Thursday, June 9, 2011


Vienna. Did we tell you that in South Africa they call hot dogs Viennas? It's true! When a hot dog is all on it's own, it's a vienna. When it's in a bun, it becomes a hot dog. They asked us, "ahahah! but what do you say if you want a vienna then?" We say, "you ask for a hot-dog-without-a-bun." Boy oh boy was that hilarious.

Now we are in hot dog town. Vienna. Except they call them Frankfurters.

We found Rachael!
It is exceptionally wonderful to be with Rachael. She has invigorated our trip!
 We are all staying at our friend Carolyn's house. Carolyn is the best host. She has taken some time off to hang out, and is very good at setting up glorious adventures for us! Everything you read below was at Carolyn's suggestion. The day Rach arrived we went for a walk in old downtown. The old buildings just go on and on! It certainly is something to be in Europe. We randomly stopped in at a free cello concert at a big church and also Rachael killed a falcon:

 detail in a church

Next day we did the perfect activity. Celtic traditional trees have been planted in a circle. Each tree is a part of the year, corresponding with birthday, like the zodiac. There are different characteristics depending on which tree you are. This was awesome, plus just labeled trees in general give me chills of excitment. Add to this that Rach is a huge plant kid because of the greenhouse, Carolyn's parents are agro and tree professor and Caryn is a joyful soul and tree lover.... well, we were very happy!

 Caryn's a maple. 

 Rachael's grumpy about being a black pine. 
I'm sure it's a characteristic of black pine people to not want to be black pine.

We had a big day. After the trees we went to market to market. We had lunch and bought 20 euros worth of dried fruit by accident. The we headed off to Schonbrunne Palace, playground, maze and labyrinth.

 oh haha. another tree pic


 palace grounds

tunnel of roses and palace

discovery maze:
 EPIC playground. Yes, you are really seeing this glory.

 This is on a really high hill across from the palace. It was the breakfast nook!

 The Amazing Race. We race through the maze. Carolyn won. 
I was so so so last. Everyone finished waaaaaaay before me.
This picture is from the perspective of everybody else waiting and grinning.

 from the breakfast nook, looking down on the palace and Vienna. 

Amazing vine tunnel!

We finished off the day with a swim in the Danube river. Next day we checked out a kickin art gallery. Then we went to the UN for lunch. Carolyn works at the UN as a market analyst in procurements. Much of the Vienna UN works on nuclear stuff. Loved it there.  That night it was time to visit the opera house to see a ballet.

We arrived at the opera all beautifully dressed (I in Rachael's clothes.... she arrived just when I needed a fashion intervension.) The man at the standing-room-only 4 euro tickets area said, not unkindly, "shorts below the knees. Shorts below the knees." OH NO! We were already running a little late, and now this! Kicked out! We stood outside and considered our options. We could either go home and change, give up, or speed shop. I had already given up in my mind but secretly humoured Rach and Caryn as we dashed off to find H&M.

When I realized they were serious about shopping it suddenly seemed like a big trick, a sick reality tv show. You know, take a person and get them to do something totally out of their element... "Alison. You need to go shopping." "Nooo!!!" "Skirt shopping." "NOOO!" "You have 3 minutes to do it." "WHA-NOOOOO!!!"

We rushed into the store, amazingly found 10 euro skirts in a couple minutes, and bought them without trying them on! For me, this was all quite thrilling. We changed on the streets of Vienna and then RAN back to the opera house.

We walked in, proud, and the man nodded and said quietly "good." He smiled very subtly to himself. I think he was proud of us too. We had made it.

 changing the shorts out from under on the street

before the opera

 After, very happy, even though the plot was a little hazy to us. It had been a beautiful show. 

I learned a lot. 

Check out Rach's account of our adventures in Vienna here!


  1. Oh! You, guys! What a wonderful day! You are very funny and VERY beautiful in your skirts! Actually I did think the Vienna joke was very funny. See, I'm still chuckling away. Lovely. I've never been in Vienna. It looks like a must see! Nice pics. And another labyrinth! What a gorgeous one. You are definitely Queens of the Labyrinths! Love, Pat

  2. Oh, I'm so sad. What will I do without my daily ali/caryn treat?! What a wonderful, wonderful trip you've had.

    I hope you are safely home and snug in Edmonton. And I hope everything went well today, Ali!

    Lots and lots of love to you, Pat