Tuesday, February 17, 2009

If it's Tuesday . . .

. . . then it must be Belgium. My short trip to Vienna ended late yesterday afternoon and I flew to Brussels in the dark. Of course, everything's an adventure with me, so even something as simple as locating my rental car in the airport parking garage has a story. Fortunately for you, My Dear Reader, I won't waste blog space on that one. :-)

I did promise a Vienna update, so here it is. It's cold and snowy there. LOTS colder than in Belgium. On Sunday: I took the S-bahn from the airport to Rennweg, then made my way to my hotel after stopping to buy a falafel sandwich from a street vendor. My hotel was only a couple of blocks from Rennweg, and I knew exactly where it was so I just walked in the blowing snow. After I checked in, I ate my yummy Turkish delight of a sandwich, then went back outside and started walking toward the city, past the Salm Brau (one of my favorite restaurants), embassy row, and the Polish church. I knew exactly where I was going.

This is the thing about Vienna: it feels like home to me. I cannot explain it. It just is. Sometimes when I'm not there and I think about it, or when I talk about it with other people, I get tears in my eyes. I'm not the type of girl who cries. Yet it evokes such emotion in me. So going back there - even such a short visit - was like going home. 

But it's winter, and having never experienced winter in Vienna, I was quite surprised just how bloody cold it was. Gone are all the outdoor tables and chairs that are full of happy people in summer. The Russian Monument is covered with some sort of "padding" not just around the fountain but also part of the statue. Unfortunately I didn't have time to go much further than the Ring - I did meet some friends for coffee at Cafe Schwarzenberg, but then headed back into the Third District for my remaining time there. 

Salm Brau . . . I ordered schweinschnitzel (like Wienerschnitzel, but made with pork instead of veal) and apfelsaft gespritze. I found that my German (what little I can speak) came back very easily, and was quite pleased with myself to be able to refuse the English language menu offered by the waiter - LOL. :-)  I really do think that if I ever formally study another language, it will be German, and I don't care what anyone says about the practicality of it.

The hotel was awesome . . . I had that wonderful view of The Belvedere, and it all seemed so luxurious. But I wasn't there all that long. I had an early breakfast meeting at the office, and was in back-to-back meetings all day up until the minute the taxi came to get me to whisk me away to the airport. 

Even my time at the airport was short. Too short. I want to go back. I love Vienna. Ich liebe Wien. Sniff, sniff!

But I'm back in Belgium now, which has its own charms . . . one of them is the rain, which I'm getting used to. Oh, there's also this thing called the sandwich spread . . . very Belgian . . . I will write more about it next time!