Alles Gute zu meinem Geburtstag. Danke. Birthdays at Shirleyfest are fun!

I had a wonderful birthday in Vienna.

I decided to head out to the Naschmarkt as the Winnike’s arrive today and I wanted to get some treats. Part of the fun of a birthday is getting messages on social media from friends all over the world. I check those and they make me smile .The city is empty at this hour and all the building are glowing as the sun rises. I make my way to the Naschmarkt but I’ll tell the truth I stoped at Demel’s bakery for a mini apelstrudel first. At the market everything is arranged so beautifully and it’s not crowded at all yet. I get my treats and also stop at the flower stand I like and the shopkeeper arranges a beautiful bouquet. I also want some apples so I stop a stand near the end of the market. I’m floundering a little with my German when a nice man translates and saves me. We get to talking about travel, living in Vienna, food..his name is Arno and he has a software company. When I mention I’m at the market to get provisions for my friends who are arriving for my birthday, he insist on buying me a birthday coffee and we chat even longer. Super nice guy. I walk on but stop at the Hotel Sacher because Wolfgang, the concierge, has emailed me birthday wishes. He is there and I get his warm birthday wishes in person.

I put everything away and go meet Dan and Sharon and we do a walking tour around town. At our last stop a new friend, Christine, happens to be walking by and she calls to me. “I have a birthday present for you.” I had dinner with her family the night before and she had asked if I had eaten the chocolate covered chestnuts. I hadn’t so a pretty wrapped package of those with a sweet card and roses were in her bag for me, Dan and Sharon come by my apartment for aperol spritzes and we meet latter at Restaurant Grace for a terrific dinner. Starting with the house cocktail of course. Dan and Sharon had brought me a great gift from Copenhagen and even nicer they offered to carry it back to the states for me in their luggage. The restaurant has made me a special dessert and I feel very lucky to have such a great day in Vienna.

Vienna I’m Here!

I do feel quite welcomed by the beautiful city of Vienna. Imagine flying for 15 hours,running thru a tight connection in Paris and being deposited by the airport driver in a little alley that will be your new home for 30 days. Now I see a handsome man waving at me from an open window and saying “This is it!” Christian, my landlord, ran down and took my bag and led me into my beautiful high ceiling, spacious apartment.

I love the view from the rear windows flung open to the little pedestrian alley where I had earlier arrived. Even more surprising is that the apartment opens to the front onto Judenplatz, a pedestrian square lined with restaurants and pubs. As I get my bearings I see that my apartment is above the famous Grimm bakery, the oldest in Vienna and the only remaining bakery that still bakes on the premises.I will learn later that the 5 am aromas wafting up are both a blessing and a curse.

For now I roam the blocks surrounding my place. I met Dario who runs a pretty little coffee shop and Janna, who owns a leather shop and is expecting her baby boy any minute. She tells me she has a choice of taking 1 year off and receiving 1000 euros per month or 2 years off and receiving 600 per month. I see my local market and go in to discover a 3 story gourmet food shop with wine tasting bars in the section where you buy wine, fresh oranic fruit, stunning flowers and floors of tempting new products. Heading back I see a small bookstore in the alley underneath my window. Though tiny it is full of books that I know my literary Laura would spend lots of time browsing.

I’m a wee bit hungry now and fortunately next door to Grimm Bakery is Ofenloch, a cozy Austrian Cafe. I am welcomed warmly and brought my aperol spritz followed by a delicious beef cheek goulash. Yes , I think I’ m going to be ok.