Category Archives: Activities for kids

Roman Cavalry displace their skills at Carnuntum – A day amongst the Romans (Part 2)

The four riders wonderfully brought Roman Cavalry history to life, providing the crowd with an excellent display during the recent Roman Fest at Carnuntum Archaeological Park.


Carnuntum which is situated next to the Danube River, about 30mins drive from central Vienna, was a Roman Provincial Capital and today visitors can experience the feel of Roman life by spending time exploring a set of wonderfully reconstructed buildings. Images of the site on a normal visitor day can be seen here and here.

A few images from the Cavalry display:



































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Filed under Activities for kids, Austrian History, Festivals, History, Out and about in Lower Austria, Uncategorized, Vienna Life

The Physician, religions, work and fun – A day amongst the Romans (Part 1)

Carnuntum Roman Fest – Part 1

It’s not every day that you learn how to take an arrow head out of someone’s skull, sit in a Roman Villa with soldiers and citizens milling about, or find out about the latest cosmetics and fashions in (Ancient) Rome.

Carnuntum Archaeological Park is always worth a visit but yesterday was somewhat different as my family  joined hundreds of other visitors attending the Roman Fest.  Carnuntum which is situated next to the Danube River, about 30mins drive from central Vienna, was a Roman Provincial Capital and today visitors can experience the feel of Roman life by spending time exploring a set of wonderfully reconstructed buildings. Images of the site on a normal visitor day can be seen here and here.

My daughter is a bit of a history fanatic, something I’d like to claim comes from me but in reality it’s more a result to exposure to places like Carnuntum where you can touch and feel the past, alongside watching and reading everything connected to Terry Deary’s Horrible Histories. So for her history is something real, alive, accurate, and fun. As for me, my interested in history unfortunately makes me one of those sad people who mumbles loudly in cinema’s at ‘historical movies’ or around tour guides whose historical presentations are full of inaccuracies. My daughter and I are therefore a rather tough audience to impress and it was, I suspected, something of a relief to my wife that the Roman Fest lived up to the high expectations we have of the Carnuntum site.

A few images of the day:

Tools of the trade for a Roman Physician…..


Luckily the Romans had a good command of German as I don’t think most of us could manage the Latin…..


All the instruments where made by the Physician himself and based upon original Roman descriptions. His talk enthralled H, especially the bits about cutting open the skull…..


The main Villa was full of visitors listen to the talk by the Physician or exploring the building, but also some of the City’s military……


Outside the main Villa near the shops order was being maintained by the local auxiliary…..


I wonder if this chap was in need of the Physician or had already been to see him?……………..


I was outvoted as we passed this cosmetics stall on the main street and some time was spent chatting about (and buying) some Roman creams etc……


As the discussion of perfumes and creams continued, I was distracted by the public announcements on the new status of the Sect known as the Christians……..


Not to be distracted by this talk of the Christians, I wandered further down the road to watch the priest perform a more traditional ceremony……















The Roman Fest had plenty for the kids to get their hands dirty and minds active. From designing mosaics…….


….or ceramic painting……


While other children painted shields and swords, H decided to practice her catapult (sling shot) skills….



Then on to exercising the brain with a Roman board game…..



While wandering around you had to keep an eye out for the traffic……


…..but wandering was the thing to do as there were so many sights to see, people to talk to and things to do. Other distractions meant that we missed the wedding but I did get some shots of the wedding party preparing……




In addition to the slaves, there were some free Celts at the festival and H had her name translated……



Finally, visiting military units were encamped around the edge of the site and here are a selection of images from the camps…..


















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Filed under Activities for kids, Austrian Roman History, History, Out and about in Lower Austria, Vienna Life

Magnificent entertainment in the hunchback world

On the last Sunday in May we headed south of Vienna into a region in the State of Lower Austria known as the hunchback world. Nestled within this rather beautiful hill country is the small town of Bad Schönau, our destination for a day of wonderful entertainment.

The purpose of our trip was to take H and her friend to the Fabelhaft – a festival of storytelling through words, mime, puppetry, music and magic. What I had expected to be a fun day for the kids turned out to be marvellous entertainment for ‘children’ from 4 to 104!

My personal favourite was the feet puppetry of Laura Kibel from Italy:

I’ve posted a selection of pictures from her performance here

While they loved the feet puppetry, the girls couldn’t stop laughing at the silent comedy of the KGB Clowns from Russia. Their performance captured the audience who were drawn deeper and deeper into the crazy world created by two artists who had no need for words.

A selection of shots from their performance can be seen here

Other acts (amongst others) on the day included these wooden puppets….

…musical entertainment……


….and magic…..

In addition to the festival, I was also rather taken by the village of Bad Schönau and the surrounding area…

As we sat drinking coffee in the sun, outside a local restaurant, the quiet of the Sunday morning was broken by the sounds of the village band playing as people came out from a church gathering:

The local church itself sits on a small hill dominating and defining its environment:

Walking through the fields near the village we came across this tiny chapel:

From the chapel we entered a small coppice and through the trees could be seen a local castle nestling on yet another hillside:


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Filed under Activities for kids, Art, Festivals, Live performances, Out and about in Lower Austria, Theatre, Uncategorized, Vienna Life

A playground for young and old in summer or winter

Back in February I blogged about my day around the Old Danube area of Vienna, enjoying the chance to walk on the frozen waters and watching others ice skating, skiing, practicing ice hockey and generally making the most of this outdoor winter playground.

On Sunday, with the sun shining down on a glorious Viennese day, I was back once again to take pleasure in some of the summer fun available in Vienna’s water world.

One advantage of this area is that there is a good scattering of restaurant around the water’s edge and our first port of call was Zur Alten Kaisermühle….

A lovely place to sit on a sunny afternoon, you can relax while in the distance watching others swimming, sailing, fishing, boating and generally mucking about on the water. Helpful, friendly staff added to the agreeable environment. Alas if you are a vegetarian (such as me) then the menu is very limited, however the meat eaters in my party reported that the flesh was good…..

After lunch we took as stroll. Whether from the water’s edge or from the vantage point of a bridge it was easy to see the attraction of the water’s to anglers, they are simply teeming with fish….

There are a variety of options for spending time on the water but on this occasion we decided to hire a paddle boat, which in the hot sun turned out to be a little more energetic than expected but great entertainment for my nine year old daughter.

Our journey by paddle boat was not without some delay and obstruction when one of the local swans decided to investigate our craft and refused to allow us to pass….

Some parts of the water’s edge provide open access to the public. Others are occupied by boating or swimming areas, as well as restaurants and other facilities. But also occupying space around the Old Danube are small houses with petite gardens and/or piers for mooring boats…….

The lure of the paddle boat was not for everyone last Sunday but luckily on the Old Danube there are a wide range of options….

As we departed I was reminded that further down this waterway I had watched dragon boat racing last June – something I included in this blog post

Useful link:

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Filed under Activities for kids, Environment, Sports, Vienna Life, Wine, Beer & Food

A major wetland on our doorstep

Earlier in the week I had the chance to go walking in a small part of the Marchauen Donau National Park. I say part, for as you can see from the website it starts inside the boundaries of Vienna and follows the Danube River for the 36km through Lower Austria to the Slovakia border.

This major central European wetland provides a valuable range of habitats as well as offering those living in or visiting our corner of Europe the chance get close to nature. On this short excursion I had the opportunity to observe a colony of Storks, nesting, engaging in mating displays and hunting in the watery meadows:

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Filed under Activities for kids, Environment, Out and about in Lower Austria, Vienna Life

Ice, shovel, hockey sticks…..what else?

If you head down to Vienna’s Old Danube, don’t forget to take a shovel……

When you’ve cleared the ice of the snow, put on your skate’s, and have donned your Vienna Capitals shirt, then the Ice Hockey practice can begin….

or you could just stick with skating but mine out for the dog walkers….

Alternatively, you could just take a stroll……

Sailing with a boat is right out……

but if you’ve remembered your pump….

you can go sailing across the ice, pulled along by the breeze…

However, there is something to be said for good old fashioned skies…

 But it’s not the place for a quiet sleep…..

and some take flight….

But if you are looking for peace and quiet you’ll need to avoid the nearby Danube as its something of a busy, working river….

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Filed under Activities for kids, Entertainment, Environment, Vienna Life

Ice World

Back in February 2011 I spent a few enjoyable days sitting around the City Hall square, here in Vienna, whilst H had fun on the giant ice rink that had been placed in front of the Rathaus. This year’s ‘Vienna Ice World’ kicks off tomorrow (20th Jan ’12) and lasts until the 4th March 2012. Here’s the link for more details.

I expect H will be dragging me down to the 7,000 m2 of ice on a regular basis. Here are a few pictures from one of last year’s trips to the City Hall rink:

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Filed under Activities for kids, City Centre, Entertainment, Sports, Vienna Life