The shadows are growing longer over our second summer in Vienna. I would say that watching the warm days age into Fall feels sad, except there is comfort this year in things feeling familiar. After being here a year, we know who we are again. We know how to say “thank you” in German, and we know what an Almdudler is. We feel settled in our neighborhood. We know where to call Home.
Our apartment is in a neighborhood called Alsergrund, a busy pedestrian area in the 9th District. We love it because we’re surrounded by Vienna University and a busy vibe of Real Life. College kids, coffee shops, restaurants, and trams that take us anywhere we want to go.
We love the sound of bells ringing over the city in the morning.
We notice it more on weekends because that’s when we’re home, but do all cities have bells ringing like that? I don’t know. Vienna does. In the evening the bells ring with the sunset while I’m in the kitchen. Mike and the boys are building Legos and the cat is napping in the window. I have a glass of pink champagne. Saturday night at home on the terrace may be as close as it gets to perfect.
Aperol Spritz and Campari Milano on a summer evening are also pretty perfect. They go well with prosciutto.
The prosciutto from Italy is fascinating, if meat could ever be considered “fascinating.” It’s on our weekly grocery list now, and I don’t even like meat. I remember the one place in Lusaka where you could buy real prosciutto, and how it felt so special to stand in the shop mesmerized by the meat slicer, and watch them cut it for you. That hunk of meat had to travel a long way in order to get there.
Prosciutto is not a special occasion in this part of the world.
Meat in general is not a special occasion. Barbecue ribs are an unexpected discovery here in the land of schnitzel and boiled beef!
Vienna also has shoes. So many stores selling nice leather shoes, and they come in my size! That is unexpected. It’s nice to live somewhere that you’re the right size.
There are so many things to love about Austria and we are finding them one at a time.
Coffee and cake in this city are a national past-time. Sacher, Esterhazy, Pavlova, Linzer; to have a piece of cake named after you may be even more honorable than being the namesake of a rose. With a cup of creamy melange, I don’t have time to miss Starbucks (although I will always love you, Starbucks).
Hiking is a national past-time, too. On weekends we take Tram 38 to Grinzing, where afternoon walks lead us through miles of vineyards and end with a liter of wine. All the famous people have been to Grinzing.
July marks one year since we started our chapter in Vienna with late evenings and ice cream at My Place.
One year later, we are grateful for our new home and new friends.
One year of blessings, six new countries, and a giant fort in the living room.
Vienna may be my new favorite place on earth.