Tag Archives: food

Returning home

Returning home is expensive!

Friday and Saturday:

  • $70+ for Auggie’s bath and haircut
  • $55 at the garden center to purchase perennials to fill the gaps in the garden
  • $50+ at Schnuck’s and Aldi for things to eat
  • $18 at DiGregorio’s for olive oil and such
  • $55 at Herbaria for soap and bath bombs
  • $20 for a much-needed manicure
  • $7 for a Taco Bell fix

It adds up so quickly!

Euro18: and home

I woke on Friday morning to the iPad NOAA warning about extreme temperatures at Rienosslsgasse 3 in Vienna.

Fortunately, I was home in Saint Louis with moderate weather, but more humidity.

At some point my iPad will figure out that I’m in the USA. I certainly know that I am! Witness:

  • Iced tea!! I went for three weeks without it.
  • Taco Bell. I went for 3.5 weeks without it.
  • Airport staffs who are not multilingual (except in Spanish). Such a change from Europe.
  • Air-conditioning everywhere.
  • Cellular service everywhere without having to think of turning the phone on and off.
  • A fridge and a freezer. (Small fridge only, with no freezer, in Vienna.)
  • Loudness. Americans just talk so damn loudly.
  • Diet Pepsi! I went for 3.5 weeks without it.

But as my friend Alice said on Facebook last evening, she has little compassion for the slight frustrations, given what I was able to see and do. And I expect no boo-hoos for the cultural differences and the weariness because of the seeing and doing.

And DO I did.

The research grant proposed outcomes are essentially complete. The draft report is 75% there, with some details and nuance to ponder and finesse. In other words, I accomplished the stated goals. The grant outcome was successful. Now we move to implementation.

Along the way, I was a tourist nearly every day — in fact, save for last Sunday, every single day of the sojourn in Europe.

What did I not do? Well, I skipped the Salzburg and Venice/Dolomites excursions because I just was not feeling well. Summer allergies are, I’m told, quite severe in Vienna this year. I did not make it to all the art museums I would have wished, and since concert season was over, I attended only two musical performances.

What DID I do?

Enough art to keep me happy for months. Less-frequented locales such as the Snow Globe Museum, the Freud Museum, the Schnapps Museum, the Imperial Crypt, and the old Jewish cemetery at Zentral Friedhof. Anglican Church services in Florence and Vienna. Florence. Choral concert by a British choir at the British Embassy Church. A cruise on the Danube. Cooking class. Visited Mahler’s grave. Walked in the steps of Mozart and Beethoven and Schubert and Haydn and so many others. Melk Abbey. Heurigerabend. Organ recital at the Jesuit Church. Churches and parks and the Naschmarkt and gelato and beer and bubbly and schnitzel and . . . well, the whole five-senses experience indeed.

And I kept up with the daily office work. My email inbox is only marginally more crowded now than it was when I left, and no decisions have been punted to next week.

Now home for a few days, and with days off this weekend with few obligations, I can rest and recharge before the onslaught of the run-up to August 20 when contracts begin.

And I can love on Auggie, who apparently did indeed miss me.

Of all the pleasures of travel, returning home is the greatest joy.

Euro18: Sunday in Vienna

I took a slower pace on Sunday and found myself watching people even more than usual.

Without being too creepy (and of course any time one writes that phrase, it’s because something creepy is taking place), here are some local color shots from Sunday–

A whole group of Japanese kids and mothers, the children all dressed this way, approached Cafe Schwarzenberg not long after I sat down for lunch. Only one small group actually sat down (the rest going across the street to McDonald’s), and that group was a mother with twin sons. The boys put me to shame, switching easily between German with the waiter, Japanese at the table, and then English after their food arrived when this kid turned to me and asked in faultless English “Would you please take our photo?”. This must be a school group from Japan? What you are not seeing clearly in the photo is the socks that match the dress shorts, and the black patent leather shoes.

I noticed a woman in traditional garb last week. On Sunday I almost missed this one cross the Ringstrasse at Schwarzenbergplatz. She had just thrown down a cigarette.

My lunch: the Steirischer Backhendelsalat is a hit with me.  Yummy yummy good.  And of course Esterhazytorte is my favorite Viennese pastry.  I love the presentation of coffee — in a little pot, with a pitcher of milk, and always a small glass of water!

On the tram to the cemetery, these two sat down in front of me. I surmised quickly that they are twins. They talked softly all the way to the same stop where I alighted, and they carried with them some greenery. The last I saw of them, they were buying flowers outside the cemetery gate. One wonders whose grave(s) they were planning to adorn. A parent? A sibling? Their former husbands?

Notice they are both in plaid, both wearing pearl earrings (although different styles), and both with the same hair rinse.

On the tram, we passed Tropico Markt, which sells”Orientalische” things like Bollywood films and cosmetics and various sauces.

Later, at gelato, this older man was by himself, enjoying his espresso and ice cream, fairly oblivious to the noise and confusion that reigns at Zanoni. At the next table, another solo man. And I was solo too. We were a trio of solo gelato for a few moments. One wonders if this Sunday excursion is a regular one for the man in the blue shirt and light grey twills?

The organ at the Jesuitenkirche, where I heard an outstanding recital of music by Jehan Alain, played by a 28-year-old organist of the church:


Siebensternbräu is a local institution. Alban Berg used to go there for a beer with a friend. J.P. and Sylvie and I enjoyed a beer and dinner on Sunday.