Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Europe trip!! Day 1 - travel travel travel *Dallas, London, Vienna*

Tuesday morning we woke up early to say goodbye to each one of the kids as the went off to school. It had been a very long night because if the storm that came through. Seven hours of thunder, lightning, and heavy rain brought out Tootsie's most irritating qualities. Mark, Megan and I took turns going downstairs to beg, plead and threaten her life.

"Please...please, please....for the love of...just STOP."

The boys left for early morning seminary and then Everly hopped in our bed for a snuggle (it's possible I will never get her to stop that. It's just so...snuggly).

Megan was the next to go, forgot to brush her hair, which made me smile. Someday she'll be mortified to go out with out a proper do.

Laney and Anna were thrilled to be dropped off at the top of the Sunnyside trail with their scooters in tow. The gave quick hugs and scootered off to school.

I drove Everly to preschool in her new red sweater. When she put it on this morning, she looked at herself in the mirror and yelled, "I am SO CUTE!" It was hard to say goodbye to her. She's my little buddy.

Then back to the house and Mark was doing his thing...getting our tickets in order and helping us put Snapchat on our phones so we could track each other if we get separated. He is always willing and happy to help me, fixing things, making them work right, showing me how things go without making me feel stupid. He will always be my best choice <3.

Mom and I arrived 3 hours early to the airport...which suits both of our personalities just fine. We took our time looking for a good book in the gift shop. We read the backs and and tried to find something that would make long plane and train rides a little more entertaining. It was my first favorite memory of our trip together. Mom chose "The Glass Castle" per my recommendation. Now I will pray that it isn't full of curse words and steamy scenes. Why is my memory so bad?

We flew from Kansas City to Dallas and it felt like it took about 10 minutes because I love talking to my mom. She is good company.

We landed in Dallas and took the skytrain to a different terminal. It was....rickety. It reminded me of one of those old wooden rollercoasters that have you checking for wood rot while climbing to your doom.

We had just a few minutes before we were off on the next leg of our trip. Just enough time to use the ladies room....and discover that the Texan toilet paper just might be wider that that used by those of us in the other 49 states. Texan pride has no limits! 


Off to London!

We boarded a brand new decked out, gorgeous plane. Every seat has a screen full of new movies, info on the flight, news to read, a dock to charge your phone... Mathew would be in touch screen heaven!

I watched "Table 19"...a pretty funny chick flick and listened to two babies scream and cry. I didn't feel annoyed. I felt so much sympathy for those poor stressed mamas.  The stress of dealing with that over a 9 hour flight. ACK!

I had my first ever airplane meal. Chicken and mashed potatoes...pretty tasty!

Of course, I've been munching on slices of the same cold pizza for the last week, so perhaps I am not a qualified judge of fine dining. 

I watched "The Zookeeper's Wife" (sad) and the beginning of "Gifted" before I decided I better try to sleep. That wasn't so easy. No leg room, sitting up, lots more movies to watch, disconcerting information that brings the realization that it's -60 degrees outside and we're hurtling over the frigid lonely ocean do not make for restful sleeping conditions. At least I'm not sitting by mom's infamous Jewish Cantor. 

Nine hours later and we landed in London!

We went in search of a bathroom and took the swirly twirly route there. Here's a handy map I drew..just in case I need to go back someday:

A long journey but worth it. And we were rewarded with theses adorable British Ladies Room signs!

We need these in America. This would make me feel better about my body image. News flash....women have HIPS!

We didn't get to see much of London, just this sign:

and a car on the tarmac with the steering wheel on the "right" side.  So that's something!

We got off the plane in Vienna and were almost immediately lost and confused. We needed a train....or maybe a bus? Where do we buy tickets? What kind of ticket do we even need? Where is everybody?

We wandered for awhile and then finally went back into the airport and asked for help. I was still completely confused, but Mom has more experience and a grasp of the language and seemed to understand what the info guy was saying. Soon we had two tickets and were waiting for Bus #8 to Schwedensplatz and our confidence was growing.

We took the bus and several trains to see Schonbrunn Palace and the gardens. I truly couldn't wrap my mind around how vast they are. It would take days (weeks!) to see it all.

I am fascinated by the care and attention this place has received for centuries. Gardeners that trained these branches to grow into these beautiful arches and the people that walked underneath them. It's exciting!

We decided that were were hungry and tired so we left to go back to the train and ride to the city center and find a yummy meal. On our way out we stopped to drop some coins and take photos with these fantastic street performers.

They were perfect! It was my first glimpse of my mom's generous attitude to street artists and performers. She is happy to reward people who have a talent and set out to entertain and share. I love that about her!

Mozart was quite the charmer. He gave me a language lesson and posed all the while. He definitely knew how to earn a few Euros! I loved his shiny copper cape!

We went to the train station (it was also old and beautiful) and I admit my energy was waning.

But we were determined to stick to the plan and see a good portion of Vienna and stay awake all day so that we could shake off our jet lag as fast as possible.


We found weinersnitzel!

And I was in heaven. The red cabbage was delicious and I was so hungry I ate every edible thing and had to stop myself from licking the plate. I think the waiter was a little annoyed. But I was too hungry to worry about it! It felt good to sit down and have a chat. We met a nice woman sitting next to us that was on her first trip to Europe after the death of her husband. I was impressed with her determination to continue to see the world and carve a new life out for herself. I had to smile because I was sitting there with my beautiful mom who had done the very same thing and is doing it so well. I learn so much from her. She's incredible.

After our meal, we walked over to St. Stephen's cathedral. It is massive and incomprehensible. It doesn't seem possible for humans to create something like that. It's so intricate and detailed. The dedication and talents of so many people we will never know. It's cool!

I love the mosaic tiles on the roof! They seem so modern to me.  I'm grateful that the building is maintained and repaired. It's inspiring!

We were tired.

So tired.

We walked back to the bus and took a few photos of the beautiful narrow streets and alleyways.

I know I was being obnoxiously touristy, but I couldn't help it! Who know's when I'll get to see this again?

I also got my first glimpse of the miracle food: kebaps!

Fantastic towers of roasting meat sliced into a yummy warm pita with onions and lettuce and red cabbage and sauce sent straight from HEAVEN.  I could sense that me and the kebap would be good friends very soon.

We caught the bus and then the underground train. I fell asleep while my mom was talking to me and again standing up on the train. What a fun and crazy day/night/day! We will see more of Vienna in the morning and I will dream of the bakery I saw in the train station. The lady said, "NO PICTURES!", but I'm a sneaky one and I got one anyway! Bread like this must be documented and celebrated!

Going to sleep in Vienna!!

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