A year ago today

>> Saturday, September 2, 2006

Steph and I were traveling by train from Vienna to Salzburg to continue filming for Mozartballs. When we arrived in Salzburg and checked into our hotel, I decided to turn the TV on to CNN International and catch up on some news from the states. Our filming schedule in Vienna had been so hectic that we didn't have time to catch up on anything. When I turned the TV on, we heard the reports coming in from New Orleans of the disaster left by Hurricane Katrina. That evening we joined Larry Weinstein and the rest of the crew at the Stieglkeller restaurant, which was across the river and up the Festungsgasse. We were exhausted from the past few days' shoots, but the good food, good fellowship, and good Stieglkeller bier gave us the strength to carry on!

If we thought the past days were hectic, they were nothing compared to the next day ahead. It wasn't so bad for me, but for Steph, it was grueling. Steph and I both filmed at the hotel, (my profile photo), and then Steph was filmed all over Salzburg including the Mozart family grave, the Mozart Wohnhaus, and then after changing into his Mozart clothes, all over the Kapitelplatz, and the Festungsgasse. We didn't arrive back at the hotel until around midnight. Having had nothing to eat since lunch, we decided to walk down the street from the hotel to a little wurst stand, and get something to bring back to our room.

The next day was an off-day and after sleeping in, we awakened, dressed, and went to have a light lunch at a hotel restaurant and beer garden, not far from our hotel. I don't remember what Steph had, but I had the most delicious potato soup I think that I've ever tasted! After that, we returned to our hotel and napped before we dressed and then walked over the bridge to the old town to do some browsing and shopping for gifts to take back home to the kids.

We walked the ancient, cobblestone streets of Salzburg, held hands, and dreamed of the day when we would return to Austria as ex-patriots, living in Vienna. After we spent a couple of hours strolling through old Salzburg, we met our English friends, Liz and Nigel in front of Mozart's Geburtshaus, and had a joyous time meeting them face-to-face for the first time. We bought some drinks and sat at a table in the platz and talked for a while before we all walked together to an old restaurant where Mozart, Haydn, and other Austrian notables were known to have frequented, Zum Mohren. (Steph is fond of telling everyone that when one goes to the restroom, one can touch the ancient Roman city walls while taking a dump.) Our dinner with Liz and Nigel was fabulous, and we parted wishing that we could have more time together. It's our hope that one day we will be able to go to visit them in England, and then all travel to Salzburg together!

The next morning we awakened and packed our bags for the return train trip back to Vienna. Our return trip was not nearly as pleasant as the trip to Salzburg, because the porter ripped us off out of our first class ticket compartment! Seeing that we were Americans, and two women traveling together, he pulled the "I-don't-understand-English-well" routine and tried to tell us that our tickets were not first class tickets, and that we would have to pay twenty Euros more each to upgrade them to first class or go and sit in business class. Steph and I were too exhausted to argue with him so we gathered our luggage and moved, grumbling that if Gerhardt had been with us, this wouldn't have happened.

We arrived back in Vienna worn out, but needing the day to debrief and have some time alone, together in the city we loved.

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