This is a story about “Old Mudd.”
In-between traveling and organizing another pack-out, one that seems to be happening way too soon, we entertained our very last set of visitors, trekking all the way from South Carolina to come see us in good ole Vienna.
John’s sister (former blogger until life, work, kids, and all that got in the way) and our nephew set out for the challenge to hop a few flights and make it to Europe….and they even got their luggage on the very same day they arrived…. So it was a good start for all!
And what fun we had!
We certainly can’t say we were ever bored or that our guests didn’t see anything….we spent our days exploring museums, hanging out at playgrounds, parks, and more museums, shopping for soccer jerseys at the Naschmarkt, feasting on Nordsee “delicacies,” trying out every bakery for those tasty bretzels and chocolate croissants, zipping around on the Öffis/public transport (twice to the Prater amusement park in less than 30 minutes to see if we could beat the rain….which we totally did even though everyone declared me crazy for going back a second time!), admiring renegade snakes at the zoo that literally crossed our path to seek shelter in a tree (you can imagine the length of “wild snake” discussions this initiated among the younger crowd), navigating the mazes at Schönbrunn Palace, hopping a train to Bratislava, and spending a few super fun and sunny days in Salzburg.
We blew their minds with cross-cultural immersion experiences like having to pay to use a bathroom if you’re not a customer in a restaurant (note: [and this is important!] customer does NOT mean employee) and that the price of a Coke can often be greater than one’s entire meal (a beer, on the other hand….well, let’s just say it’s cheaper).
And did I mention that there might have been some games involved as well? Yes, avid board and card game players beware….we had nightly battles of “Ticket to Ride” and “Quirkle” and almost daily battles of “Old Mudd” which seems to have found a new home (old Mudd was truly in the house!). Yes, it was often quite difficult to tell which player between the 3-, 5-, 14-year olds or any of the adults had more fun….apparently all it takes is one old Mudd card.
And what’s better than playing games every night? Playing games while listening to the wonderful sounds of none other than the great Mr. Michael Buble. I was thrilled that he is just as popular of an artist with the teenager crowd and thus don’t think my nephew minds one bit that I took the liberty of signing him up for the fan club. Fingers crossed we can make it to a concert together….one day….an aunt can only dream.
Oh, and did I mention how we celebrated John and my “little big deal kind of” anniversary? Nope, not with the traditional candle-light dinner or shiny jewelry present 10 years of marriage might usually warrant but this….(hint: my right hand feels a little light these days, John!)
…a perfect night at the Augustinerbräu beer hall, standing room only (except for the few chairs I snagged from other tourists), watching an “important” World Cup soccer match (US vs. Germany) that we could not miss for the world (and we didn’t….thank you very much. We arrived just as the national anthem played…so what if we missed the US anthem?! We all know how it goes, right?).
We had a perfect dinner of “Backhendl,” fried shrimp, grilled sausages, and bretzels as we were toasting with a round or two of yummy beer. It could not have been better!
We loved our final visit to Salzburg and were so excited to add a few new experiences into our mix there. Juliana and I had a special “Mom/Daughter day” where we rode a cable car to the Untersberg mountain, visited the brown bears at the Salzburg Zoo, and cruised along on the Salzach river while the rest of the crew bundled up and explored ice caves (I have no photographic evidence of this trip so I’ll just have to take their word for now).
It was a fun visit with lots of laughter…..in that sense, see you soon, Jen and Ryan!