Usually, waking up early can be such a bother. However, when your mom is flying halfway across the world to visit you…there is a much different story to be told. After waking up around 6am to get my room straightened up and my belongings ready to go, I was en route to the airport to pick her up. After arriving at the Vienna International Airport, I had just enough time to grab a bite to eat and anxiously wait the arrival of my mom! Glancing at the incoming flight board solidified just how close she was with only a matter of minutes separating the two of us. As I saw the words flashing that her AirBerlin flight from Germany was landing, I was ecstatic! Fast forward 25 minutes & as I saw the beautiful blonde wearing bright colors (my mom) find me just as quickly as I spotted her, we were beyond happy!!! After over 3 months of not seeing each other, it was great to embrace and pick up right where we left off. As she told me all about her crazy journey over, we hopped aboard the next S-Bahn back to Vienna. Within 45 minutes, we arrived at the Hilton Vienna Danube where she would be staying in a gorgeous room overlooking the Danube River. Since I did have class that day, I unfortunately had to run but fortunately, my mom got to get a few hours of rest, which would benefit her greatly with adjusting to the jet lag. A few hours later, I picked her up from the Hilton and we were off to Prater, Vienna’s famous amusement park. After a great meal at Schweizerhaus complete with mom’s first schnitzel, we were ready to walk around.
With the heat blazing outside, we decided to go to Madame Tussauds, the famous wax museum that is in all of the major cities in Europe. We had so much fun and the wax figures were so close to being the real thing that it was sometimes hard to believe they were not actually real.
Following Madame Tussauds, I decided to take mom to Stephansplatz, Vienna’s City Center, to stroll up the famous shopping street, Kärntner Straße. We walked past all of the popular European stores, the Vienna Opera House, etc. before heading to Figlmüller for larger-than-life Wiener Schnitzel with Kartoffelsalat (Potato salad) with Syrian Pumpkinseed Oil. DELISH!
Finally after dinner, mom’s jet lag finally caught up with her and it was time to call it a night!
Day 2: Jade runs the Donauinsel in the AM (last run before marathon), Mom & Jade have a lovely breakfast at the Hilton, Visit to the Heindl Chocolate Factory, Lunch at VAPIANO, Stroll along Mariahilfer Straße, Break at Jade’s flat, Visit to the Schloß Schönbrunn (we walked all through the gardens, took some great pictures & went to the Maze/Labyrinth where we clowned around!) then met Phil & Amanda for dinner at Las Mexicanos (first mexican food experience in Wien).
Day 3: To Salzburg we go! After waking up early again and having another fantastic breakfast, we battled the rain as we headed to my flat to unpack, re-pack and get to Westbahnhof to catch our train to Salzburg after having lunch. I decided to go with WESTBAHN instead of ÖBB since they were more affordable. AND, they turned out to be FANTASTIC. Since WESTBAHN is a new company, everything is brand new and very comfortable. It was a great 3 hour train ride all the way to Salzburg. After getting off the train, we found our hotel, the Crowne Plaza, very easily and settled into our room before hitting the city center. We picked up my Salzburg Marathon race packet, got me an organic meal (Curry Banana Rice with Chicken), grabbed coffees and then headed for the sauna and steam room at our hotel. Unwinding was so great! Then Phil arrived a little later on and we grabbed a late dinner at a local restaurant then hit the hay for another crazy day.
Day 4: Breakfast at the Crowne Plaza, Segway Tour of Salzburg, Mom meets her Mozart Scarf, Beers at Stiegl Keller, Afternoon snack at Cafe Tomaselli, More walking, Relax time in the Sauna/Steam/Pool, Dinner at an awesome Italian Restaurant, then Lights Out! because I had my Marathon bright and early Sunday Morning at 9am. Funny story from the day: As we were on the Segway tour, our guide told us that we could speed up till we got to the next bridge. Phil, being the adventure seeker that he is and me, being the spitfire that wants to catch up, I lean forward to the point where I am going faster than normal. Since we were on an incline, this only made things worse. In order to stop a Segway, you are supposed to stand up straight with no forward lean. To my brain, this seemed impossible as I rode downhill towards Phil, leaning forward every second I moved. All of a sudden, I realized that I was out of control and I was going to smack right into the back of Phil and his Segway. OH NO! I have a marathon tomorrow morning, I tried sparing my energy by doing this tour just so I would not have to walk and now I am about to really hurt myself. These thoughts occurred to me in about 3 seconds flat as I collided right into Phil with my Segway swirling around as Phil maintained composure on his Segway, caught mine from going off in a different direction and made sure that I was okay. Well, with just a few scratches on my leg and the wind being knocked out of me, I was fine. WHEW, that was a close one. To add to the comedy, my mom ran into a bike rack and ran over her foot. But this did not keep her from jumping curbs! It was quite some fun.
Day 5: Sunday-The Salzburg Marathon!
It was around 7am when I woke up and all I could feel was…stomach pains 😦 I knew I was nervous but I did not realize that it could take a toll on my body 2 hours before the start of my race. As I got ready and Phil, Mom and I headed down to breakfast, I started realizing just how far this race was going to be. “It’s not a race, it’s YOUR journey…” my mom kept repeating at breakfast. Of course it was…but the way I was feeling was not convincing as to me pulling 26.2 miles out of nowhere. As I struggled trying to eat even bites of banana slices, I kept getting more and more anxious. Walking to the starting line solidified to me what I was about to embark on…and it was game on. With adrenaline pumping and the releasing of my physical pain, I was ready to go. As the minutes turned to seconds before the race officially started, I was amped. Racing brings back really happy memories of my high school years of running cross country. I love running and it always makes me happy to run a race. But this one was different…talk about 40km added on to my typical 5k high school races. Anyway, about the race: 1.) It was FANTASTIC. BEAUTIFUL. BREATHTAKING. UNREAL. LIFE-CHANGING. 2.) I had the best support system cheering me on (even my dad all the way back home who looked up my results before I even saw them). 3.) It takes real perseverance to push through such a long distance. After 32km (20 miles), it can be a bit of a mental game. 4.) I was 1 of 3 Americans that ran the Salzburg Marathon (and definitely the youngest). 5.) When I crossed the finish line and it started raining, I felt a sense of revival and vitality, despite my jello numb legs. 6.) Even though I could not walk properly for about 3 days, I can see myself doing a marathon again.
I’m so proud of myself and still in disbelief that I ran that far. I’ve always wanted to do a marathon but now it is different because I DID IT. I highly recommend it to anyone that LOVES running…it’s kind of important to love it 😉
Day 6: Jade’s Big Exam for International Strategic Management, Wirtschaftdeutsch for 3 hours & then a fantastic dinner at Weibel’s with mama plus steam room. Duty called on Monday and I had a whole lot of preparation to do for my big exam in ISM. Mom and I went to breakfast at Cafe Ritter while she read her book and I studied the ish out of ISM. It was a LONG day but after my grueling exam, we were able to have a super fantastic Austrian dinner in the first district. The steam room also let me let off some steam…haha, all in a day’s work.
Day 7: Mom visits Sigmund Freud Museum, Hundertwasserhaus, Kunsthaus, Walk around The Ring, Schwedenplatz, Cafe Sacher (for the famous Sacher torte mit Cappuccino), Karlskirche, Schloß Belvedere, Phil’s Polizei Academy & Stadtpark.
Day 8: Praha bound! We caught our 8:30am StudentAgency bus from Praterstern and could not be more excited to be heading to PRAGUE! It was a great ride…I got to watch two movies (My Sister’s Keeper & Flipped) while being served Cappuccinos all the way to Prague. My mom was happy with this as well 🙂 I highly recommend taking this bus-it is fantastic. So…Prague. It was great and we stayed in a cute hostel right next to the Charles Bridge. For our first meal, we took a recommendation and dined at Lokal. Deciding to immerse myself into the Czech culture, I orded a Czech dish. I forget the name of it but all I can tell you is that it was like a raw, fatty hamburger with diced onions and vinegar. YUM. I was not pleased. First thing I REALLY did not like since I have been in Europe. On a lighter note, we got a cool tour of the side of Prague we were staying at by one of the girls that worked at the hostel. She showed us the John Lennon wall, Kampa Island, the Dancing Building and much more. We also took a ghost tour the first night we arrived…who knew Prague had so many spooky stories to be told?
Day 9: Sandeman’s New Europe Tour of Prague (FANTASTIC = MUST DO), Walk through the Prague Castle, Monastery, Taking in beautiful views of Prague and the best dinner I have had in a while with friends of my parents. We dined at V Zatisi and it was quite a swanky place. As soon as we were escorted to our table, I realized that I had struck upon the gem of Prague and it was quite overwhelming. After we all figured out how to order, it was enticing to see what was coming to meet our taste buds. I ordered Roasted Quail and Tandoori Chicken…and could have not been more pleased. It was unbelievable. And the wine, it was really delectable as well. Since it was my first time meeting Rob and Wilma, I was anxious to get to know them. At the end of the night when we had drinks in front of the Astronomical Clock, I felt like I had known them much longer than just a few hours. I cannot wait to show them around Vienna next week.
Day 10: Return to Vienna, Cook Dinner, Play Skip-Bo and Call it a night. We were bushed.
Day 11: Phil and I thought it would be fun to surprise my mom and take her to the Wiener Riesenwald (Vienna’s iconic ferris wheel) after she talked about how terrified she was of ferris wheels. We blindfolded her as soon as we got off the UBahn and navigated her all the way till we got right up to where the ferris wheel was from our feet. Unfortunately, she peeked and saw what we were taking her to do and she freaked out just the slightest. But she persevered and enjoyed it once she figured out that she was going to be fine. The view of Vienna was amazing and I know she thoroughly appreciated it. After, since it was raining, we decided to head to Segafredo to have coffees and then to the Donauzentrum mall to walk around and eat. We ate at this restaurant called Saloon and it reminded me of America-which was nice. After the mall, we were all exhausted. We had quite the day.
Day 12: Mom’s first trip to a thermal bath. Going to Therme Wien was such a great idea… 1.) It was Mother’s Day and 2.) It was two days before she had to make her long journey back to Florida. She was able to just relax, go in all of the heated pools and get a killer massage. You could say it was simply bliss. Phil and I enjoyed going there as well…we relived our childhood when we went down the water slides in between going into all of the relaxing pools. Also, my mom got to meet Maria (Phil’s mom) and have coffee with her at the end of the day. It was great 🙂
Day 13: Walking around Vienna, I went to Wirtschaftdeutsch & Then homemade dinner with Mom, Kristen, Amanda, Phil & I. Mom and I made the Chuckwagon Casserole and then we had Linzer Torte for dessert. Since it was her last night, it was nice to have a relaxing one! She also got to meet Geoff, Hanif, Gonzalo, Curtis and Justin which was good!
Day 14: Time: 3:30am. I was really excited about waking up early and riding with my mom in a taxi to the airport. Well of course, I am kidding…except I definitely wanted to be with my mom at the airport before she left. It was bittersweet saying goodbye, but we had a wonderful time and I knew that I would be seeing her again soon. Cheers to a great trip, mom! 😉