Friday, September 30, 2011

The Surprise Race

Written July 3, 2011

One Sunday afternoon, while our youngest was still with us in Austria, we decided to go to one of the many museums around the city. I’ve been to a few but am always up for more and since the one he wanted to go to was the Natural History Museum, I was all for it.

As our usual Sunday morning style, it is mid-morning when we all get up and start preparing for our foray into the place we now call home. After a huge breakfast, we all fight over who’s going to watch the movie, The Return of the King, and actually get showered, dressed and be ready to leave. My husband went first as he always does then because we were so into the movie, he decided to clean the bathroom with some cleaner that made it so I would be last as I tend to have an allergy attack when around the smells for long.

Soon, I paused the movie and got into the shower then quickly dressed so we could be on our way. I thought it was great it only took us four hours for breakfast, showers and getting it together. We’d got up late, lounged around and watched a movie...what could be better? They weren’t amused with the whole thing as they had wanted to be out of the house at least by one. So, we were an hour off schedule according to them. But then again, I knew the museum would be open till six-thirty while they thought we’d be kicked out by five.

Finally, we’re at the train stop, waiting for our ride. It seems as if the wait is becoming longer and longer the more I stay here. Today, it’s about fifteen minutes and while it’s summer now during winter, I know I’ll want it better timed. We talk as we wait about going to Harry Potter, how it would have been a great day to start heading for home and a variety of other things.

The train arrives and we hop on, surprised we’re the only ones in the car when my husband comments that it’s only going to Swartzenberg Platz. This is much less than half our journey and I’m concerned as just the wait has made me overheated due to the high humidity. I tell him we’ll just have to wait and see what happens.

Sure enough, the police tell us we all have to get off here and it’s then that we notice the road called the Ring Road is bare of all traffic. This includes walking as well. Surprised, we decide to wander down to the next station and pick up an underground train for the Museum Quarter. Our walk will consist of a long city block and I’ll stay in the shade as much as I can to keep my heat factor down.

About half way there, we hear the police coming and decide to look at what’s coming down the road. Proceeded by no less than five motorcycle police and half a dozen patrol cars, we notice three lone bikers coming our way. It’s then we realize that there must be a city bike race of some sort. Most of the time, there are notifications at every train stop but we either missed it or this time, they didn’t post one.

Thinking we’d seen what there was, we turn to our youngest who has asked why we’ve stopped. At that moment, we hear something we’ve never experienced before and all turn to see a pack of nearly two hundred bicyclists coming our way. The noise was incredible as all those wheels are turning in sync and it’s unlike anything we’ve ever experienced. We face them the whole time, our bodies turning with their route.

All too quickly, they are by us and I start laughing, stating we weren’t likely to see that where we lived in the States. Suddenly, we’re all abuzz with what we’ve seen and heard, each of our tales slightly different. We talk about other races and wonder how many times around the ring this one will go. Soon we’re at our next stop and as we head underground, I realize that here I will be experiencing things I’d never ever thought I would.

Next time, maybe I’ll be a little more prepared with a camera in hand to snap pictures. Yet, I’m sure this won’t be the last race I see while living in Vienna. The picture is what I would have taken if my camera were ready. It all looked like a blur.

Hope you enjoyed this look into my Vienna life!


Thursday, September 29, 2011

For The Love of Mickey D

Written June 29, 2011

I have been in Vienna for almost six weeks now and almost every single day I’ve been to McDonald’s. Is it because the Viennese version of the Big Mac is better than home? No, that doesn’t even come close. You can believe me when I say that myself and hundreds of other Vienna citizens have this same love affair going.

The two main reasons I come, one out of necessity, the other out of like, have become a mainstay for me. Here in Vienna, it is difficult to get a good ole American cup of coffee. Every cup they make is a form of expresso, which I’m not so in love with at all. Mainly because it’s way too strong for me but I will admit, the flavor is good. The McCafe gives that too me as well as a free internet hotspot.

There is a phenomena that I have seen here I hadn’t noticed in the States. McCafe’s are on almost every corner it seems here in Vienna. I know that’s an exaggeration but it seems so. In one place in the Graben, the major shopping area in downtown, there is one particular spot you can see two McCafe’s and one McDonald’s.

From what I can tell, the McCafe’s are trying to compete with all the other cafes here. Places like Café Central, where every mainstream writer of the 1800s was likely to be spotted, or Café Swartzenberg, who is known for their desserts. These places are old and have some great architecture while the McCafe is a wonderful combination of new yet trying to build in some old world charm.

I have been amazed at the people I’ve seen there: school kids, college kids, dads bringing their children, teachers bringing their classes, friends, people like me who need the internet services and so many more I can’t begin to describe them all. And they all have a story to tell. One day, we stayed almost three hours and I have tons of notes with possible story lines.

The possibilities are endless here and again, I’ve just scratched the surface. You can bet that a McCafe will be in my future as there I’ve found some of the best people watching ever.


Wednesday, September 28, 2011

A Queen's Home

Written June 27, 2011
One of the things I haven’t done much of so far since moving here to Vienna is visit museums or palaces. Not that I don’t want to, I really do, it’s just that I’m living still in a totally male dominated world that wants to do whatever they want. Sigh. I want to have my fair share and was surprised when they agreed to go to Schonnbrun Palace.

This place is huge with a zoo, a labyrinth and a variety of other things normal people can only dream about. The palace was built by Empress Maria Theresa in the late 1700s as a home for her family. She had eight or so kids and wanted a more roomier place. Never mind that she had Belevdere as one of her country estates, she wanted something more grand to accommodate her brood and to provide for their every need.

And grand it is. This is one of those places it is better shown than told. When you arrive you enter through the front gate and go directly into the courtyard which is immense with a circular stair leading up to the main entrance. Here is one of the two fountains located there. The low buildings are where all the guards were quartered as well as some of the servants.

This courtyard is huge and could easily provide parking for hundreds of carriages in its day. Now, the palace itself is huge and really made me wonder just how would anyone use all one-hundred-eighty rooms of the place. True, some were used as personal quarters, some were used for balls and other entertainment, and there were those places used strictly for affairs of the state. Still, there were more rooms than anyone had a right to have much less use. Here’s a picture of it from the back, so you can see the immensity of the place.

One thing to remember is that this was in the country when the palace was built. As far as the eye could see was green, whether forest or meadow, I don’t know but I do know there were no buildings whatsoever except for maybe the church. Since this place has been here since the late 1700s, the church might be that old as well even though does have some sort of chapel inside as do all the palaces. As each ruler thought they were ruling by divine right, they made sure they kept God close at hand.

While it’s impressive, it’s in no way, the best the place has to offer. One of my favorite places is the fountain that was built in the back of the gardens. In the picture above, it would be just before the trees closet as the path up is a long, winding, sometimes steep path. I walked it very, very slow and will show you in another picture. Now, we’ll look at the fountain.

See...isn’t that impressive? The first time I ever saw it, it was iced over and the water wasn’t running. My husband assured me it was beautiful when the water was on and he’s correct. It is a lovely fountain and I’m sure happy that more than just royalty can enjoy it now.


Tuesday, September 27, 2011

The Love Desk

Written June 21, 2011

When preparing for the move to Vienna, there was one thing immediately apparent: I would not be able to take my desk with me. My desk was built into the room and completed by my husband about the tenth year we’d lived in our house. It had huge built in bookshelves that held all the research books a writer could want, a desktop that rounded a corner of the office as well as tons of other storage. It was a writer’s dream and I couldn’t image writing anywhere else.

The day we picked out our flat, I knew which room would be my office. Each room had huge windows and there were only four total, five if you counted what they called a hall. They don’t even count bathrooms in the place but if one did, then there would be an extra three rooms.

The room I chose was the smallest of all the rooms and was on one side of the living room. It was directly opposite from the master bedroom and had its own bank of storage closets. There was plenty of room for a desk and whatever else needed to be put there like a sleeper sofa.

The one thing we didn’t bring with us at all were beds, so off to IKEA we go to pick out sleeping accommodations. While there, I convince my man we need to be looking for my desk as well since I want to start writing as soon as possible. He balks but my youngest agrees, so we start to look at the office furniture. Of course, this is after we’ve picked out our bedroom furniture. I walk slow through the office furniture when Gordon calls me over to a section across the aisle.

By this time, I’m grumpy and don’t think we’ll ever find anything when he points out a glass top. I look down, amazed by what I see. All over the glass is the word love in every language imaginable. Kyle, my youngest who I felt never had paid attention to my writing, tells me that he thinks it will be perfect for me. I am simply awed by this statement. My husband agrees and he goes off to purchase this fantastic desk.

Today, I’m looking out at a cloudy day, working on the desktop that reminds me it’s all about love.


Monday, September 26, 2011

The WC

Written June 18, 2011.

I’ve mentioned before the various items that are vastly different than the States. The major one in my opinion would have to be the bathrooms as if you haven’t been to Europe, you will be in for a shock. I now know why my aunt didn’t like them as the family gets used to the buggers.

First, it is not a given that a toilet will be in the bathroom. If it is then the room is considered an American bathroom. You can have a shower-tub-sink combo for the bathroom and the toilet in a completely separate place. This is odd to say the least.

When looking for homes here, I was amazed at the various different types found. There were ones that were almost American but had bidets. There were ones that had just a shower and a sink, a tub and a sink and the toilets in different areas of the house. There were some houses that had toilet and a since, commonly called a water closet or WC, upstairs and the main bathroom in the basement. Some were nice and some were horrible. The one penthouse we looked at had American bathrooms with no bidet in sight.

The flat we ended up in actually has two bathrooms and one WC. This does not guarantee that there are two toilets and I found this out when we were shopping for a place. Unfortunately, we are a two toilet home and had to mark a lot of places off our list. Had it been only my husband and myself, that might be different but with friends or family visiting, it would be a nightmare.

I was pleasantly surprised that we found a home where there was one bathroom with a shower tall enough for my husband to stand in, a toilet, a sink and a bidet. It also had the washer and eventually dryer in it as well. This is standard in Europe and it is rare to have a separate laundry room. The WC stands alone with a small sink and two small rooms so your guests can use it without taking up a whole bathroom. The last bath has a soaking tub and sink as well as the huge hanging water heater and tank.

It is my opinion that the baths here function as multiuse rooms as other than the WC, our two have dual purposes. This will take time to get used to this configuration and we’ve been in our flat since June 8th.

Here are some pictures to show you what it’s really like. The first looks into our shower room and shows the washer located there. The second shows the WC and the associated door. The last shows the small sink attached to the WC and I must say, I personally laughed my ass off the first time I saw it. After all, I wasn’t even sure it would fit a soap dish. Lucky for me that every bath has a least one shelf but no other storage.

Life in Vienna is never dull!

More later...


Sunday, September 25, 2011

The Home Search

Written June 16, 2011.

Sitting here, I think about all that has transpired since my move here in May. The whole enterprise was like a whirlwind courtship: too little time to pack and put our affairs in order, too little time to even look at a place there via the internet, way too little time to say goodbyes and do last minute writer things. Yes, definitely like a whirlwind courtship as there were days I didn’t know which end was up.

Overall, the transition went – er – about as smooth as I expect. Does the term atom bomb mean anything to you? We landed here on a Friday and by Saturday early morning; we were looking at houses in the outskirts of the city. One was a fantastic home and much bigger than ours in the States. The next had a fantastic yard that I wanted to combine with the first house we’d seen but neither seemed quite right for us as both would require a car for us to get around.

I picked a few more from the list provided to us by the UN. Many were taken, as the list hadn’t been updated as frequently as necessary because of lack of staff. Lack of staff? Hey, this is the UN, right? Every position is funded or they don’t have the department, correct? Well – no, that’s not at all how the system works. Throw out everything you know or thought you knew about the UN because more likely than not, it is incorrect.

During the next week, I along with my youngest, Kyle, a nineteen-year-old who drives me crazy, I saw three more places. One place was a penthouse with three terraces, all new appliances and a funky kitchen that my husband felt claustrophobic in when we stood there together. The dog park was a far walk away, there was no parking for the potential car and the neighborhood was questionable. We had the keys for this place and visited it three times during that week so we could look at the neighborhood and check out the public transportation. We loved the place that much and thought we could make it work even with the drawbacks.

The rest of the places that week aren’t even worth mentioning as they were too small or too far from work or were just not right for us. This was the first house search for me in almost twenty years and I had very definite ideas about where I wanted to live. So far, the only place close was the penthouse.

That Sunday we visited another house that looked to be in a great area in the 21st District. We get there and the place looks perfect from the outside as a typical Viennese home. We’re excited by this prospect and go across the street to meet the sweetest little old Austrian woman we’ve ever seen. She reminded me of my grandmother and spoke no English. Once in the home, we’re devastated as it has not been updated since the late 1950s or at least that’s what it looked like. It also didn’t help that we couldn’t communicate with the woman. The rent was cheap, the yard was great but the bathroom was in the basement. Needless to say, we immediately passed on this one.

Another week goes by and the next Saturday we find a house in the 22nd District that looks promising. The home is in an area my husband, Gordon, knows he’ll love and it’s on a golf course. We’re excited, as it is owned by someone with the Mexican embassy and therefore a person who will understand about living in a foreign land. We run into our first problem trying to get there. We wait for the bus to take us to the stop as shown on the internet. Apparently, the bus stop is only used Monday through Friday and we’re half mile away. We trudge it along this fantastic country lane. Finally, we find the bus stop and note that it is a long way from the house itself. Not good for those winter treks through snow for the husband to and from work. This is a place we’ll definitely need a car.

Finally, we get there and the caretaker is waiting for us. He immediately apologizes as the previous tenant had just left the day before and it’s the first time he’s seen the place since he rented it to them four years ago. Not a problem as we understand just how nasty a home can be when first vacated and needs a good cleaning. We’re floored upon entry, as the people have not only left it dirty, they’ve trashed many things that made the home special. We look through every room and all three floors as our hearts sink. The stairs have issues, the basement floor is warped and a variety of other problems. It will take three weeks to get ready and even though it has everything we want, we pass, as we can’t afford our temporary housing too much longer at about $2K per week.

We moved on to the next on our list. My youngest, Kyle, and I had seen two more places during the previous week. He actually insisted his father see both of them, so we’re off to the one in an area called the 19th District, which rang all my bells and whistles with the first look. It was three bedrooms, two and a half baths, two terraces and had locked parking as well as a garden for the dog. The owner was a lovely man who we enjoyed very much. The only problem was that the rooms were small and it was a fair distance from where my husband would work. We had afternoon tea with the owner, chatted a while and came away with an absolutely great feeling about the place and the landlord.

The last place we saw was in an 1869 built building. The fifteen-foot ceilings echoed and the original parquet floors were in two patterns. One, a herringbone pattern took up what they called the hall and kitchen. The other, a star pattern, made up the rest of the floors in the apartment or flat as it is known here. The kitchen was modern and would suit our needs. The bathrooms were quiet different, as there was one complete bath with a shower, sink, toilet and bidet. The other bathroom had a tub and a sink. In addition, a water closet was between the two that contained a sink area and a toilet area. In the first bathroom, there was the washer with the potential for a dryer. Did I mention most people don’t have dryers here? Most use racks to dry their clothes indoors or out, whichever is more convenient.

One of the best things about the place was that it overlooked the gardens of the Schwartenberg Palace. The other end of the garden was another palace called Belvedere. The gardens here are legendary and therefore the view fantastic. Another was the fact that the tram stop was about two hundred feet from the door coming in and about five hundred feet on the other side of the road for leaving. This meant Gordon could get to work very easily and efficiently every morning with little time spent in the elements. After all, he was the one who would be out more than me as far as U-Bahn travel.

Finally, we were done looking and have narrowed it down to three: the two places in the 4th District (the new penthouse and the one overlooking the palace gardens) and the one in the 19th District. To make it fair, we did a grid and sit down to talk about the pros and cons of each.

The penthouse is a trudge down a hill, albeit short, to get to public transportation. It has no storage for the bikes, no car parking and the dog park is a long way away. All the appliances are new but the kitchen is funky and there is no bathroom upstairs. A dryer would have to be purchased but a new washer is in the master bath.

The place in the 19th is located right next to public transportation but it a bus ride and two train rides away from Gordon’s work making it about 40 minutes total travel time. While that’s not bad, it’s not the best either, so it goes in the con column. The rooms are small, another con but it does have terraces, the garden for the dog as well as an underground garage that we can store bikes or a car. There’s also the plus of the great landlord we would have. We’d also have to purchase a washer and dryer ourselves, as it didn’t come with either.

The 1869 flat is huge in comparison to anything else we’ve seen, including most of the homes. The views are great and it has an ambiance none of the places had at all. It’s also just steps away from a tram stop, with a total commute time of fifteen to thirty minutes depending upon the tram and train. The dog park is less than half a block away. There is storage for the bikes and we could rent a car space if we decided to get a car. It had a sauna and a pool but no access to the fantastic garden at the back of the home. The kitchen and baths were all modern and adequate for our needs. There was a room for the office as well as plenty of space for guests should we ever have any. There was more storage than normal and it had a washer with a dryer to be provided should I want one.

I was then asked my impression, as I’d be the one living here full time with him. I thought for a moment and him that I probably would have gone with the penthouse because it was new. I went on how I liked the place in the 19th as well since it had everything we wanted. Something held me back as a thought came to me. Growing up, I had a certain idea of what a place like Vienna would be like. I thought of big rooms, high ceilings and great views. In my opinion, the last flat was what I pictured living in Vienna would be like. The final decision would be his, as I would be traveling back and forth to the States more than he would be. Wherever we lived, he had to love the place since he earned the money to pay for it.

Today, I’m at my new desk, looking out over a garden only meant for royalty and their guests. Across the park, I see the place where the guards resided as well as the church attended by those who lived in the compound. Yes, this is exactly what I pictured Vienna to be.

More on this fantastic place I now find myself living in.


Saturday, September 24, 2011

First Impressions

This entry was written June 14, 2011.

As I sat at my new dining room table, I think about my first days here as a temporary Viennese citizen. We landed in the late afternoon specifically so that we could stay up until normal bedtime. Normal is a word I use lightly as it was far from the truth. The whole coming-to-Vienna thing was beyond normal as it happened very, very fast. 

Truthfully, it seemed as if my husband had just accepted the job and bang – we’re here, trying to fit in with the locals as if we know what we’re doing. The day we landed was considered a typical spring day with puffy, almost thunder-like, clouds in the sky. The sky is blue and along with the white puffs, I’m totally reminded of my early years in southern Ohio. Some of those days had fond memories, some do not as I remember hot, muggy images and drenched clothes. 

We hop in a taxi and in no time are at the Marriott Hotel for three fantastic days. This was the first place I had stayed when we came for a winter meeting in February. That month is literally the polar opposite of May as it was cold beyond all belief. I knew if we moved here, new winter clothes were in order as those I brought with me did little to take the bit out of the wind. Then again, I’m a desert baby and this only proved it more.

We would move to temporary housing shortly after our arrival but the first weekend was important to us with few or little hassle. Immediately, we are thrown into the house search the next day and are going all over the city to the various districts to assess where we might want to live. The places are nice but I don’t really connect to any of them or their owners. T

Then there’s the issue of food. All I can think is that I am very thankful the food is free at the Marriott because our youngest is bottomless and wants to find all the American food he can. The dear husband and I want to try new things, not just the McDonald’s down the street. There seems that there is one on every corner and a few other American fast food joints as well. Alas, there are no Taco Bell’s and that where I’d fast food it. Eventually, we do work it out and convince the youngest that he needs to be a true international traveler thus trying the cuisine of where he is.

Now, getting him to do other activities is hard. All he wants is to find a basketball court and make new friends doing something he loves. Can’t fault him there as I am hoping for a desk soon so I can do the same. We do manage to get him to a museum or two as well as some parks but there are days he does his own thing and we do ours.

It’s slow going as we settle into Austrian life. They have such different standards than we do but that is another tale. Regardless of these things, I can tell we will enjoy our time here immensely.


Friday, September 23, 2011


This was written June 11, 2011. I moved to Vienna on May 19, 2011.

In May 2011, I embarked upon what many friends were calling the adventure of a lifetime. Yet, I wasn’t quite sure I was up for any adventure as I was at an age where most people are seriously planning their retirement. My husband on the other hand was looking for a more exciting job and something he could really put his mark on.

I already had an exciting job. I mean, what’s more exciting than being a writer? I could visit places then write about them. If I didn’t want to visit, I could surf the net and find out everything I wanted to know about some place. Now, when I was younger, I dreamed of living in foreign places and living in the most exotic one I could find. Most of those places involved islands or Scotland but not the middle of Europe. 

I took myself out of the equation because I knew I had to let my husband make this decision. He’d always allowed me to follow my dream of writing. I’d travel to yearly conferences as well as a variety of other things writers do. He helped me in every way he could and took joy in every achievement I’d ever had. No matter his choice, I would support it. I told my kids they would support it too even though they wondered what they’d done to make their father want to leave home.

Now, why we were all stunned when he took the job, I don’t know but we only had six weeks to make it happen. Those weeks were like a whirlwind romance as we each learned it was a good thing we loved each other a lot. There were decisions to be made, items to pack and a house to prepare so we could go to Vienna, Austria. I think my dear husband was stunned the most when I told him this wasn’t the path I would have chosen but the one I was given.

Quicker than expected, we were on our way to the place we would live for the next three years. Our youngest son went with us as he was still our dependent even though he was nineteen and the older son was put in charge of the house we owned in the southwest US. The oldest and his family, along with the youngest, would be staying there while we were gone. 

We immediately went house or apartment shopping that Saturday just twenty-four hours after our arrival. We weren’t sure just what we wanted but we did know that eventually our dog would be joining us. Whatever place we chose had to have enough room for us and guests as we hoped we’d have lots of those. We’d also heard that storage would be a problem and kept that in mind as we searched.

It took us just a mere two and a half weeks to narrow it down to four places from almost fifty. I’d never looked at so many homes in my life. Our temporary housing was costing us a bundle and we knew the sooner we moved the better. Each place had pros and cons but I had a certain type of setting in mind when I thought of the old city.

For those who are not familiar with Vienna think Viennese Boys Choir or Johann Strauss. Think Mozart and Beethoven and Hapsburgs. Think humidity and grandeur and Napoleon and you’ll have an idea of the place I now call home.

Along with all the newness came an awareness of my new surroundings. This allowed me to suddenly see the world in a new light and in new ways. Instead of being stymied in my writing like I have been in many stressful situations, I’ve found myself surrounded by the peace and solitude I need to write good stories.

Finally, we found the place we’d call home. It overlooked the Schwartzenberg and Belvedere Palaces and was in a building with three embassies. It was built in 1869, had large rooms, fifteen foot ceilings and a fantastic landlord. It was a place of old world charm and definitely something I could see myself living in. It was as safe as one could be in a large European city. It also came with an indoor pool and sauna, something we didn’t have at home.

One of the most important things I’ve gotten out of the move besides understanding just how resilient I really am is inspiration for a craft I’d almost stopped being inspired for and by. Now we can go to a café and I study people again, weaving stories around what their particular situation might be. I’ve been to a foreign film festival, seen a tour-de-France type bike race and rode more trains than I’d ever been exposed to here in the States.

Yup, the next three years are going to bring wondrous ideas and writing. I just can’t wait.


Thursday, September 22, 2011

The Big Move

Hi Everyone!

This is the first post of my new blog. For those of you who know me, you know that I moved to Vienna, Austria with my husband in May of this year. This has been in the works for nearly two years and will help explain my flakey nature during that time.

I won’t lie and tell you it’s been easy. It has been anything but easy. I’ve learned a lot of hard lessons during my time here as well as during the move and my subsequent trip back to the States for minor surgery.

But there were some hard realities attached to this move. One, we wanted to run away from home for us. My husband and I have been married many years and decided it was time to do something really decadent for ourselves. Second, we felt it would be economic suicide to not move as it came with a lot of benefits that we didn't have at home.

Frankly, I didn’t think he’d actually make the leap since he was a homebody, yet for some reason I was shocked when he did. For someone over fifty the transition is hard and it isn’t like visiting. Many of my friends told me I’d just love it and I do in some ways but not always.

See, it’s hard when you don’t speak the language. It’s hard when all you’ve really seen is the tourist part of the city. Living somewhere puts a whole different perspective on everything. Things like turning on the electricity can become a nightmare in logistics when you don’t speak the language or know just how to write your address.

There are wonderful things as well, such as seeing a bike race with over 300 bikers in it. The sound was amazing and it’s one of the blogs you’ll be noting here. There are desserts that I actually love and for one who isn’t a sweet eater, it’s a new horizon.

I’ve been jotting things down since I got here. Those notes have been sporadic but they are beginning to get more ordered. What I’ll be doing in the beginning is to post all the things I’ve written about being here and I’ll include the day I actually wrote it so you’ll have some perspective as to where I was in the thought process. My hope is within a month’s time those posts will merge with real time and I can start posting more regularly.

This blog will not replace my writers blog and I will be starting those up again shortly. That’s the one good thing about being here in Vienna, I have lots of time to write. I will also try to change up the background here from time to time. I will be using pictures from Vienna during the different seasons and places I will see during my three or more years here. Hope you enjoy them!

The first background picture is of the fountain in the gardens behind Schonnbrun Palace. The land was purchased by Emperor Maximilian II for use as a game preserve for the royal court and it’s guests. It was bequeathed to Eleanor Gonzaga at the death of her husband Ferdinand II. She built a palace on the site in 1638 and it was officially known as Schonnbrun in 1642.  Its history continues from there and is quite diverse. I really loved the fake Roman Ruins put in during the reign of Maria Theresa because it was the ‘in’ thing to do. Amazing how some things never change. Here’s a link that will give you a more detailed history:

More on the history of Vienna later...