the French connection

Coming back home from France with my youngest kid I am realizing once again what a great gift it is to have grandparents and family living abroad. As long as I can remember it has always been an adventure to visit my French family. My first flight as a 3 year old (yes, in the early 80’s) was from Vienna to Paris. Obviously things have changed since then, but it is still as exciting for me to see my grandparents waiting for me at the airport.

Having my little one with me, and seeing him diving into French culture and claiming only after 5 days that he’s half French made me happy. A peek into our days filled with laughter, joy, tears and dreams.

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Au revoir et à bientôt,
Melanie

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happy is who forgets ….

Everyone should feel comfortable in his own clothes while visiting an opera or theater. Okay, I think. Let´s look for a classical outfit. A nice, simple dress (I definitely don´t want to be overdressed) and my best jewelry.  I think that a visit to the opera or theater is not like going to the movies. My dress did not cost a fortune. To be honest I  bought it a year ago during sales for almost nothing. On an evening like this I want to feel special too. But what I see many times this evening makes me wonder. Sneakers at the opera? A simple shirt, paired with some jeans?

I wonder how I would have felt in sneakers and jeans in between people wearing evening dress and even a tail coat. For sure out of place.

After 3 hours of Johann Strauss´ „The Fledermaus“  I am happy and applauding to the singers, actors, the conductor and the orchestra and to everyone who´s been working to make this wonderful evening. What do I see? Others hurrying out to be the first ones at the wardrobe? The curtain is still up and singers, actors and ballet dancers from the Viennese opera still on stage?  I think it´s disrespectful to the actors, it´s disturbing to the other visitors. It´s not making any sense to me. But then I think:

“Happy is he who forgets, what can´t be changed anyway …. “

“Glücklich ist, wer vergisst, was doch nicht zu ändern ist” 

 J.Strauss II – die Fledermaus, Act I

Fledermaus Vienna happy is

Some more reads on etiquette at the opera, classical concerts, theaters

watch this spectacle again and again

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Next week we are heading to France, where part of my family comes from. I ve visited my family last August after our return from the States. It has been an unforgettable weekend, that I was so thankful for to experience.

I visited the City of Chartres for the first time, as my cousin has settled there the last year and I couldn’t have asked for a better moment to return to France. In the midst of the night we arrived downtown and the first thing I saw was the illuminated cathedral of Chartres. I could sit there the whole night and watch this spectacle again and again.

Chapeau et à bientôt!

Chartres en lumières

See a teaser for this magnificent event on YouTube: Chartres at night

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Ostermarkt in Vienna

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The traditional Viennese Easter market is one of its kind ….
In Vienna those days or visiting during easter? The Altwiener Ostermarkt at the Freyung offers more than 40.000 decorated eggs and other traditional Austrian Easter decorations, food and events.

What to do with those eggs that come in different sizes and colors? We usually hang them on windows, trees and most important on foliating twigs of willow, so called ‘Palmkatzerln’.

You can still explore the market until April 21st this year! Ostermarkt Freyung

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awesome awakening

my awesome dwarf

We sometimes tend not to see what is around us. I ve been more calm lately. I am looking around me, for the little details. Spring is awakening in the unique aera I am living in Austria. I am surronded by the Naturpark Föhrenberge which is a hilly, wooded aera just outside of Vienna and named after it´s “Föhren” – the umbrella shaped black pines. I am literally trapped in between fortresses, castles and the remaining ruins of the 11th century. Another wonderful thing about the south of Vienna are the gentle meadows and the vineyards. Lower Austria has a great reputation of good wines and if you think about visiting Vienna, you should definitly consider to visit Vienna´s big neighbor. Every now and then I start walking without a destination in my head and as a result I mostly get surprised with wonderful views and sights …. see yourself:

shots taken at Naturpark Föhrenberge, Burg Mödling, Rauchkogel, Matterhörndl and my backyard …

enjoy and stay awake today!

Mel

kuhschelle

Burg Mödling

Burg Mödling

the view to the Husarentempel

the view to the Husarentempel

tea-time

tea-time

 

 

 

Föhre - umbrella shaped pines

Föhre – umbrella shaped pines

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matterhörndl

Matterhörndl – walk through it! Lucky girl ….

break

just a break

Rauchkogel in Maria Enzersdorf

Rauchkogel in Maria Enzersdorf

slow down

slow down

another castle view

another castle view

 

surrounded

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Neat! Ring the bell for the ferry boat.

Being surrounded by castles, palaces, ruins, fortresses I am sharing today some photos of one of my favorite family weekend strolls:

the former intriguing Habsburg summer residence in Laxenburg and its majestic gardens with all the picturesque castles.

Winter and Summer this place has a lot to offer. Kissing under mistletoes, feeding some 20something kg common carps in the pond, access the Franzensburg (from 1801) with the hand drawn ferry and end your walk during summer always with some ice cream at the well known Laxenburg ice cream shop.

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5 walnuts for the playground at the castle and the possibility to bring the kids bikes

Look out for special events during summer at Schloss Laxenburg.

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longing for fall

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(Burg Liechtenstein, Niederösterreich …. the perfect morning)

Finally ….
the summer’s over. My kids are back to school and after only 5 days my daughter has been already out of school with a terrible cold. That’s happening when you long for some routine after the longest summer my kiddos will probably ever have. They had their last day of school on May 22nd in Lincoln, Nebraska and just returned on September 2nd here in Austria. Wow. In between all our moving craziness and settling back to Europe we welcomed our Au Pair from Nebraska in August. Another journey we have taken on.

It’s only since the end of August that we moved into our new home a few miles from Vienna and only since a week that I am having internet connection. Finally arriving, although a lot of work ahead of us.

Summer and our returning has kept me busy from dusk till late night. Some of our moments captured through our summer I am sharing now and later this week with you …. while longing for some routine, a relaxing bath with a LUSH bomb, some freshly brewed coffee and a lovely fall.

Bussi Babba & until the next time

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my pleasure …. Vienna

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I am sitting in Vienna, drinking my delicious Melange at the Cafe Diglas and talking about Kansas City and the Melange I had there at the Austrian Restaurant Grünauers. There’s something different in Vienna. There’s a gap that I have to fill and I am trying hard on my first day to fill my desire to see as much as I can ……

I am from Vienna and I discovered Vienna as a tourist…. I think it’s adorable, magic and perfect.

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great chicago

Just follow the flow of the city. CHICAGO. After taking the kids on a boat trip we walked around town and ended up for a break at Millenium Park. Who’s that guy on stage… ? I like that voice. I really like his music …. Glen Hansard on stage for his rehearsal. We ve seen Glen a couple of months earlier in Las Vegas and no doubt that my husband and I joined in for the free night concert at Millenium Park. Awesome show!

We stayed Downtown at the Springhill Suites Marriott, great walking distance to well-known shopping paradise Magnificent Mile. Our first walk took us early morning to the Austrian embassy to pick up my sons passport and to apply for our Au Pairs Visa. Another journey we have taken on …. we were looking for someone to join us in Austria starting in August. I ll write more about our experience to hire an Au Pair from the US some other day.

Another day and no huge plans: from coffee, to a free tour at one of Chicago’s fire station,  walking through the famous AMERICAN GIRL store …. we just simply inhaled the smell, sound and taste of Chicago before we packed one more time ………to head to the Wells Fargo Bank and quit our American Bank Account …..

 

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Walnuts for:

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3 Walnuts for: The Springhill Suites Downtown Chicago

4 Walnuts for: American Girl Store on Magnificent Mile

4 Walnuts for: a cruise around Michigan Lake (different company’s in town)

5 Walnuts for: dinner at siena tavern (w.kinzie street) delightful made-from-scratch menu! (In case you are with your kids and you don’t feel like eating out in a fancy restaurant call in your order for pick up! )