Monday, April 22, 2013

Bran Castle, Garlic and Blessed Water

Good morning from Vienna, Austria!

My friend graciously invited me to visit her in Vienna before her husband's tour of duty ends this June. This trip came at the best possible time for both of us and I'm thrilled to be back in Europe and to see my friend! My ex-husband, my kids and I lived in Vienna 25 years ago and I haven't been back in the continent since 2007.

Vienna hasn't changed dramatically in 25 years. I'm happy about that, actually. Places still look familiar and German words are coming to the forefront of my jet-lagged brain. My friend and I have already taken a brief walking tour of the downtown area, watched the sunset from a nearby castle, visited the gothic Rathaus (town hall) and saw the Saul Leiter exhibit at the Hundertwasser Haus, the highly creative renovation of an old furniture factory. We had lunch in my old stomping ground of the 19th district of Grinzing (wine region) at a famous heurigen I used to frequent and yesterday, we took a cruise down the canals of the Danube River. We sipped white wine spritzers among tourists and locals, taking photographs along our cruise - such a civilized thing to do on a gorgeous Sunday afternoon! We almost fell asleep on back of the boat as we've hit the ground running after my arrival. A combination of jet lag, white wine spritzers and the sun on my face had me nodding off as we cruised.

Despite awesome Viennese public transportation, there is still quite a bit of walking in Vienna and Lord knows, I'm not used to it.  I shall lose weight on this vacation :) This is a very good thing as I gained weight finishing up my first novel this fall and winter...lots of sitting time.

Today is a day of rest as we gear up for some road trips this week and the next - Dresden to visit two Vermeer paintings on permanent exhibit (there's one in Vienna, as well) and Brasov, Transylvania to tour Bran Castle of Dracula, Vlad the Impaler fame. Both of us are well-traveled, have been to most European capitals and important cities, and neither of us has ever been to Romania. Kind of off the beaten track, but we're both excited about that adventure/road trip! When my girlfriend asked me what I thought about a trip to Transylvania, I jumped at the chance. Who goes to Transylvania? We do! I just might have the creative urge and inspiration to write a vampire novel after our Romanian jaunt! Hey, you never know! I journal when I travel and the camera is never far away, so I'm paying GOOD attention on that trip.

Hey...I could even write an historical novel about the gypsy aka traveler's life. The sky's the limit and I'm always alert to new sights, smells, places, people and things. You must pay attention when you write and I do. Never rely fully on memory. I've learned this from first-hand experience.

I'm thrilled to be back in Vienna with my friend and her children and revisiting my first posting as a young Army wife and new mother is exciting. My children were three and one years old when we arrived in Vienna, such babies. My beautiful children are now 28 and 25, wow.

You just never know where life will and can take you. I HIGHLY recommend that you always, always, go with the flow! Have the experience, take the roads less traveled, stop to smell the roses and other wonderful phrases are what I encourage you to do today and every day. Don't miss out on an experience whether it makes you nervous or not...and vampires thrill and terrify me!

My friend and I are taking blessed water from Lourdes, France to Romania and we're considering  a small bag of garlic heads...hey, better safe than sorry :)

Peace and love,

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