotel Galleria. However, this hotel will always be  Dr. Seuss House for our family. It’s a really unique concept worth benchmarking anywhere. Don’t you agree?