I love sharing the fun, adventurous experiences we have here, like going to Innsbruck and sledding down a mountain. I share all of this in part to document the experience, and in part to encourage others to do this kind of thing — to travel with your children, to push the envelope of what you think is possible, to explore the world. But, it isn’t all sweetness and light, and I want to share that part, too. I was so euphoric from our trip to Innsbruck when I wrote about it the other day that I didn’t include the other side of the trip, and I think it’s only fair to capture that part, too. Travel with kids is challenging. There are going to be moments where you think, “Why did we do this again? Wasn’t this supposed to be fun?” But those moments will pass, and it is fun, and you’ll be glad you did it (I am).
I thought about it over the weekend, and decided that my best bet (for my sanity, if not for my bank balance) in dealing with all of my current dress drama was just to go out and buy another dress. That way, if the first shop surprises me and makes the dress like I wanted it, I’ll end up with the good problem of having two nice things to choose between, rather than having to scramble at the true last minute if it doesn’t work out well. It took me a while to make up my mind about what to get — I didn’t want to go out and get something similar to what I’m having made: then I could, potentially, end up with two dresses, neither of which I like very much. This would pretty much defeat the purpose of having a “plan B dress”.
Innsbruck was wonderful. We had a good time, we played in the snow, we explored, we saw the Alpine part of Austria. I now feel comfortable saying “I like Austria”, rather than just “I like Vienna” (I’ve been saying, “I like Austria” but I really didn’t have much data beyond Vienna). We’re already planning for the next time we go to Innsbruck — what we’ll see again, what we’ll do differently. I want to go again in the winter and also in the summer, but I also have a long list of other places we want to explore, so we’ll have to see exactly how it works out.
We had another great day in Innsbruck. We took the funicular, and then two cable cars, up the Nordkette — the massive mountain to the north of Innsbruck. It was snowing today, and while that was fun and very seasonal, it obscured what would have been a breathtaking view with clouds and fog.
One of two things I wanted to be sure to do while in Innsbruck was to go sledding. I had inquired about it at the hotel before we came, but when we stopped by the front desk to get more information this morning, the receptionist was only kind of helpful, and when we got to the bus stop she directed us to, we found that the route number she gave us didn’t go to the right place. So, we took a gamble and picked another bus. We asked the driver, who was very patient with our Germenglish, about sledding (“rodeln” in German — my new word for today) and he assured us he could get us there and then helped us load the stroller in the bus. Off we went.
First off, I’m going to brag a little: I think I may be the world’s best packer. When we laid out all of the things we needed to bring with us on this trip, I thought there was no way we were going to get away with only packing two suitcases and a backpack . . . but we did. It’s impossible to really pack light with kids, and winter weather makes it harder (snow pants, wool socks, long underwear, hats, gloves, mittens, etc., times two) but we got away with only a little luggage.
Earlier this evening, I had my first (of two) fittings for the dress I’m having made for the ball. It’s a pretty color. The skirt is quite full, so I shouldn’t have any trouble dancing comfortably. My arms will be covered. I’m sure it will fit me quite well. I am confident that it is of a style appropriate to attending a ball.
Those are the only nice things I have to say about it.
Until yesterday, we hadn’t had any direct sunlight in our apartment for months. Given that we have windows that face all four sides of our building, that’s pretty impressive. What surprises me is that I hadn’t noticed that the sunlight was gone until it came back — I think I had attributed the darkness to the cloudy, overcast and rainy days we’ve had lately. But it was more than that — the angle of the sun had actually dipped so low that the sun didn’t crest the side of the building on our south-facing side until it had passed beyond the point that it could shine in our windows. And the afternoon sun, which in the summer overwhelmed, overheated and dazzled us, can’t make it in to our west facing windows because the angle has changed so much that it’s completely obscured by a neighboring building.
Yesterday morning, I was playing cars with Liam on the floor and I was being persistently blinded, and slightly irritated by, all the light that was streaming into our south facing window in our living room. After a few minutes of repositioning ourselves around the living room, the sunlight went away — hidden again behind the wall across our courtyard. Only then, after it was gone, did I realize that all that brightness would be back with us to stay, every morning, from now until November.
I like the winter, with the cold, the wind and especially the snow. But I’m glad to have the sun back. I didn’t realize how much I had missed it. I can’t help having my spirits lifted by its return, and with it, the promise of longer, brighter days soon to come.
Later this week, we’re taking our first multi-day trip outside of Vienna, to Innsbruck. Innsbruck is in western Austria, 5 hours from Vienna by train, in the Alps (and probably most famous for twice hosting the Winter Olympics). We’re all very excited about seeing the mountainous part of Austria, and about getting to (hopefully) play in some significant snow.
For reasons I may never understand, our movers decided that nearly every pair of shoes I own should go to storage, rather than coming here to Vienna. Only about 6 pairs of my shoes made it to Vienna — and that includes a pair of snow boots. Although this would have been an emergency for a lot of women, I managed to get through my first 9 months here with only one shoe purchase, but with the ball coming up next week, I need a pair of shoes that isn’t snow boots or sandals.