Ever since we moved over here Dad has been saying, "Save Vienna for me!". Uh. OK. You don't have to twist my arm for me to hang out with you in Wien. Just tell me when. Lucky enough, Dad and his philanthropic ways were in need of a trip over to Israel. So, why not just stop over in Vienna for a couple days? Everyone's doing it. No brainer. Two for one special. Plus, it was Josh's birthday!
Such a good time. We must have walked at least 7-8 miles a day venturing out in all directions around the city. We took in all the sites. Museum Quarter where we checked out the Leopold Museum and MUMOK. The Rathaus, Parliament, and University buildings were neighbors to our hotel. Imperial Palace. Albertina Museum. Schloss Schönnbrunn. Karlskirche. Sigmund Freud Museum. The Danube River. The list could go on and on.
The city was beautiful. I had said previously that friends had told me this was one of the five top cities to visit in Europe...not sure if I would say all that, but it was definitely a worthwhile trip. I think my body is just ready for some warmth and a new set of scenery. Vienna is filled to the max with old Euro buildings. Massive on scale and overwhelming to take in. It's like being in a museum everywhere you go. And, you know how you need a break after a few hours walking through a museum otherwise you start to glaze over? This was kind of my feeling in Vienna.
Outside of the tourist ring (literally there is a ring around Vienna enclosing the inner-city), we got a nice break from the hussle and bussle. We really got a taste of the real city...and a taste of lots of food! Any time you travel with my dad, you eat your way through the city. I wonder where I get my food obsession? A couple places to try for those of you looking to visit Wien. Check out 7-Stern Brau and have yourself a Dunkle or Märzen bier before heading over to Pedro's Meson or Ilona Stüberl for dinner all in the Neubau area. And, for some true Viennese dishes try Palatschinkenpfandl for savory pancakes and the all-famous Kaiserschmarrn dessert. Good stuff. I think my pants just got a little tighter.
And, of course when you are over in Vienna, you must, must, must see some live music. We got tickets to a small show over at the Mozarthaus to celebrate Josh's birthday. Mozart actually played in the same room where we saw the concert. It was all very special. The only issue was trying to keep jet-lagged Dad awake. Classical music, trains, and religious ceremonies are like drinking warm milk before going to bed for him.
It was a surreal trip.
What can I say? I love being the excuse for someone to visit a new city in the world. It's great to hear someone say (especially when it is a parent), "I never would have seen this place if you guys hadn't moved over here". It's like music to my ears. It makes all those miles in between us and family a little less horrible.
More pictures on Josh's and my flickr pages. The editing process takes forever!
Surprise, surprise. Guess who got a fancy, new camera and wide-angle lens just in time for our Vienna trip? I am movin' on up to the league of semi-serious photographer. Still many levels below Josh and not sure if I will ever catch up, but you have to start somewhere.
Bags are getting packed for our next trip. This time we are jetting off to Vienna, supposedly one of the top five best cities in Europe to visit. We are meeting up with Dad for a few days to do some sightseeing and more importantly to celebrate Josh's birthday. You don't need to know how old, just know he will be "officially" old on Sunday, according to his little sisters (3 and 10 years old).
Be ready for an extra dose of amazing photography in the upcoming blog posts. Don't want to give away the secret just yet. Just know I am super, dooper excited! And, Josh isn't the only one getting a present on this trip.
Enjoy your weekend. I will catch you up on the craziness next week! Til then...
Good times last night! We finally got to return some of the continuous, over-the-top, generous hospitality given by our friends Stacie and Hanspeter by having them over for dinner last night. My cooking skills are slowly developing, and I was able to pull off a real, adult-like dinner party. The menu included wasabi crusted salmon, roasted asparagus, wild rice, and spring mix salad with cherry tomatoes and red peppers. So incredibly yummy. You would have thought I was hiding a real cook somewhere in the kitchen.
But, my recipes weren't the star of the show of course. Along with Stacie always comes something special. She surprised us with a little Pat O'Brien Hurricane mix in honor of Fat Tuesday. I love this girl. Always thinking out of the box and going the extra mile to be an amazing friend.
I should also mention that along with those lovely hurricanes -- a side of headache was somewhere hidden in the bag.
I have been trying to get back into the swing of things since we got back from San Francisco last Friday. So strange vacationing in the States and then coming "home" to Switzerland. Seems backwards. I think both Josh and I had this same ongoing surreal feeling of being back. I would catch him dazing off into lala land while I had the shifty eyes, both of us not talking, but experiencing that same weird out-of-body feeling....like, is this for real? Did we really live here just a couple years ago? And, do we really live in Switzerland right now? Crazy how things keep changing for us every couple years or so. I wonder what is next.
Anyway, enough rambling. Wait. I think I am getting that same feeling as I write up this post. Looking out the windows wondering if those mountains are for real or if that snow is really there. Maybe it's just that I have been watching too much "House" that I am starting to hallucinate.
We had such a great time being back. It is amazing how easy everything is there. Just getting off of the plane in Atlanta and going through customs was interesting. Oh, me go before you in line? Did you really just say something to me and you don't even know me? What's that? You don't mind if I sit next to you without me having to beg you to move your newspaper? Even Atlanta English was a comfort. Still tough to make out all the words, but it had some resemblance to regular English.
Other feel good moments for us:
Using credit cards even though it now feels weird to buy a latte for $3 with it.
The option of taking a cab, a very inexpensive means of transportation.
Everything is open on Sundays! Love this!
Breakfast anytime, all the time. Even at 3am on a Saturday night...I guess really a Sunday morning.
Big hotel rooms and real pillows. No more pancake pillows.
Bonding with my old neighborhood Target that has been completely renovated. I have never seen anything so beautiful. Wish I had more time with you.
And, driving. I actually drove a car from San Francisco down to Mountain View. Josh made fun of me when I requested a smaller car than their "compact" mini-van thing they gave me. Freaked me out. Made me miss the Mini.
Of course there were things that I didn't need to be remind of as well.
The pee smell that seems to follow you throughout the city.
Public transportation in comparison to what we have in Zurich. Josh and I couldn't even hear each other when screaming back and forth on our way into the city on the BART. I think we were both trying to tell each other how loud the train sounded, funny enough.
The homeless. Everywhere. Very sad.
Even with the 18-hour trip back, it was all worth the effort. Seeing friends, being back at Google, wandering through the city, shopping, eating, and enjoying the sunshine. I couldn't have asked for a better vacation. Josh maybe, since he had to work. But, overall, it's always nice to feel at home even when you are on a "vacation".
I feel like I have more devices, more cords, more hardware necessary for one soon-to-be traveler. I am sitting here with my laptop, iPod, Kindle, camera, G1 phone, iPhone, and headphones all charging for my flight tomorrow. A little obsessive, huh? But, how else am I going to distract myself for the 18-hour journey back to the States tomorrow.
Crazy to be "holiday-ing" in the US of A. I did pretty good holding out for eight months without a trip back to familiarity. San Francisco -- I will see you soon!
I have been toying around with the idea of starting a "Was ist das?" section for the blog since December. Even after living here now long enough to be having those "I can read the signs" and "I can get through a restaurant menu with knowing more words than not" comfortable feelings, I still run into the most random things here that make me scream, "What (the hell) is this?".
Get what I am saying now? Check out this BBox that Josh and I spotted at the Coop (grocery store chain). Thank goodness for the beautiful graphic. I needed a hint. I guess the Swiss feel pretty strongly about non-bruised bananas. Is this really necessary? And, how big is your banana, really? Dang.
Whenever the Rosenthal girls get together and do a little shopping there is this ritual of "Show 'N Tell". I think it has been passed down over generations. Since this rarely happens, we have to make a big deal out of it. We take turns showing each other what we bought that day, even though we both already know what's in each others bag. Still fun. After each bag is emptied and each thread of clothing displayed, we continue talking about what good deals we found and how amazing we are for finding such great clothes. Plus, there is an underlying game where whoever gets the best deal...wins! Good times.
The door buzzed this afternoon with a little treat from die Post. Mom had been at the mall one day awhile back and we were chatting on AIM as she is describing the gems she is finding play-by-play. How jealous am I? What? Lucky jeans. On sale. Cute hoodies. No. And, for next to nothing.
The course of the conversation changes directions from Mom looking at clothes to Mom looking at clothes...for me. I start listing off things I don't want to spend a gizillion dollars on out here and she starts finding deals on everything. Jeans. Check. Gap Body underwear on sale for next to nothing. Check. Sweatshirt wrap-around thingy. Check.
Aren't Moms the best?!
So, even though Mom isn't here to do the beloved "Show 'N Tell", this post feels like a good substitute. Mom even managed to find a little somethin'-somethin' for Stella Bella. She is in heaven. Check out the video below. Love you, Mom.