It has been another busy busy week in Vienna. In case you are just tuning in, we left New York for Europe last February and had been living with my husband’s parents in France while looking for new opportunities. We moved to Vienna just a few weeks ago and we found an apartment, my husband started his new job, I have been juggling naps/putting together furniture to meet my translation deadlines, and we have been discovering this beautiful city. We moved into our apartment one week ago and for a few days we were basically just camping. We bought a bed for us right away and Louis had his travel crib to sleep in, but the rest of the apartment was empty. I only had one skillet to cook with and we had to buy emergency silverware at Ikea so as not to eat everything like savages.
All of our material possessions arrived last Friday. So now we have furniture, kitchen items, books, clothes, toys and our beloved bikes. Fortunately for us, the movers unpacked and put everything together so that we weren’t stuck unpacking boxes. We would still be unpacking them this week if they hadn’t helped! We are waiting for some more furniture to be delivered, so we still have a few piles of stuff here and there and a mountain of books to be arranged on a new bookshelf that will arrive tomorrow. As you can see from the photos, our books are not all going to fit on the shelf! (Somehow, we acquired more than 70 children’s books while in France!) Once everything is in place we can start deciding where to hang our artwork and how to decorate our new home.
Some thoughts on life so far in Vienna, in no particular order.
I feel like an illiterate. I only know a few words of German, although the list is growing daily! But it is a strange sensation to walk around and not understand any of the signs, any snippets of conversation on the tramway, what the people at the post office/grocery store ask me. Fortunately, most people seem to speak at least a little English, and even French, so I’m not totally unable to communicate, but it is very disorienting, or dépaysant, is a good French word to sum it up. I feel like I could probably mostly fake it if we were in a Spanish speaking country or even in Italy, but German is so much different (and harder, from what I understand). I plan on taking German classes as soon as we get a bit more settled and when Louis either has a babysitter or goes to nursery school. Going to the grocery store with practically zero German is a challenge. I have to look at pictures of products to figure out what exactly is in a box or a jar, and I try to decipher as much as I can from labels. Over the weekend, I thought I bought a small chicken to roast, it turns out that I bought a small duck! And it was delicious! (I will share the recipe soon.)
Apfelstrudel…yum! Move over pain au chocolat, this is my new favorite dessert! (In the photo is the Smitten Kitchen Sally Lunn bread…but I plan on figuring out apfelstrudel soon.)
Having a child in Vienna is refreshingly easy…at least, the logistics part of it. Practically everything has elevators/handicap access including the metro, tramways, stores, etc. It makes going out with a stroller (especially alone) so much easier! Also, I must say that I am very impressed by how polite people are in the transit system. Every single time we have taken transportation, either me alone with Louis or the three of us together, people immediately get up to offer their seat if the train is crowded.
Parks. There are also lots of parks to frolic in. Louis loves the one right by our apartment. The swings face the metro tracks so he gets really excited every time he sees a train stopping below and then zooming on into the tunnel. We also finally discovered Prater this weekend. Prater is an immense park, something like Central Park, with one (at least, I only saw one) straight road right down the middle so you can bike forever without worrying about traffic. It is a short bike ride from our new place, so there will be plenty to explore there.
Bike paths. Much of what I have seen in Vienna so far is very flat and it is very bike-able. As I just mentioned, we got our bikes back. I had been riding this Vélille when we were in France. It was a nice sturdy city bike and I rented it through Lille’s city bike share program, but it probably weighed nearly 40 pounds! I could barely lift it myself when bringing it in and out of the garage at my inlaw’s. My streamlined single speed weighs about 18 pounds so I feel like I barely have to pedal to make it fly.
I hope to start blogging more regularly soon. I just have to find the time and Internet connection to do so.
Last thing, for my American friends, go vote! I mailed my absentee ballot last week.