Salzburg

Another day, another train, another new city to see. Since my children have been proving their mettle in the traveling department, my bravery to take adventures with them, just the three of us, has grown. So on Thursday we hopped on a train south and spent the afternoon in Salzburg with one of my closest friends from South Bend. She is Hungarian, grew up in Salzburg, and is back with her new baby and little family for a visit. Travis and I are so pleased to have them just a two-hour train ride away, and we are all planning to visit again at least one more time.

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This visit was especially a treat, as it is so rare at this stage in life to get to “go home” with a friend and see their world, where they grew up, and the places they love. It is, of course, particularly rare when that place is overseas.

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As one can imagine, Salzburg is an absolute gem of a place. The mountains provide a spectacular backdrop to the many domes, spires, and steeples that rise up from the city.

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After grabbing a traditional Austrian sandwich, Beata took us up the Mönchsberg, one of Salzburg’s mountains. It rises up out of the city. We were able to take an elevator up to a lookout on the mountainside and then slowly trailed our way down the mountain back to the city. A few times, Beata said, “I forgot how steep this was,” or “Sorry, just uphill again,” and now we have some good laughs about her taking me on a mountainous hike with a double stroller and 27-week pregnant belly. The views, however, were spectacular, and it was the perfect place for toddlers to collect sticks and stretch their legs.

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Both children are really into babies these days, asking about them and looking for them when they hear one cry, so spending the day with baby Elias was very exciting for them. Edith, especially, was absolutely delighted by him.

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After coming down the mountain, we took a break in a beautiful courtyard by the oldest restaurant in Europe, which began in 803 AD. It sounds silly, but it was especially a treat for me to have a friend to do mom things with, like push strollers and change diapers in an old Salzburg courtyard.

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Edith got to hold baby Elias, and I am pretty sure that elated doesn’t even begin to describe her feelings.

After a quick glance into one of Beata’s favorite Salzburg we completed our Salzburg excursion with coffee and cake, the sort of thing we only dreamed about sharing a few months ago!

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The cake and coffee ended with my littler toddler making quite a scene in the square, as he slipped off a chair and knocked a whole tray of empty dishes off the table. That was probably the most mortifying moment of my overseas travels with toddlers so far, but the waiter was incredibly kind about it, wouldn’t let us pick up a single piece of glass, complimented JH on his cool shoes (“You are a superstar!”) and brought Edith and John Henry little pinwheels as consolation.

All in all, our visit to Salzburg was magical, and the train ride home simple and easy. We sat by a lovely Swiss boy who is in college in England and was traveling north to staff a religious camp in Scotland. His English was perfect and he enjoyed the children and chatted with me the whole trip back. Our only sadness is that the time was too short in Austria and we already can’t wait to go back!

Sadly, that night Edith woke up with a very high fever and we’ve been dealing with fevers and sad children in this house for the last three days. Aunt EA comes Tuesday, which will be a much-needed morale boost and excitement to finish out our last few weeks here.

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