20 May 2009


St. Stephen's - Vienna

Belvedere Palace, Vienna

We are up early this morning as MK plans to drop us at the train station for our trip to Vienna just after taking LG to pre-school. LG is wearing a short-sleeved top with capris to school this morning--taking along a skirt so that she can dance with Ella--and MK says the other moms were giving her the evil eye and most probably condemning her because LG is not proper attired. It is May, so children are normally dressed in leggings or tights, long pants, and sweaters--attire dictated by the fact it is May rather than the reality of sunshine and temperatures in the 80s.

The traffic is bad, but we have a comfortable margin and get our €9.60 round trip tickets without delay and are onto the train with 10 minutes to spare. This is an express train with only 3 or so stops and we are in Vienna at Sudbahnhof (south train station) by 10:00am. We are directed and mis-directed and wander a bit before finding the right tram to take us to the proper U-Bahn station and then to Karlsplatz near the Nachsmarkt. In the confusion we spot Belvedere Gardens and Palace and take a quick peek. Beautiful. I will come back another time for the tour. They are just planting the spring and summer flower beds and the large pond in front wasn’t in top shape yet, either.

As always, I love the Nachsmarkt. We walk almost the entire market and then find a café for lunch. We enjoy veal schnitzel, but when the check comes we have been ripped off! This happens in high-traffic tourist areas in many European cities. The entrée was priced with pork, but then we were offered veal… The Coke Light came in huge glasses, and we were offered potatoes with our entrees—two mark-ups. The one I should have seen coming was the €1.60 for catsup! Oh well, when you travel you have to pretend its all Monopoly money sometimes. Live and learn.

We double-back through the market to purchase hummus, fresh spinach, a lemon, garlic, stuffed olives, and fresh bread to go with tonight’s rotisserie chicken. An experienced Nachsmarkt shopper, I have for once remembered to bring the light-weight, but large and comfortable shopping bag!

We decide to walk off lunch by hoofing it to Stephensplatz and St. Stephen's Cathedral. It is hot! Somewhere over 80⁰ and very sunny. We wander in and out of a few shops and then decide to go into the church. In all of my trips to Vienna I have never been inside. We are curious about the history of this church, but there are no translations of information available and the English language tour is not until 3:45pm—after our train home.

We circle the church and write down some of the websites of the artisans displayed along the way. We have already spotted our U-Bahn entrance and decide that it is time to head back—considering what it took to get here in the first place!

Our journey back to Sudbahnhof goes without delays and we collapse into our seats on the very warm train. I notice that others have opened their windows, so I do and we hang our heads out like Irish Setters in the wind! I don’t remember much of the trip as I slept soundly except for the three times they checked our tickets… We are at Bratislava before I know it, and soon DM arrives to take us back to Chorvatsky Grob with a quick stop at Tesco for a chicken, some Corny bars, and new bubbles to refresh the Dora the Explorer bubble toy.

MK-LG-and KF have been in the yard planting flowers today and we hear the little voices in the shower even before we are in the front door. KF is unusually modest for 16 mos, but she runs naked through the hallway looking for some attention—which I am only too anxious to provide! LG is right behind her. Two very clean and hungry little girls.

MK prepares a salad, and I roast garlic and clean spinach for the sautéed salad. We spread out our purchases on the dining table and the feast begins! We always have great food when we are together.

LG insists we dance—almost our first go-round this trip. Then we cuddle on the couch and I tell her a story about a pond and a frog jumping on lily pads trying to eat a purple-blue-black-yellow butterfly, but settling for some icky flies. Pretty soon there is a little girl fishing with a stick and then there is a grandma to cook the fish and tell stories of grandpa and frog legs. Next the little girl is fishing and catching frogs in her net (a blanket flies over our heads!). At this point the story requires a call to grandpa to discuss frog legs for dinner. He tells LG that he ate some and they tasted like chicken, and she howls with laughter as that’s what the grandpa in the story said, too!

We have laundry to do and belongings to organize. Our flight is at 7:15pm tomorrow, and this will be our last evening in BA. We will miss the little girls and their daddy and mommy, but London beckons…

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