I’ve only been in Austria for one week but I feel like I’ve gotten the culture and relaxation that I’d normally get in one month. I think it’s a combination of the amazing food we’ve eaten (mostly all healthy organic vegetarian food) and the general feeling of levity here. It’s so obvious that there is an infinite amount of love in this house and even as an outsider, I’ve felt all that love in so many ways.
I’m starting to really pick up Hungarian too. I can’t speak it very well but I’ve done a lot of listening and can pick out bits and pieces of the conversation. Enough to get a general idea of the conversation topic. Gesticulation helps too. 🙂 Last night, I had my first Hungarian dream. I was a contestant on a dating reality show where a group of American women were sent to Hungary with no language skills, cultural skills, etc. and the goal was to compete for the affection of a group of hot Hungarian bachelors. We had to hurry up and learn the language and culture in order to win them over. The group of women was further divided into smaller ‘challenge’ groups and as we won challenges, we also won the advice and help of a local Hungarian person and they’d help us with language, fashion, etc. In my dream, I knew perfect Hungarian and remember being disgusted by one girl’s improper use of the word ‘normal’. There was more but it was all too weird to write down.
Today, we were supposed to go to Budapest but I got hit with a gnarly sore throat and am now experiencing the M Family Princess Healing Method. One of the first stories M told me when we first met was how his parents treated the kids when they were sick. The kids were treated as Princes of the Household. Babied and coddled and nudged to drink more fluids, blah blah. I’m now experiencing this. It’s just a sore throat but I’ve been under strict rules not to move, drink fluids, let them know if I needed anything, been given antibiotics, throat spray, cough drops, honey, and his dad even called his friend who is Chief of Medicine at the largest hospital in Romania to make sure that they prescribed the correct medicines for me. For a sore throat! I have to admit, I do feel better than I did this morning and it’s in my best interest to accept all the healing they can throw at me. We leave for Salzburg tomorrow for three days and I refuse to miss out on anything there. M made me feel better by telling me it was raining in Budapest anyway so it was a good thing we didn’t go. (It was actually sunny and gorgeous…shhhhh)
I got this cold by doing some hardcore sightseeing and shopping the past three days. Here’s a quick run down:
Day 1: I’d been trying to get us into some sort of concert since I got here but with the holidays and all, that was proving to be too hard. (and expensive) So I found a ‘free concert’ at the Church of the Augustinian Friars which is the church that all the Habsburgs got married in. Turns out, it was a full blown German Mass service with a little bit of music tossed in. Oops. But the architecture was gorgeous and we stood up and sat with the rest of the group so all was ok. Then we headed to the State Opera house for a tour. GORGEOUS. It’s a shame though. The Americans bombed it during WW II and half the building was lost. The difference between the old and new (1950’s reconstruction) is really obvious but it’s still amazing. Pics:
Next up: The SiSi Museum which was such a let down that I’m not even going to bother recounting any of it. Done. SiSi and I broke up. 🙂
One of my favorite things about Vienna is the juxtaposition of old and new. Here’s a picture of Roman ruins which are right at the entrance to the Habsburg Imperial Apartments:
Up next, we headed to the Natural History Museum which completely blew my mind. The building itself is stunning but the actual collection inside could take you a month to go through. Hundreds of thousands of real natural history, giant quartz (over 2000 karats), jade, gold from all over the world, rocks and minerals I’d never even heard of, dinosaur bones, fossils from every epoch, and more mammals than you could even begin to imagine. M and I walked at a brisk pace and even skipped a quarter of the museum and it took us three hours. We barely even stopped to look at anything! Pics:
Blah blah blah. More museums. Blah blah. Let’s get to the good stuff: the food. Namely, the Hotel Sacher chocolate cake. This cakes is legendary, quite literally, and it’s essential that visitors to Vienna stop in at the cafe to drink tea and eat their cake. It’s a chocolate cake with apricot filling and covered in chocolate ganache. Unsweetened whipped cream is a must. The cake was first made in the early 1800s and the recipe is still made exactly as it was back then. I have to say, having a boyfriend who speaks fluent German is really the way to go if you’re traveling here. He’s been able smooth and sweet talk our way into all kinds of places: like restaurants. A 40 minute wait for tourists immediately became instant seating once he busted out his German. Awesome. Here are some pics of the cafe and, of course, the cake:
I’m not exaggerating when I say that all we’ve done here is eat. Seriously. And how could you not? The food is all so amazing! I’ve come up with all sorts of ideas for when I get home and I’m going to try to incorporate a lot of the styles into my own daily cooking.
M is currently waiting for me to finish this so we can watch Terminator 4. We watched Terminator 3 last night in honor of Ahhnuld (Arnold) and it ended in such a cliff hanger that we’re watching the 4th one tonight even though there are no Arnold cameos in it at all.
Tomorrow: Salzburg! Rest assured that I will do my best Maria von Trapp and run along singing in those animate hills. 🙂