We woke up in Vienna.
After a decent night (apparently the trick to beating jet lag is 36 hours of transit with very few hours of sleep), we checked out of our hotel and raced to the train station to meet L. We stepped onto the platform to be greeted by a wildly waving L on the other side. She took us to our next hotel (which she had rather considerately scouted out so she knew exactly where it was), we dropped off our bags, and hit the town. L took us to the Kunsthistorisches museum which was fabulous. The building was amazing, built by the Hapsburg's to hold their art collection, with no expense spared. It featured Brueghal, Raphael, Titian, Rubens (mounds of pink flesh), Vermeer, Velasquez, Rembrandt, Caravaggio, that great guy who painted fruit faces, Holbein, Durer, and Cranaugh, and an odd ball point pen paintings exhibit. Basically, it was a treasure trove for even those unenthusiastic about art. I thought O would be rushing me out but in the end, I had to drag him down the stairs with him screaming that he needed another week in there!
From the museum we headed to Nachtmarket for lunch where we had kebab and falafel, dried strawberries (tasted like incredible fruit snacks), and some apple drink with a man in Lederhosen on the label.
After lunch, exhausted, we headed to the hotel to find M and D. We were thrilled to find they had made it in nearly one piece. The hotel was lovely (M's words) done up in the art noveau style, complete with L'occitane toiletries (I am having to compete with all the fab hotels P and L put them up in in Spain, it has been rather difficult, as you will soon hear)
Dad and O opted to recover at the hotel (from exhaustion) while Mom, L and I went to collect L's bags and meet her host mom. We found the burrow, climbed to the top of the world, looked out of the sky lights, then had to lug her bag down to the ground again where we were met with nice little tarts (but way under-sugared, as are most desserts here) and heard about how nice L was (not quite sure how she convinced her of that) and how white our teeth were. She then proceeded to show us pics of her daughter whom she suspects has professionally whitened her teeth but claims that she has not.
She was very nice and fun, L really lucked out in the landlady department!
We hauled L's suitcase up the cobblestones to the bus stop, passing her roommate and fam on the way, made it back to the hotel, found that O had been running around town sneaking into gyms at other hotels, D had already received several texts from Mad about all her conflicts of interests, and headed out to dinner.
We dined at the Gulash museum where we enjoyed good food and suffered terrible service (welcome to Europe). O ordered an apricot drink that tasted like syrup from canned fruit but he thought was delish. M tried it and said it reminded her of her grandmother's canned apricots. She delighted over this for several more sentences and asked D if he remembered his mother canning apricots like her grandmother did. D says "raspberries?" We all burst out laughing, wondering where he has been the past 10 min of conversation, M says "No, canned apricots, this juice tastes just like them, try it." Then, approx 20 seconds later, M takes another sip and says "this just reminds me so much of my grandmother's canned apricots, doesn't this remind you of that Fred?" and D says "canned raspberries?". It reminded me of a dinner in Stow-on-the-Wold where D, after 45 min, informed us he was 75% Danish. Eventually D joined the conversation and figured out that yes, it was like canned apricots.
After dinner we walked through the city center and saw the grand Stephansdome (pronouced Shtefensdome, and L will let you know it :) ). We walked past tons of fun stores, M the whole time glued to the windows (they were closed so she could not get inside), L frantically leading us onward (not sure what the hurry was but fortunately, there were no real deadlines bc M was really drifting along quite slowly) to Zanoni and Zanoni for ice cream. We had our tasty little treat and headed back to the hotel, where most of us fell rather promptly into an exhausted slumber.
Well, now L is telling me she has some serious health problems, including possibly IBS (which I don't think she knows the meaning of, D suggested she stop eating so much cheese, as if L eats an inordinate amount), O is hanging my garms all over the hotel, to avoid paying the $12 dryer fee (which I support I suppose), D has mentioned that he could not find a towel and so had to use the floor mat, and O has just walked in to tell us about the bidet (L is now telling us how she used to use them at the Daw's), so I had best break here for the moment and find out exactly what chaos is ensuing.