Saturday, December 26, 2015

Vienna, because we bought tickets before we got our assignment.

I know that's not a fair thing to say, as roughly half of the Embassy personnel were in Vienna or transiting through Vienna, but honestly if we'd known we were going to Frankfurt earlier we would have chosen somewhere else for our holiday. It's all good though, Vienna is a lovely city and we had a good time.

Hofburg at night.
Nicholas had a slightly less good time.  About 3 days in he came down with food poisoning. FYI: Watch out for the market bratwursts.  Or at least watch out for eating 4 of them in 3 days. The next day he stayed at the hotel and slept the hours he'd missed overnight and missed a few extra markets.

It was mostly a vacation of food and markets. I successfully avoided buying much of anything (remember, Frankfurt is next on the docket), and we hit the highlights of St. Stephens, Hofburg Palace, and Schonbrunn Palace, and all the markets in-between.

Kursalon, with the oldest.
Not Vienna related at all, but we also made time for the latest installment of the Star Wars saga.  Our first attempt resulted in tickets to an all-German showing. With much regret, we left and had new tickets for two nights later, and made the time for the exhibition Star Wars: Identities beforehand (in Vienna until April 16).  Well worth the cost, the interactive exhibit lets you design your own SW character as you progress through, learning about influences and decisions that affect how we grow into the people we are. I would put up photos, but since it's more fun to experience it without foreknowledge, let's not ruin it.

We stayed at the Marriott right across from the StadtPark, a nice location near the City-Airport train (16 minute ride from the airport, 19Euro round trip, can't be beat) and St. Stephen's Platz, our almost favorite market, second only to the Schonbrunn. If you're so inclined, the Kursalon in the StadtPark has a lovely show each evening, designed specifically for tourists and those who don't wish to sit through a full opera (the opera house is a couple blocks away) or symphony. It's a fun event with popular pieces, and if you go during the holidays they throw in a couple Christmas tunes at the end.

Schonbrunn frame.
Like our trip to Prague last year, we met up with some family friends.  It's always fun keeping 12 people together in a crowd, so sometimes we tried and other times we didn't bother, but on the whole we all saw the same stuff and wandered the city in a pack. One time Becca and I struck out on our own to the market in the Museum Quartier. On our first attempt it was closed (there were a lot of first attempts during this trip) which I kind of knew was going to happen as everything we read said 4 p.m. but the desk clerk said 11 a.m. and... whatever.  We went back because I'd read that it was a quirky and unique market with a place to try your hand at curling. Come to find out that it was purely a drinking market. Set in a courtyard surrounded by several museums, we would have had a better time seeing the museums.  Next time.

One other thing that didn't work out was doing an escape room.  We thought about it, but too late. Next time.

Christmas 2016 we'll stay home. In Frankfurt. Or maybe not, maybe we'll drive a couple hours to someplace lovely and new. However it works (because there are no R&Rs or home leaves in Germany) we won't be traveling far and wide like we have been this past year. All of Europe awaits and we never really thought we'd get to say that!

See you in 2016, and we can't wait to share our new adventures.

Eat your fluff!

Rathaus Market, do not go on a Saturday night.

Stadt Park.  A nice place to hang out with the masters.

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