Strasbourg and Vienna

Did I miss the train?First Strasbourg
It was still snowing when we had to leave Kandern for Basel.  Combining the snow with weekend traffic into Switzerland meant cutting it very close for getting the train that I wanted to get to Strasbourg, but I made it!  Just.  As I’m rushing towards the train, the little bell is sounding that says the train is about to leave.  Thankfully it was a French train with French speaking conductors and I could communicate!  I was getting frustrated with my limited German; it was wonderful to be able to speak a language and know I would be understood AND would be able to understand the response.  Ahhhhhhhhhh.

The train ride was uneventful, calm and it gave me over an hour to just think.  My conclusion?  I have one of the best jobs in the entire world.

Cheryl, Eric and Sara were waiting for me on the platform in Strasbourg.  I felt so loved!  Big ‘ugs from Cher while Eric was jumping up and down saying “Auntie Soul!!!!” and telling me how old he is and how old he will be for each of the next umpteen years.  Sara just kept craning her neck around in her stroller trying to see me and smiling.

I enjoyed spending a few days with my friends.  We didn’t do anything extraordinary.  We spent a lot of time hanging out, playing with the kids, talking, and just doing whatever it was that needed to be done.  One of my favorite recurring parts of the weekend was when Sara would smile at me and say, “Auntie Soul . . . will you haffp me please?”  How can you turn down such a cry for help?!  It’s true; I’m a softie!

The worst part about Strasbourg?  Dog poop.  I’d forgotten how much dog poop there can be in a French city.  Oh well.  I avoided it, and all was well.

I found Sharon easily at the airport here and we were off to her house for some lunch before heading to VCS for their team prayer meeting.  I had fun spending time with the Vienna WorldVenture Team and getting to hear a little of their heartbeat for what they’re doing and what’s going on in their lives.  Then Markus and I went to watch Toby and Kerri in their rehearsal for 7 Brides for 7 Brothers before we hit the Ringstrasse to find Vienna’s TGIFriday’s.

We find Friday’s and open the door to be greeted with this HUGE brown blanket hanging from the ceiling.  We stood there for a moment before closing the door and looking for another entrance.  Toby opened the door again, and we stood there.  I could see around the corner of the blanket that there was someone eating, so we decided to push through the thing.  When we got untangled from the thing we were right at the hostess station.  Apparently the blanket thing was to keep the cold air out of the restaurant.  Interesting—it almost kept us out!  We ate and laughed and generally had a very nice time over burgers, chicken fingers that flew across the table (bird flu) and some decadent desserts.  The kids were great and got me on the right train and drilled me on how to find the right tram to transfer me to.  I’m sure they didn’t want to be responsible for me wandering around a frigid Vienna till the end of time.

photo courtesy of  Son of Groucho

Today Janet and I toured the city.  We rode around the Ringstrasse.  Got off from time to time to check things out.  Had pastries and coffee and talked lots and lots and lots.  Then we rented movies and had a lovely evening chilling out in front of the TV.

Tomorrow I tackle public transportation by myself.  Hopefully I’ll get from here to there and find the right people at the right time without too much anxiety.  If I was born with an internal compass, it was broken by the time I got delivered, so tackling a new city by myself is always a challenge.  I think I’ll make it.  If you don’t hear from me in more than two weeks—send someone to scour the Vienna Tram system.  I’ll be there.  Frozen and perplexed.

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