Saturday, August 31, 2013

Burgers Under the Stars

Last night had a bit of Viennese magic.  We took the Strassenbahn from Hossplatz and caught the red line to Schwedenplatz, where we met up with Eva, my coworker with the dirt on a good burger joint. We headed down stairs to the river walk, strolling along the riverside past floating restaurants decorated with twinkly lights. As we came up to Meat Baby, Jon and I took in the outdoor bar/cafe right on the cobblestone riverwalk, with only an awing stretching out over the picnic tables and a small side stage that served as a multi color lighted DJ booth.  After a Hugo bar side, we were seated right next to the canal, which reflected the city lights back up at us. Above the water, patterns of colored neon lights swept across the Uniqa building like a kaleidoscope.  We sat next to a pair of Aussie fellows and as Eva and Jon chatted, I eavesdropped, enjoying the Down Under accent.
We purused the menu, which was very American, and Jon and I decided on sharing a cheeseburger and hangover fries and Eva had already known she was ordering the bacon cheeseburger and fries.  Jon and I both tried to order auf Deutsch, but the waitress replied in English I think to be nice.  We ordered another round of kleines biers and relaxed into the air of the night while we waited for our dinner.  A lovely haze of comfort settled over us as we just enjoyed the moment.  When our food came, Eva asked if the burger was up to our American standard.  I replied that it was pretty damn good, but I laughed when she told us it was because all the cooks working there were native Americans.  It had sounded like 'Native Americans,' and the two different nuances were a funny juxtaposition.
All in all, it was a lovely night in the Inner Stadt, even though the chili fries weren't quite on the money.  They even had French's Yellow Mustard and Heinz Ketchup:)

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Tonight my husband tells me we are living like Italians.  I know for a fact he has never been to Italy, so I ask him, logically, "why?"
"Well," he tells me,"consider our pantry, refrigerator, and freezer.  We have risotto fixin's, pizza, two kinds of tortellini as well as rotini, homemade marinara sauce, and lasagna."  Not to mention both red and white wine.
Seriously, the man has a point! He might even be right, just this one time:)  Now mind you, this list does not take into account the two types of Viennese sausage in our refrigerator, or the sauerkraut.  Also, we have a tin of croissants just waiting for final baking.  Lest I forget, it is also pertinent to report the eggs and bacon waiting for an opportune morning.  But when I consider the extra strong coffee he bought for me, I am again transported to Italy.
What to make of this?  Well, we are eating fabulously, and enjoying not only Viennese cuisine, but also Italian, French, and American...
Just wait til I take him to the heurigen and introduce him to proper Schweinbraten and Liptauer!  Some spinatstrudel...

You want to come visit us now, don"t you?!

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

A belated Introduction...

Two Fat Girls on a Volcano:

Now please don’t take offense at my use of the word fat.  Mom and I aren’t exactly what you think of when you encounter the descriptor.  Actually, it’s an inside joke – one that we stole, as a matter of fact.  We were on a tour, and a travel mate’s granddaughter coined the phrase, in regard to herself, which was completely inaccurate but quite an amusing thing to say.  It was after a huge pasta dinner, and this petite little teenager sitting in her dining chair was quietly rocking herself and singing, “fat girl in a little chair.”  Mind you, this girl wasn’t Mary Kate Olsen, but she was of appropriate weight for her height, which is more than a lot of children or teenagers in our great country can say these days. 
In any case, the sing song phrase became our tune, and we applied it to everything, anytime we thought something was funny or needed a distraction.   I don’t want to give away any more of the ensuing hilarity, so I’m not going to reveal the story behind the volcano just yet. 
Stay tuned though, because my bull headed attitude combined with a little bit of travel curiosity and my mother’s horrible sense of direction weave many tales of two slightly robust American tourists crawling around Europe, often on some kind of crazy small budget and with little or no foreign language skills of which to speak.

Add the latest adventures of a couple of newlyweds traipsing through the continental  United States before moving across the pond to a country in which neither of us have any cultural or language background, and you've got a long list of funny stories.  And hopefully some sage travel tips, that we probably learned the hard way.  As my husband likes to say (frequently), "it's never boring!"

Thanks for joining in on our journey:)

Monday, August 26, 2013

Ah, sweet exhaustion.  After a full day of work, I walked the 25 minutes home to meet my hubby and our yellow lab, Jackson.  Our mission: to unpack our powder blue Hyundai, which arrived today at Fischamend.  Jon drove it home, which proved to be an exercise in patience, as the motorway was jammed according to usual protocol.  Can we simply say, 'Thank God for GPS?'  CoPilot Live, you're a life saver for expats!
In any case, the furniture and other worldly possessions are schedule for home delivery tomorrow afternoon, and then the real unpacking will begin!
One vital piece of advice for anyone relocating to Austria - plan on most expenses you are advised to budget for actually doubling when it comes time to pay, and expect some vendors to require cash or wire transfer.  Not that knowing this  in advance would have changed our minds...
More later, after my nap;)

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Vienna in the Rain

It has been rainy and cool in Vienna today, which reminds me of the last time I was here in the beginning of May.  My Mom and I were here, I was interviewing and she was touristing.  We have often traveled together and generally end up in hysterics.  May was no exception.  On the weekend I was free, so Mom and I head out to explore.  On Saturday we visited Salzburg and Salzkammergut, and escaped without any major antics.  Not so on Sunday.  I wanted to see The Kiss, having been a fan as a teenager, and so we planned for a trip to the Belvedere.  After a short UBahn ride, we got a bit lost from Karlsplatz, but found the museum before the rain set in.  Mom bought the tickets, and we embarked across the elegant garden toward the Upper Palace.  The scene was exquisite, this marvelous architecture rising out of a classically tasteful European landscape.  As we strolled, the rain began.  Sprinkles at first, but quickly progressing into a steady drizzle with occasional gusts of wind.
Many people in the garden were unprepared, but not us.  A traveler steeped in the unpredicted changes of mother nature, I had packed a trusty little pocket umbrella in my cute blue purse.  As I unceremoniously dug through the purse still suspended from my shoulder, Mom stopped me.
"Uh babe? You're losing your skirt."
Which sounded completely unlikely, as I was wearing a knee length black skirt with an elastic waist in size medium from New York and Co.  At this point in time, I was no medium.  I had had this skirt for some time, and seemingly it had grown to accommodate me over the many years.  So I was surprised that my mother would suggest something so unlikely, but as I shifted my gaze from purse to knee, I found that indeed, the skirt had migrated south.  Evidently the combination of control top panty hose and an elastic waisted skirt can become risque in the absence of a slip.  But of course by then, Mom and I were cracking up, at a level at which made it difficult to address the problem.  As you can imagine, two large American women standing in the rain in a fancy palace garden laughing uncontrollably while one's skirt is clearly falling off could in fact, draw a large amount of attention.  But the stares from museum goers seeking shelter from the storm only made us laugh harder. 
Now, in today's rain, no skirts have been lost, to my knowledge, no blowdryers needed to warm the post rain victim (another blog post for another time), nor WASPy American temper tantrums thrown in the honor of a good suit and lost electric power (again, a future post).  But I did smile remembering all these funny moments in the rain, and it made me think this entry was worth sharing as a part of the 2 Fat Girls on a Volcano series.  After all, it is classic for Mom and me:)