From the busy shopping street Mariahilfestraße, a peek down one of the unassuming side streets reveals one of the six WWII leftovers sprinkled across the city. (Side note: each of the towers is of a different height, but all of the tower platforms are at the exact same sea level so as to coordinate air defense.)
Now the tower platform serves to delight visitors with views across Vienna.
Vienna has a busy skyline. Sometimes it seems the number of cranes outnumbers the church spires.
Inside this particular flak tower is the Haus des Meers, where a friend and I took our respective children for a change of pace from endless hours at the pool and continual sleepovers. The secret to a successful visit is the same as it is for the Musee d’Orsay in Paris: start at the top floor and work your way down.
Lots of the usual aquarium denizens, of course. We watched this chameleon change colors–I’ve never seen a chameleon do that before.
These two seahorses seemed amused by the crab’s antics.
The last stop on the aquarium route is the “petting zoo,” a tank of very friendly koi.
Back on street level, the spires of Sankt Mariahilf and Stiftskirche.
Lunch was at Türkis, an (obviously) Turkish restaurant along Mariahilfestraße, and one of the few in Vienna to serve lamb kebabs instead of the ubiquitous doner kebabs made of chicken. Four days in Istanbul did not make me an expert on Turkish food, but I will say that my lunch of lamb kebab was as good as we experienced on our holiday. Perhaps that my friend spoke Turkish to the staff had something to do with our excellent service and delicious lunch, as well?